Keeping it Under Control

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Humphrey Products Company excels at valve and pressure regulation technology.


COMPANY

Humphrey Products Company

YEAR FOUNDED

1901

LOCATION

5070 E N Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49048

FOOTPRINT

140,000 square feet

EXECUTIVES

  • Bob Humphrey
    • Chairman and CEO
  • Dave Maurer
    • President

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

200+

MARKETS

  • Life Science
  • Vehicle
  • Food and Beverage Distribution
  • Technology

GLOBAL AFFILIATION

In 1962, a partnership with Humphrey Products helped to launch KOGANEI Corporation, based in Tokyo, Japan, into the North American pneumatic belt industry. The two companies maintain a relationship and “friendly competition” today.

HERE’S A LITTLE WARM-UP

When visitors step onto the Humphrey Products Company campus, Chairman and CEO Bob Humphrey makes it a point to offer them a glance at the organization’s history. He leads visitors to his office, where an original 1920s Humphrey gaslit fireplace rests against the wall. Before the invention of forced-air heating and electric lighting, Humphrey Products Company manufactured gas lights for home and commercial lighting and street lamps as well as home heating systems like the fireplace. “But as new innovations came along, we had to find a new trade,” Humphrey said. “We had to adapt and keep learning in order to stay relevant.”

BEHIND THE SCENES

These days, Humphrey Products Company primarily makes valves and valve control systems. “If a customer is looking to control fluid flow, our products help accomplish that,” said Dave Maurer, president of Humphrey. Although you don’t typically see the valves, you’ve probably encountered them. “Our valves might be found in an anesthesiology machine or a hospital bed, in a ventilator, in a vehicle’s transmission, or even in an ice cream machine. Precision instrumentation and precision leak detection are also big markets for us.”

THE HUMPHREY DIFFERENCE

The truth about valves is that, well, some of them leak! Humphrey Products Company has spent decades learning from the shortcomings of other valves, working to refine its own techniques to produce a superior valve. It has perfected the use of what’s called a “poppet diaphragm” for sealing solutions. “Thanks to the poppet, our valves are direct-acting, which means that the solenoid electromagnet [directly shifts] the valve,” said Maurer. “The poppet itself is an extremely robust sealing solution, and our specialization in this area allows us to make exceptionally effective valves. Other valves tend to stick, which makes them less effective.” Because of Humphrey’s focus on poppet diaphragms, the team created the tagline “Cannot Stick; Will Not Leak” for a recent marketing campaign.

A LESSON IN VALVE SOLUTIONS

From its engineers to its machinists to its inspection personnel and beyond, Humphrey has maintained a commitment to career and technical education. “We believe that education gives people purpose and adds value to the work they do every day,” said Maurer. “This is especially important because we believe that the work we do in manufacturing is imperative. We serve our region and its economy by educating our own people, by making learning and certification a real priority, then letting that impact our work every step of the way.”

FANS OF LIFELONG LEARNING

In recent years, Humphrey has “started to liberalize the definition of what career and technical education mean for employment in the region and across [its] team.” It is committed to education “from start to finish,” meaning that Humphrey is involved in education at all stages. The company works with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s (RESA) Education for Employment program to facilitate co-op experiences for high school students as well as programs like FIRST Robotics, Communities in Schools, Project Lead the Way, Junior Achievement, and more. “At Humphrey, we really believe that kids shouldn’t ‘check out’ after math and science requirements have been met at school. They are hard subjects, but [students should] push through failures. Who cares if you get a B? The value of that education and those skills can be so great in a growing career and [are valued] throughout the workforce. It really matters.”

A COMMUNITY CULTURE

Humphrey’s commitment to people doesn’t stop on the factory floor or in the classroom. The company is dedicated to its surrounding community. In 1997, Humphrey partnered with Kendall Electric to launch the Giving Garden. The team has tended the garden ever since, giving back to Southwest Michigan by providing fresh vegetables to residents who have a hard time coming across healthy, quality produce. When they’re not tilling the Giving Garden, you’ll find the Humphrey team working alongside the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, United Way, and other organizations.

INTERESTED IN JOINING THE TEAM?

Humphrey Products Company is always looking to add driven people to its team. In an effort to foster lifelong learning, Humphrey even hires high school students who are interested in gaining technical skills and machining experience during the summer. If you’re an eager learner who works well with others, go to humphrey-products.com/content/employment-opportunities-0

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