AEM Hall of Fame Announces 2013 Inductees

November 6, 2013

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) announced the 2013 inductees into the AEM Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates outstanding individuals in the off-road equipment industry, and their legacy of innovation, service and leadership.

AEM Hall of Fame inductees have been evaluated by an independent panel of industry experts on five criteria that are vital to the health of the off-road equipment manufacturing industry: innovation, industry contributions, leadership, corporate citizenship/social responsibility and sustainability.

The 2013 inductees into the AEM Hall of Fame are:

  • Dipl.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Helmut Claas, CLAAS KGaA mbH
  • Ray O’Connor, Topcon Positioning Group
  • Friedrich W. Schwing, Sr., Schwing GmbH

Helmut Claas, is an engineer by education who has dedicated his professional life and engineering talents to agricultural crop production sustainability. He joined CLAAS in 1957, was named managing director of technology in 1962, and later became CEO. He initiated or co-designed many CLAAS innovations, including the Dominator Series combine harvesters, Jaguar forage harvesters and Xerion tractors. Under his leadership, the company has successfully established manufacturing facilities in many world regions, generating total turnover of approximately $5 billion with about 10,000 employees worldwide. Claas established the CLAAS Foundation in 1999, which promotes education and research and development in agricultural technology and related engineering and economic disciplines.

Ray O'Connor joined Topcon in 1993 as the only employee dedicated to laser products. O’Connor had one goal: automate the construction industry. To meet the global requirement of positioning automation, he developed a ring of technology centers where the brightest geospatial engineers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia create the next generation of products. O’Connor helped implement the Topcon Educational Partnership Program, which provides a full range of educational tools to more than 500 universities and associations worldwide.

O’Connor is the 2006 recipient of Toshiba Corporation's Business Performance Award. In 2012, Pompeii, Italy honored him for supporting “preservation and renovation" of the city; the University of Naples awarded him an honorary doctorate degree for his efforts. O’Connor also received an honorary doctorate from The Dublin Institute of Technology for his "global leadership in precision measurement technology." Geospatial World magazine named him Business Leader of the Year in 2013.

Friedrich Schwing, Sr., founder of Schwing GmbH, has more than 1,200 patents relating to innovations in material handling and construction equipment, including the Schwing all-hydraulic, twin-cylinder concrete pump design, which powers the majority of modern concrete pumps. Schwing helped establish the American Concrete Pumping Association, which has safety as a key focus. Schwing’s corporate policy directed resources towards safety guidelines, safety seminars, safety materials and hundreds of hours of donated employee time on industry committees and boards.

Another of his innovations was a ready-mix reclaimer introduced in the 1980s to convert returned concrete to its components of sand, aggregate, cement and water. This system provides 100-percent recycling of these materials for economic and environmental benefits, especially less water use and excess concrete dumping.

Nominations for the next AEM Hall of Fame will open in spring 2014.