Rotarians hear Fisher update, Wirins recognized for service

Guests at the Tuesday meeting of the Marshalltown Rotary club included David Barajas, Carlos Portes, Shirley Hammond, Mary Ellen Hammond, Bethany Wirin and Alliant’s David Vollmar.

Tom McCoy presented a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance following fine dining at Elmwood. Bettie Bolar presided over the induction of the club’s two newest members. Tammy Lichtenberg was sponsored by Rhonda Miller and Carmen Willmore by Carol Burt. Bolar gave a brief description of how the Marshalltown Rotary Club has impacted lives on both a local and international level since established in 1915.

President Jeff Vance then asked Bruce and Bethany Wirin to come forward to be recognized as Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation. The Wirins were presented with a crystal recognition piece and diamond lapel pin to signify the level of giving they have achieved in the past 18 years. Bruce Wirin then shared that, although he was brought up to give “quietly,” his father encouraged him to publicly receive this congratulations in order to encourage others to do the same to benefit the Rotary Foundation. He expressed his admiration for the good things that the Foundation does and appreciates that it is organized in a way to encourage targeted giving. Bruce Wirin also thanked Bolar and Vance for their active encouragement of Marshalltown Rotarians to make a difference in this manner.

After a news report by Mike Bloom, Karn Gregoire shared a video showcasing the commitment to Marshalltown demonstrated by the 125 year old Fisher Company and the Fisher Family – particularly Martha-Ellen Tye – over the years.

Kevin Swartz then introduced Paul Gregoire, Vice President of Global Human Resources, to present a Fisher-Emerson update. Gregoire received degrees from Western Michigan University and has served in executive positions with several international companies in addition to providing timely technical support to the Marshalltown Rotary Club. He has been past chair of both the Marshalltown Chamber and MEDIC and has served in numerous state, regional, and international leadership capacities.

Gregoire began by illustrating the impressive array of Emerson brands that generate $24 billion in revenue. Emerson Process Management comprises one of the five business segments that make up Emerson, and Fisher is but one of the brands in that group. Emerson Process Management, Valve Automation headquartered in Houston, and recently acquired Virgo Valves and Control make up the trilogy under Final Control. Fisher represents 34 percent of Emerson sales, so having the epicenter of Fisher Control in Marshalltown is a big deal, bringing tremendous advantages to the geographical area.

Planning, financial strength, research and development, and acquisition power are some of the benefits that Emerson has brought to the table, said Gregoire. He remarked that despite no longer being family-owned, the company still feels as though it is. Gregoire then led the group through slides that introduced the executive team of the company.

Repeating a Terry Buzbee theme of “rejoice, but don’t relax,” he described a leadership team familiar with accomplishing separation and distancing the company from its competition. “Fisher – No Equal. Everywhere.” is a moniker that Gregoire says the entire Fisher group lives by. Exhibits of market share in different parts of the world illustrated a dominant position. Gregoire described a company that doesn’t just bid on and undertake multi-million dollar projects, but excels in service after the sale which provides an annuity into the future. Challenges facing the group will be replacing a number of key leaders that will be retiring in the next few years.

Gregoire also addressed the middle skills dilemma and praised STEM and efforts of Marshalltown Business/Education Alliance (MBEA). The machine trades, welding, and advanced manufacturing are all examples of high paying jobs and careers where demand exceeds supply.