Pioneer Motor Bearing Co. Appoints Ray Harrington President Industry Veteran to Lead Company Growth
San Mateo, CA—January 3, 2012—Today, Pioneer Motor Bearing Company appointed Ray Harrington, a 30-year veteran in the bearing and power transmission industry, its fourth President in the company’s 91-year history. A consultant to the company for several years, Harrington was elected to its Board of Directors last May. Gordon P. Bardet, who formerly held the position of President, will remain Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company, which is headquartered in San Mateo, California, but whose operations are based in Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, North Carolina, where Harrington will work.
Ray Harrington has held significant management and executive positions within the bearing industry, focusing on planning and implementing change, as well as new international market development. His experience includes service as the General Manager of the KMC Bearings Division of Cookson America (West Greenwich, Rhode Island), which was previously a client of his successful consulting practice based in Toronto, Canada, and President of Pacific Bearing (Rockford, Illinois). Under Harrington’s leadership, Pacific Bearing’s sales appreciably multiplied and the company established a worldwide presence in the market. In more recent years, Harrington served as the head of international business development for Bishop-Wisecarver, a leading manufacturer of guided motion components and systems, before being elevated to its Board of Directors, on which he continues to serve.
“I am delighted that Ray has joined our team full time as President,” said Gordon Bardet. “I’ve known Ray for 20 years. It’s funny looking back on it now because originally he immediately impressed me when he was consulting with a competitor we were considering acquiring. Since then, I’ve traveled with him in the U.S. and abroad and he’s been consulting with us virtually full time the last two years. I’m more impressed than ever by his interpersonal skills working with all levels of our organization, and his energy and focus on achieving objectives, all the while demonstrating internal and external strategic insight.”
Harrington was born and raised in the United Kingdom and graduated with a degree in metallurgy from Brunel University in London. His distinguished career began with a key management role in a Liverpool startup that successfully built a 1,500 person plant business in under 12 months, after which he joined RHP, at the time the UK’s largest ball bearing company. Early key accomplishments at RHP included reducing work-in-process, increasing productivity and management of programs of rationalization and standardization across five manufacturing plants. It was during this time and part of this process that he gained his first international business development experience, when he implemented a cooperative alliance strategy for bearing companies across Europe, which developed multi-million dollar returns for each of the partners.
RHP later appointed Harrington to a turnaround assignment in Toronto, Canada, as vice president of the central region. Under his strategic direction, sales increased in both OEM and distributor markets. Before heading up KMC Bearings, Newark Electronics appointed him to expand its business in Canada, where he established a seven-branch organization before being transferred to Chicago to head up a $120 million, 40-branch operation in the U.S.
“Ray’s experience in industrial bearings is unusual,” Bardet said, “because it includes both of the two basic bearing industries: mass produced ball or roller bearings; and bearings operating in a film of lubrication, normally oil, of the type Pioneer Motor Bearing Company designs, manufactures and repairs.”
Bardet’s grandfather founded the firm in San Francisco in 1920. Gordon Bardet left his law practice in 1986 to join the business when his father, Bill Bardet, was at its helm, and by 1989 Gordon expanded the company by buying land and building a manufacturing plant in Cleveland County, North Carolina, approximately a half hour west of Charlotte, where he maintains a second residence. His two sons, Adrian and Jeremy, have been working for the company for several years, making it now a 4th-generation family firm.
Bardet said “Pioneer is fortunate to have so many long-term employees, beginning with our Vice President and Chief of Operations, Steve Bonino, now in his 47th year with the company, and our Production Manager, Ralph Martinez, in his 34th year. Ray strengthens our senior management team with his broad international and domestic industry and management experience growing companies and alliances. That’s important for us because we have been facing many challenges as our sales have grown significantly. And, of course, any new manager brings to a mature company a fresh pair of eyes. We are very fortunate to have a professional of his caliber on our team.”
About Pioneer Motor Bearing Company
Pioneer provides customers, both original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end users, bearing engineering, manufacturing, repair and training expertise to help them design, build, maintain and upgrade large rotating equipment to operate more efficiently and reliably over an extended life. Among other types of bearings, the company designs and builds thrust bearing assemblies that support loads up to and in excess of 1,000,000 pounds. In the “green energy” sector of hydroelectric power generation its customers include virtually all the major hydroelectric OEMs and end users throughout North America. Pioneer is a licensee of Siemens Energy, Inc. (Orlando, FL) and Alstom Power (USA) and is the exclusive American alliance partner of Michell Bearings of the UK (a member of the Rolls-Royce Group). Pioneer’s proprietary designs include the Fluid Pivot® tilting pad journal bearing.