Friedrich Schwing, Sr. Inducted Into AEM Hall of Fame
November 5, 2013, Orlando, FL. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) inducted Friedrich Schwing Sr. (1909-1992), founder of Schwing GmbH, Herne, Germany into their prestigious Hall of Fame. Ceremonies were held at the Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. The Schwing name will join a list of notable past recipients, including Case, Barber, Deere, Grove, Harnishfeger, Liebherr and many other innovators who “Individually and collectively represent some of the best, brightest and most influential minds in the history of the off-road equipment industry.” Nominations were judged on the candidate’s history of innovation, industry contributions, leadership, corporate citizenship/social responsibility and sustainability.
Mr. Schwing excelled in all categories judged by a panel of 12 industry experts. He has more than 100 patents relating to innovations in material handling and construction equipment. Schwing GmbH continues to be a worldwide force after being established in 1934. Schwing America, a subsidiary, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2014. Schwing began his career by designing a climbing crane that was embraced by the construction industry. That success inspired him to invent the modern concrete pump after witnessing the inefficient cycling of concrete by buckets. The Schwing all-hydraulic, twin-cylinder concrete pump design powers the majority of modern concrete pumps today. The result of Mr. Schwing’s invention is construction efficiency without the manual labor and extraordinary speed of placement never before achieved by other methods. Witness the pumping efficiency demonstrated at One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower) that topped out at 1,665-feet thanks to Schwing concrete pumps at ground level.
Mr. Schwing truly lived for the customer. Never content with the status quo, he sought the theoretical optimum for his products. In order to maintain his continuing desire for design progress he encouraged his sons Friedrich and Gerhard to seek educations that would allow them to handle day-to-day operations of the company. He turned over the executive powers of the company to his sons in 1982. His leadership style was to delegate functions better left to his employees so that his pursuit of solutions through engineering would not be distracted. He led by example with a work ethic and modesty that meant he wore the oldest suit and drove a twenty-year old car. Upon receiving advice from his doctor to go home for the day on May 25, 1992, Friedrich Wilhelm Schwing instead went back to the office where he died. His contributions were acknowledged by the president of the American Concrete Pumping Association who wrote in the Winter 1992 edition of the association’s magazine, “I have always been amazed at F.W. Schwing’s dedication, drive and continuing interest in the concrete construction industry up to his last years. In our industry, he will be remembered as a pioneer, a Thomas Edison of the modern concrete machinery business. To his family, we the members of the concrete pumping and construction industries offer our continuing respect for the man who shaped, in some way, all of our lives.”
Mr. Schwing’s engineering expertise was not only aimed at product performance but also operator safety. Concrete pumping enjoys a remarkable safety record thanks to the design innovations of Mr. Schwing that have been adopted by the Concrete Pump Manufacturers Association and adopted by most concrete pump manufacturers. The generous amount of time donated by Schwing America to establish safety guidelines, host safety seminars and provide a safer work environment for all concrete pumpers is a direct result of Mr. Schwing’s corporate policy. This corporate commitment to the industry extends to the ACPA with direct support through sponsorships of safety and marketing materials and hundreds of hours of donated employee time on committees and boards that continues to this day.
In accepting the award for Mr. Schwing’s accomplishments, Schwing America’s CEO Brian Hazelton, said, “It is hard to imagine that one man could improve construction methods in such a profound way. It is my honor to accept this award on behalf of the Schwing family that still embodies the work ethic and corporate responsibility of Mr. Schwing, Sr. His son, Gerhard, is directly involved in the company to this day and I am proud to be a part of an organization that carries on the Schwing family tradition of innovation, integrity and quality. Thank you.”