Looking Back and Looking Forward  


by Dean Burrows, president of Gear Motions and AGMA chairman

As the AGMA begins to celebrate its 100th anniversary in October, it is a time for reflection and introspection as we fondly remember the past and those whom helped bring the organization to this milestone. From the original nine companies that founded AGMA, the organization has grown to more than 470 members. The roster of leadership throughout the years is a “Who’s Who” of gear manufacturing.  This leadership, sacrifice, and insight are what has propelled the AGMA to this historic milestone.

As the organization looks back, it also begins to look forward to the next century. This reflection was the basis for the recently completed strategic roadmap for the AGMA. This plan is aimed at adding more value to its members by helping the membership answer the short- and long-term needs of our customers.  The strategic plan also calls for the AGMA to be at the forefront of technological changes, preparing our members for the technological trends that could affect their bottom line in the near and long term.  The plan also helps prepare our employees for the workplace of tomorrow by establishing an expanded focus on education for the AGMA. As a dynamic roadmap, our strategic plan seeks to evolve with the ever-changing landscape of the gear industry in the United States and globally.

Our success as an organization is built on a strong foundation from an expert staff and dedicated members who volunteer their time, talent, and treasure for the sake of the AGMA and the gear industry as a whole. The future success of the organization is predicated on the identification of the future leaders within your organizations and their involvement with the AGMA. Whether through a technical committee, the Strategic Resource Network (SRN), or attendance at an AGMA event, the leadership that has made this organization strong for almost 100 years lies within each of your organizations. I challenge each member company to look deep within your organization and identify those individuals who will be your future leaders and get them involved with the AGMA.

If you are not currently an AGMA member, this is the perfect time to get involved. The AGMA has a very busy fall planned to include education and networking programs, among others, that can benefit all levels of your company.  At Gear Expo this October in Detroit, we will also kickoff a year’s worth of special centennial anniversary activities, and you can be part of celebrating the history of the industry while also helping shape the next century of the AGMA.

Over the next two years, the AGMA will end a century of success and begin one of the most transformative periods in recent memory. The organization will celebrate its 100-year anniversary, transition leadership, and begin implementation of a dynamic strategic plan. Although the task at hand seems insurmountable, the load is made lighter with the hands of many. Please consider what you, your team, and your company can do to help the AGMA over the coming years. What has made the AGMA successful for 100 years is the exact formula that will assure success for 100 more years — members who share their time, talent, and treasure for the success of the gear industry.


Congratulations to Gleason for 150 Years in Business
By Joe Franklin, president of AGMA

This article was an address by Joe Franklin, president of the AGMA, at the Gleason 150th Anniversary Gala held on June 13th in Rochester, New York.

AGMA and the Gleason Corporation have a long history together that distinguishes Gleason as a true partner over the life of AGMA, and on many occasions as a mentor to the industry.

The idea behind AGMA was developed in 1916 and formalized in 1917.  We had 16 members in 1917, one of which was the Gleason Works — a founding member.  The first of our annual meetings was in 1917; the members made several presentations on standardization and business practices. And there was one technical paper presented by James E. Gleason on “The Spiral or Curved Tooth Bevel Gear.” There is no question that Gleason was there at AGMA’s birth.

We have grown from those 16 members to about 475 today.

About 20 years ago, in the mid-‘90s, AGMA was looking for a way to become more active in the development of international technical standards for gears and gearboxes. This was not an idea that all of our members supported.

AGMA’s board of directors was in favor of working more closely with international markets, but the board was also aware that many members did not want membership dues to be used for this purpose.

Gleason Chairman Jim Gleason (an AGMA board member) had the vision that the industry would benefit from the international standards and worked with the several of our technical and legal experts to create an educational foundation that could raise money from voluntary contributions to cover the cost of developing international standards.

Over the years, Jim and others in (Gleason’s) leadership, including president John Perrotti, have served as Foundation trustees, and have helped guide the Foundation to be the success that it is today.

It was not a simple or cheap journey to get from those early days to where we are now, and in that process Gleason has made significant monetary contributions that have gone to support the development of international standards of a broad range of gearing topics, including bevel gears, cutting tools, and the quality inspection process.

Another extremely important area is that of the industry’s technical activities.  AGMA has two ways that members can participate in our technical programs.

The first is to have technical experts serve on one of our 23 committees devoted to producing and updating technical standards for the industry. In a typical year, Gleason has six to 10 experts on these committees.

Today, Buzz Maiuri, senior product manager, heads all of AGMA’s technical activities.  Buzz is on our five-person executive committee and board of directors.

The second way members can make technical contributions is through our annual technical conference — the FTM.

Over my time with AGMA, Gleason employees have averaged presenting one paper every year. It will come as no surprise that about half of the Gleason submissions were authored by Hermann Stadtfeld (VP of bevel gears).

In a recent article, Jim Gleason made the comment that Gleason was different than most machine tool companies in the sense that, in general, you know more about the end product that your customers produce than they do.

This is an important technical point, but one that comes with an obligation to help your customers understand the products they are manufacturing.

