MRO Magazine

PTDA Industry Summit Participants Focus On Moving Their Businesses Forward

MRO Magazine   

San Diego, CA -- Nearly 700 executives in the power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) and fluid power industries gathered to network and build business relationships at the co-located Power Transmis...

San Diego, CA — Nearly 700 executives in the power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) and fluid power industries gathered to network and build business relationships at the co-located Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) Industry Summit and the FPDA Motion & Control Network’s Fall Networking Symposium, held Oct. 22-24, 2009, in San Diego, CA.

PTDA is a trade association for the industrial power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) distribution channel that represents 198 power transmission/ motion control distributor firms throughout North America and 11 other countries, as well as 187 manufacturers that supply the PT/MC industry. The FPDA Motion & Control Network includes more than 300 distributor and manufacturer members representing motion solution providers who offer fluid power, automation, and electro-mechanical technologies and distribution services.

Under a conference theme of What’s Your Next Move?, many participants attended to gather information to take advantage of opportunities as the economy was beginning to climb out of the 2008-09 recession.

The conference featured an opening keynote address by Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research and Development Corp. and founder of US FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Kamen, holder of over 440 US patents, began his presentation by highlighting several of his company’s innovations, many of which incorporate power transmission and fluid power products. These include the portable insulin pump, the Segway and the DARPA prosthetic arm.


Kamen spoke mainly on behalf of the US FIRST program. “There are six billion people out there who really need health-care and energy in a realistic, sustainable, environmentally rational way. The solutions to those problems are not going to come from politicians or lawyers or bankers. They’re going to come from the next generation of really smart kids,” he said. He encouraged attendees to get involved with FIRST as mentors, supporters and suppliers of products that make up the kits students use to build robots for the annual FIRST Robotics Competition.

A macroeconomic update by Dr. Robert Genetski provided a framework of classic economic principles to explain the current economic climate and forecast the business environment for the coming year. According to Genetski, the downward cycle has ended, and the recovery is slowly beginning. However, due to a US proposal to require banks to prepay their insurance, Genetski cautions that the recovery may be temporarily “short-circuited.”

The conference included three workshops for industry executives: Adam Uhlman and Joe Calvello of Cleveland Research presented findings from their survey of PTDA’s members. Members reported six end-user markets as experiencing net strength; nearly 70% of those surveyed cited flat prices during the third quarter.

Dr. William R. McCleave stressed using knowledge, information and data to analyze trends and developments that will affect success in pursuing new opportunities. Specifically, McCleave gave participants the tools needed to assess six areas (owner, market, customer, competition, supplier and resource) in determining a company’s ability to make the next move.

In addition, Mike Marks presented models in the areas of business development, pricing, organization and risk to help participants exploit emerging opportunities.

Once again this year, the Industry Summit featured a table-top booth program known as the Manufacturer-Distributor Idea Exchange (MD-IDEX). With nearly 120 manufacturer and service provider participants, hundreds of appointments were held in addition to 90 minutes of open time that allowed for impromptu conversations.

For the fourth year, the organizers hosted a Motion Control Showcase, featuring exhibits from 26 motion control suppliers. PTDA members sell over $800 million in motion control products annually, and through table-top displays, were able to learn more about these products.

Since October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US, spouses and companions of delegates participated in a fundraising walk to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure (ww5., raising more than $2,500.

Keith Nowak, president, MPT Drives Inc., Madison Heights, MI, was elected PTDA’s president for 2010, and Randy Breaux, vice-president marketing, Baldor Electric Company, Fort Smith, AR, assumed the duties of the PTDA Manufacturer Council chair for 2010.

The next Industry Summit, celebrating PTDA’s 50th anniversary, will be held Oct. 21-23, 2010, at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, AZ.

For more information on the Industry Summit, visit www.mromagazine.comor on the FPDA conference can be found at


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