Milwaukee Valve Chairman Emeritus Herschel Seder received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 27 from accounting firm RSM McGladrey during its Manufacturing and Wholesale Distribution Executive Summit in Oak Brook, Il.
“Today, the company manufactures 4,000 products, and its commitment to innovation manifests in its investment in research and development and through its engineers, who continually work to refine and create products to meet their clients’ needs,” RSM McGladrey noted. “Thanks to Herschel Seder’s foresight, every U.S. aircraft carrier, battleship, submarine, frigate and support ship in service today are outfitted with his firm’s products.”
Seder, 91, started selling valves to the U.S. Navy shortly after he and former partner Max Koenigsberg acquired Milwaukee Valve 50 years ago. The company later diversified into industrial and commercial markets, which are now the company’s core markets. In 1991, Milwaukee Valve acquired the Hammond Valve Co., which produces valves for residential and commercial applications.
When Supply House Times inducted Seder into the PHCP Hall of Fame in 1992, he attributed his success to “just hard work, perspiration, integrity, learning and doing.”
Seder then added: “Anybody can do it if they follow these precepts: Spend all the money possible on equipment and training; take the long-term approach; and treat your customers right.”
In the years since 1992, Seder said he has amended his success formula to include long-term relationships with employees as well as customers.
“We have to treat employees equally as we do customers,” Seder told Supply House Times in an interview before receiving his award. “We have good people who are proud of what we make.”
Another key to the company’s success is to make the best product with the best price and best delivery, he said. The Seder family still owns Milwaukee Valve with Herschel’s children still involved.
Now headquartered in the Milwaukee suburb of New Berlin, WI, Milwaukee Valve has operated a production facility in Prairie Du Sac, WI, since 1984. In addition, the company produces valves in its two plants in China.
Executive Vice President Diane Seder credits her father with developing a global vision before others in the valve industry. “We are a global company today with the same quality standards wherever the valve is made,” she said.
“One of our greatest challenges is the specification market,” Herschel Seder added. “Too many specifying engineers are content to add ‘or equal’ to job specifications. There is no such thing as ‘or equal.’ Every Milwaukee Valve and Hammond Valve product is designed and tested to confirm that it meets industry standards and specifications. Every facet of production is monitored and supervised, from design through materials through final production, so that when a valve makes it onto a jobsite, the building owner, engineer and installing contractor all know that Milwaukee Valve will stand behind that product.”