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Swagelok grows with changes in industry

Supported by a $500 loan from an uncle, Swagelok was founded in 1947 by Fred Lennon as the Crawford Fitting Company. Shortly afterward, the business began manufacturing Swagelok tube fitting.

In the beginning, there were just two employees: Fred Lennon and Cullen Crawford, the original design engineer of the Swagelok tube fitting.

Today, the Solon-based company's products are delivered at more than 200 authorized facilities in 57 countries on six continents by approximately 4,000 employees.

Swagelok products are still designed to provide leak-tight operation, reducing the possibility of fugitive emissions. Its newest product the Swagelok compact gauge valve is designed with a purge valve and tube-fitting-end connections to reduce leaking. That allows customers to save on both energy and maintenance costs.

"Swagelok's skill sets are in precision manufacturing," says Jim Francis, the company's vice president of human resources.

The company's special expertise was recognized in late 2006, when Swagelok, along with research collaborator Case Western Reserve University, received a three-year, $5.5-million grant from Ohio's Third Frontier initiative to research and commercialize a new method for heat-treating stainless steels to dramatically improve hardness and other performance characteristics.

"Because of Cleveland's history of precision metal fabrication and machining, we've always been able to rely on its diverse pool of talent," he says. "And the education system in Ohio has produced great engineers and business candidates."

But the learning doesn't stop when people are hired. The company hosts almost 100 classroom courses on a number of topics including personal development, management and technical training.

Source: Jim Francis, Swagelok
Writer: Colin McEwen

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