Even though all of your divisions have education as part of their mission, AGMA developed education programs for our members and others in industry, and we could always count on experts from Gleason to help develop the courses and ultimately teach several of them. We look back in time to people like Gary Figler, Mike Tennutti, John Lange, Ed Lawson, and others who have helped along the way.

In a related move earlier this year, Doug Beerck, vice president of metrology systems, approached me with the offer of an inspection machine that he knew we were looking for and said Gleason would be happy to make a donation of that inspection machine for use in the gear school that we have created in Chicago.

This is a hands-on school where instructors teach both the theory of gearing and the actual practice. Now, we will be able to add instruction on how to measure the quality of the gears the students learn how to make.

Over the years, Gleason executives have been involved in all levels of AGMA’s leadership. Chairman Jim Gleason, Bob Phillips, Gary Kimmet Buzz Maiuri, and other Gleason employees have served on our board of directors.

AGMA is a stronger organization because of the ideas, viewpoints, and expertise that Gleason executives have introduced.

As I looked into the history of AGMA (we will be celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2016 and read more about Gleason’s history, it was clear in almost every aspect of what we do at AGMA is distinctly tied to the ideas and philosophy that drive your company.

On behalf of the AGMA, I would like to thank you for your commitment to this industry your commitment to AGMA and for your commitment to advancing the art and science of this important technology.


Tour of Boeing Highlights SRN Fall Event
The AGMA Strategic Resources Network (SRN) will hold their next meeting September 15-17 in Seattle, Washington. This year’s event will include tours of The Gear Works and a Boeing facility, networking at a baseball game, and the usual line-up of informative speakers.

If you are not familiar with the AGMA SRN, it is a vibrant community of gear professionals that fosters networking and education for our next generation leaders. The group was designed for new members and those looking to better plug-in to the industry. It is a great way to get your feet wet with the association and meet peers that come from all aspects of our industry. It is quite possible that you could meet a sales rep from a forging company, a technical engineer, an advanced gear manufacturing technology manager from a huge corporation, or the head of a small-job shop. The diversity of the membership within the SRN has proven to be beneficial not only on personal levels, but also for the AGMA organization as a whole. Many AGMA Technical Committee leaders, members of our business councils, and AGMA board members can trace their history to participation in the SRN.

The SRN Steering Committee has been instrumental in planning regional meetings where the emphasis is threefold — relevant presentations with take-home benefits, plant tours, and great stand-alone networking opportunities. The group continues to be dedicated to these objectives. When combined, the objectives are powerful enough to provide exciting experiences rather than just your typical meeting.

Networking is one of the most important and powerful tools in the industry today. It is the reason that the SRN was started several years ago. It continues to be the backbone of the SRN. In addition to the vibrant regional meetings, the SRN has increased its scope in recent years to provide side events within larger AGMA settings. What started as an informal dinner of those SRN members at the Annual Meeting has turned into an annual event with more than 50 people gathering this past spring in Napa for beer and bowling at the 2015 AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting.

We encourage you to consider participation in the AGMA SRN, volunteering to be on the SRN Steering Committee, or inviting the SRN for a tour of your facility for an upcoming regional event. Plug-in, get involved, and participate!  Due to tour restrictions, this event is limited to 45 participants. We encourage you to register early.


SRN Regional Event | September 15-17, 2015 – Seattle, WA
The AGMA 2015 event has packed in four tours, fun networking events, and a number of strategic presentations. Join us to tour The Gear Works — an active AGMA member for more than 50 years. They are a full-service gear manufacturing facility providing precision gear products and power transmission services focusing on engineering and repairing industrial gears for all sectors. Attendees will also receive a VIP tour of the assembly line at the Boeing Corporate Headquarters. Join us to watch the assembly of 747, 777, and 787 jets. Hear from Boeing engineers on the challenges and complexities of their supply chain management and corresponding quality control standards necessary for their large intricate assembly process.  Tours also include Electroimpact, a highly experienced provider of factory automation and tooling solutions. Electroimpact is the largest integrator of aircraft assembly lines in the world. And, finally, see something different at Seattle Solstice, a neighbor to The Gear Works. They specialize in creating stone and metal architectural elements for corporate buildings and public spaces. Most notably, this group is creating the 10,000 Year Clock, which is a multi-ton stainless geared clock that hangs in a 500-foot tall raise bore shaft. It is a marvel of mechanical engineering and long-term thinking.

The 2015 AGMA SRN event provides a wide breath of speakers. Get the scoop on all the happenings related to the celebration of AGMA’s Centennial in 2016.  Boeing engineers will discuss the challenges and complexities of their supply chain management and corresponding quality control standards necessary for this large intricate assembly process. We have also asked for a special presentation on the gears and gearboxes used in the various aircraft that Boeing produces. Find out important information on the Affordable Care Act that will directly impact your business and get the latest industry figures on the steel market.

The event will kick-off with a reception and provide opportunities both at the beginning and at the end to have networking dinners in smaller, more intimate groups. But, as it is typical of this group, we will network in style at Safeco Field as the Seattle Mariners take on the Los Angeles Anaheim Angles.