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Knowing a Living Legend

Knowing a Living Legend

Earlier this year we e-mailed our subscribers and asked them to nominate companies, Web sites, and other sources of information they felt were the best in the fluid-power industry. We also asked them to nominate individuals for a Living Legend Award. Most of the names submitted were familiar, such as Bob Sheaf of CFC Industrial Training, Ernie Parker of Hennepin Technical College, and Brendan Casey of the Hydraulic Supermarket. In my opinion, all these individuals deserve an award for the influence they have provided to fluid-power technology.

However, one name clearly was mentioned more often than others: Jack L. Johnson, P. E., of IDAS Engineering. Jack is a former instructor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and former director of MSOE’s Fluid Power Institute. Jack certainly was in a position to influence hundreds of budding fluid-power system designers during his tenure at MSOE. However, I think he made his biggest impact later, when he became a consultant, lecturer, and author of numerous books and instructional videos on electrohydraulics.

I’ve been fortunate to work closely with Jack for more than 20 years, and I’ve learned a lot from him. I’ve always been mechanically inclined, but I’ve learned much more about electronic control than I ever thought I would by reading through and editing hundreds of Jack’s “Motion Control” columns through the years. I’ve also attended many of his lectures on the subject and quickly discovered what a gifted speaker he is. My only regret is that I seldom could attend his lectures in their entirety because I usually had to bounce around to check on the progress of other sessions being conducted at the same time.

We presented Jack with his Living Legend Award at our booth at IFPE. We also presented Best of Industry Awards to more than a dozen companies. You’ll find videos and images of the event and a short interview with Jack Johnson at

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