Quote on the wall at the Earl W. Brinkman Machine Tools Lab at RIT. “Machine tools make everything else possible---including beer!” That should inspire any young engineer.
My father was my inspiration. I learned Davenports by osmosis. His two more memorable sayings were , “Stay ahead of them.” And “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” Usually followed by “Dammit.”
I could have taken bigger risks and I could have paid myself more. But I chose to take acceptable risks and pay myself a reasonable salary so I could have the resources to reinvest and grow the company. Consistency in leadership is most important. Set the goal, provide the vision, keep people on track and most importantly let them do their jobs.
As a boy I learned the value of hard work from my father. I worked in the high school cafeteria washing dishes and cleaning tables while my friends had fun. I plowed driveways in the neighborhood to bring in extra money. I learned my mechanical basics while holding the flashlight while my father fixed the tractor.
In 1970, after I got out of the Army I bought C. J. Winter Machine Works from the owner. I had worked there every summer and every break from college as a basic machining trainee/operator. Charlie had started to develop the air powered thread rolling attachment which I recognized would be a winner for the screw machine industry. Over the next 45 years I acquired several additional machining and tool manufacturing companies. I always invested in the latest machine tool technologies and the employees to run them. I acquired Davenport Machine in 2003. My father, Earl W. Brinkman, worked for Davenport for 54 years starting as a trainee and retiring in 1979 as president. After he retired, the caretaker management let it spiral into bankruptcy. The union took over and management raised prices instead of controlling costs. They filed for bankruptcy in 2002. The recovery was daunting but now Davenport is making the most economical and productive multi-spindle automatic lathes in the world. The recovery of Davenport from bankruptcy is by far my proudest accomplishment and the reason for the Frank T. McGinnis award.
C. J. Winter Machine Works, Inc. Part time starting 1962. Retired from Brinkman International Group, Inc. in 2009
BSBA University of Denver
Advanced degree; MBWA (Managing By Wandering Around) Most important!
Working with my father on many projects that taught me mechanical skills. Removing broken bolts. Building duck blinds. Cutting trees to clear lanes in the woods.