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Bearing industry convention assesses past, present and future

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Industry Transportation & Logistics

Naples, FL -- The Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) 2010 Annual Convention, which took place May 1-4 in Naples, FL, invited attendees to take 'a look back to step ahead'. The goal was to look ahea...

Naples, FL — The Bearing Specialists Association (BSA) 2010 Annual Convention, which took place May 1-4 in Naples, FL, invited attendees to take ‘a look back to step ahead’. The goal was to look ahead to new opportunities and markets in the recovering economy. After a year in which bearing sales were down 27%, and despite the rocky recession recovery, attendance was up 25% from the 2009 convention.

Of the association’s members, 60 distributors and 89 manufacturers attended this year’s event, although when guests, speakers, spouses and others were included, the grand total attendance was 247. “This includes 30 first-time attendees,” boasted Eduardo Bichara, the 2009-2010 president of BSA.

BSA is an international service and educational organization of distributors representing a total of almost 100 companies distributing factory-warranted ball, roller, and anti-friction bearings, and invited manufacturers of bearings, and related products

The convention used a series of panel discussions to examine past industry lessons as a way of mapping out the future. A panel of past industry leaders provided the ‘Look Back’, discussing industry and economic lessons learned throughout the past 20 years, including their reflection on six different key topics of interest to the bearing industry.


This Past Leaders Panel was moderated by Bill Childers, president of North American Sales, Rexnord Industries LLC. Manufacturer panelists were Gus Kontonickas, NSK Precision Americas; Jamie Martin, The Timken Co./Torrington; and Gene Yarussi, Emerson Power Transmission. Distributor panelists were Lathrop Smith, Industrial Supplies Inc.; Tom Miller, Motion Industries Inc.; and Tom Brown, Applied Industrial Technologies/Associated Bearings Co.

Attendees used rapid-response electronics to cast anonymous votes on audience response questions. On-screen results separated distributor and manufacturer responses as categories, not individuals.

In another session, Mike Arnold, executive vice-president and president of the Bearings & Power Transmission Group at The Timken Co., and Bill Purser, president and chief operating officer of Applied Industrial Technologies, presented a Present Industry Overview, elaborating on the six key topics introduced by the Past Leaders Panel. Their analysis shed light on how and why the bearing industry has evolved over the years, focusing on what works and what doesn’t.

The next day, a Future Panel of current industry leaders, led by moderator Jeff Ramras, vice-president of marketing and supply chain management, Applied Industrial Technologies, addressed the results of the previous session’s immediate audience responses and brought the audience from the present to their opinions about the future.

Distributor panelists for this event were Mitch Bouchard, secretary/treasurer, General Bearing Service Inc.; Rex Davis, vice-president of supply chain, IBT Inc; and Carl James, president and chief executive officer, BDI. Manufacturer panelists were Chris Curran, president, marketing, Climax Metal Products Co.; Jeff Moore, director of sales, Baldor Electric/ Dodge; and Don Poland, president, North America, SKF Service Division.

Additional programming included a BSA Update on the Distributor Survey results, presented by Gord Duncan, Kinecor LP; an American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA) update from Bruce Warmbold, president and chief executive officer, Schaeffler Group; a presentation on counterfeit bearings; and a look at The New Normal with futurist Don Reynolds.

The association also honoured its long-time legal counsel, Bill Ives, with a Lifetime Achievement award.

As part of its annual meeting, BSA elected the following slate of officers to serve in 2010-2011: president — Ellen Holladay, Motion Industries Inc.; first vice-president — James Webster, DXP Enterprises; treasurer — Jack Simpson, Applied Industrial Technologies; and chairman of the board — Eduardo Bichara, Baleromex S.A. de C.V.

In addition to the new officers, BSA also elected the following directors: Tom Armold, Applied Industrial Technologies; Rex Davis, IBT Inc.; Jim Fitzpatrick, Bearings Specialty Co.; Tim Breen, Motion Industries Inc.; Craig Gipson, Gipson Bearing & Supply; and Doug Savage, Bearing Service Inc. Those directors continuing to serve are Bill DuComb, W.C. DuComb Co. Inc.; Mitch Bouchard, General Bearing Service Inc.; and Brian Negri, Jamaica Bearings Co. Inc.

For more information on BSA, call 630-858-3838; e-mail info@bsahome.orgor visit


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