MRO Magazine

Industry Awards: Bill Price honoured

After 38 years with the Canadian company Garlock Sealing Technologies (formerly Garlock Canada), William H. Price retired in March, 1999. His achievements were honoured at a Machinery & Equipment MRO ...


December 1, 2000
By Carroll McCormick

After 38 years with the Canadian company Garlock Sealing Technologies (formerly Garlock Canada), William H. Price retired in March, 1999. His achievements were honoured at a Machinery & Equipment MRO dinner on September 27, 2000 in Mississauga, Ont., where he was awarded the Ernie Bouchard Builder award. “It’s been a wonderful career with Garlock,” he told the 150 people who attended the dinner. “It’s great to see so many people that I’ve worked with through the years here tonight.”

Price, a Montreal native, signed on with Garlock in 1961 as a sales representative for Quebec, eastern Ontario and the Maritimes. He became general sales manager in March, 1970 and vice-president, sales the following year. He became the president in May 1977, remaining in that position at the company’s Oakville, Ont., headquarters until he retired.

Price was active in industry organizations such as the Bearing Specialists Association and the Canadian Manufacturers Association. He was also a director of the Fluid Sealing Association.

This is the sixth year that MRO magazine has given out the award, which recognizes lifetime achievement in the industry. “MRO created it,” says the magazine’s publisher, Peter Helston, “to recognize people and their accomplishments.” Ernie Bouchard was the founder of General Bearing Service in Ottawa and in 1987 was the first person to receive the award.

Price made important contributions to the growth and evolution of the company during his tenure; Garlock is part of the industrial products division of BF Goodrich. In the 1970s, for example, he changed Garlock’s sales and marketing from a manufacturer-direct to a distributor-based operation with a national network of industrial distributors and bearing specialists. He was also involved in the establishment of an industrial textile plant in Sherbrooke, Que., which produces specialty sealing and friction products. He also restructured the company’s manufacturing operations by selling its non-core coatings and moulding divisions and acquiring sealing lines that were more complementary to the company’s operations.

In the 1980s Price coordinated the development and marketing of new sealing products to replace the asbestos-based products that dominated the industry at the time. He also established specialty distributors to get the company’s new product base to new industries, and established international markets in Europe, Asia and South America.

Responding to the challenges of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Price restructured Garlock in the late 1980s; for example, he rationalized Canadian manufacturing by selling unprofitable manufacturing plants and constructed a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Oakville.

In the 1990s his accomplishments included participating in the development of “Waterless” packings for the pulp and paper industry, being active in the global application of the Waterless process, and establishing Garlock Services in Sarnia, Ont. Price also presided over the ISO 9002 certification in the Oakville plant in 1996.

“Bill always looks at the bright side of a situation,” says Cheryl-Lynn Leblanc, the manager of operations at Garlock, who worked with Price for 12 years. “His constant positive attitude contributed to his ability to adapt to the continuous industry challenges. He had a very distinguished career with Garlock. He was respected and admired by those who worked with him, as well as those within the industry.”

“It is very much an honour to receive the Ernie Bouchard Award,” says Price. Retirement has given him more time to pursue his interests, which include travel with his wife Honey, photography, fishing and spending time with his children and six grandchildren. “Everything about the [dinner] was first class,” says Price, “and it gave Honey and me a nice opportunity to renew some old friendships.”