Dickes Share Experience Innovating in Manufacturing Industry
The University of Findlay welcomed alumni, regional business leaders, faculty, staff and students Friday morning for a presentation from James Dicke II and James Dicke III of Crown Equipment Corporation, the first in a new executive speaker series called Fridays at Findlay.
James Dicke II, president of the private, family owned business in New Bremen, Ohio, first gave an overview of the company known as one of largest lift truck manufacturers in the world. With a presence worldwide in manufacturing, sales and service, Crown builds and creates material handling equipment that many people don’t often think about, Dicke explained, though their products are used by 88 percent of Fortune 500 Companies, 92 percent of the top 50 e-commerce companies and many others.
Dicke explained that one of the company’s goals is to bring people from different disciplines together to create innovative solutions for their customers. “One of our challenges is finding ways to make sure our customers understand what the technology can do and how to use it effectively,” he said. During the presentation, he shared a video that they use to simulate the work that their lift trucks can do in the warehouse.
All over the world the company hosts interns who are studying engineering, marketing, design and more including four interns from the University of Findlay in attendance for today’s presentation. “They’re not just there to get coffee,” said Dicke. “We give our interns the opportunity to work at a very high level so they will have real experiences that advance their career.”
“Our lives have a way of developing trajectories that can become a career we never imagined that’s both fulfilling and profitable,” said James Dicke III, chairman and chief executive officer at Crown, stepping up to the podium to share more about the history of the company. He shared with the audience how the company first began with his grandfather with smaller consumer items including thermostatic controls, TV antennae rotators, paper feed rollers, and even fishing arrowheads, and later the small forklift truck that led to over 50-years of success for the company. “Businesses have to be willing to reinvent themselves,” he said. “We understood what was involved in the machining and were able to create a quality solution.”
Both Dickes also took questions from the audience, the younger Dicke sharing that he sees the industry continuing to develop automation technology including self-driving, and self-thinking machines. “We’re building a bridge between human and machine,” he said, “through people working across multiple disciplines.”
The Fridays at Findlay series continues with a presentation on May 13, by Jeff Sailer, Executive Director and CEO of the Toledo Zoo. Register online at www.findlay.edu/FridaysatFindlay or contact Cindy Lahey at 419-434-5334.