After 20 years Tom May retires from Weil-McLain; SPX hires Grussing to add new blood to the industry to keep things fresh; No intentions of changing customer focus or product quality scheme

After 20 years of service, President Tom May retired from Weil-McLain leaving a vacancy atop the company. SPX, the new parent of Weil-McLain, looked outside the boiler industry for someone to shake up its team. SPX found that person in Robert Grussing.

Grussing, the former senior vice president of Volvo Trucks, was hired to replace May as president of Weil-McLain in October. Grussing happily accepted the industry and the new challenges that face him.

"I like the change and the challenge," says Grussing. "There are real go-to people here at this company."

Grussing started at General Electric in the finance department and moved through several financial management positions before moving to Mack Trucks as a controller. A graduate of the University of Vermont, he ascended up the ranks to vice president and general manager-part operations for Mack Trucks. Grussing moved on to Volvo Trucks and became its senior vice president of business development and strategic planning.

He then left Volvo for Weil-McLain.

"I constantly set career goals, and one objective of mine was to get out of the automotive industry," says Grussing. "I learned all that I could there -- sort of a 'been there, done that' mentality. The move was a career objective."

What he lacks in industry knowledge, he makes up for with business knowledge and experience. The change in industries is part of the learning process and he looks forward to it. Grussing said SPX brought him in to add new blood to the industry to keep things fresh.

"I bring a knowledge of the business aspect, and we're trying to modernize the company and industry."

Within his new role at Weil-McLain, Grussing stressed two aspects of the company he has no intentions of changing -- its customer focus and its product quality scheme.

"Our customer focus at Weil-McLain is excellent. We handle customers very well and do a good job. We don't want to change that," says Grussing. "Product quality improvement is not needed either. We have a good brand, a good product and good distribution."

Though not stating specifics, Grussing made it clear that some changes would come with his presidency, changes to push Weil-McLain ahead of the pack.

"In the past we've been going the speed limit down the highway." Grussing notes about the company's strategy. "Now, we'd like to turn it up a notch and see how fast we can go."

According to Grussing, SPX thinks Weil-McLain, with the right management and proper focus, is on the right path to accomplish bigger and better things in the coming years. Grussing is happy to be part of SPX's future plans.

"I'm excited to grow this business," he says. "SPX sees this company as a diamond in the rough."