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McElroy, a world-leading designer and manufacturer of thermoplastic fusion equipment, is thrilled to announce Jim Kirchdorfer and Ian Powell as 2023 Fusion Hall of Fame inductees.
Created in 2019, the Fusion Hall of Fame recognizes the development and acceptance of fusible plastic pipe, along with the advancements that the industry has seen over the last 50 years. Inductees are individuals whose contributions have been particularly notable, and whose impact and influence on the industry lives on today.
Jim and Ian were announced as this year's recipients at INFUSION23, McElroy's annual industry conference in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"It's always an honor to be able to shine a light on the people who paved the way for plastic pipe fusion," said McElroy President and CEO Chip McElroy. "Our industry owes its continued success, in part, to the efforts of these individuals."
When Jim Kirchdorfer founded Kirchdorfer Irrigation Company and Irrigation Supply Company in 1962, he combined two of his passions – his entrepreneurial spirit and his love for the game of golf. At the time, golf was growing in popularity in the United States, and Jim quickly realized the need for high-quality irrigation systems to keep the courses themselves in top condition.
It was through the irrigation industry that Jim came across high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. Jim quickly recognized that HDPE was a revolutionary way forward for course irrigation due to its flexibility and freeze and thaw capabilities.
Through a partnership with Driscopipe that began in the 1970s, Jim was introduced to McElroy machinery and the emerging world of HDPE butt fusion. Where other early adopters of HDPE focused on the mining or municipal sectors, Jim dedicated himself to the world of irrigation. At the same time, he realized that butt-fused HDPE had countless other industrial or municipal applications.
Jim wanted to add value to the industry, and as such he was devoted to promoting the concept of pipe fusion. As Irrigation Supply Company – now known as ISCO – grew, Jim spent most of his time traveling and promoting HDPE. A golfer at heart, Jim was influential in the course irrigation market and stayed involved with the development of golf courses throughout the United States. Thanks to his efforts, HDPE pipe is the standard piping material for golf courses.
Since its founding in 1962, ISCO has become known as an innovative company that consistently delivers the highest-quality solutions to customers. Thanks to the spark lit by Jim 's tenacity and dedication, he company is poised to continue to thrive.
In 1983, Ian Powell took on the task of managing McElroy's first-ever international subsidiary, AH McElroy, located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He tackled the task with enthusiasm – whether he was training operators or working with customers, he developed a reputation for being straightforward and honest in his work.
Those who worked with Ian knew him as someone who was fun to be around, whether he was taking customers salmon fishing near Seattle or sharing his passion for ice hockey. Anyone who traveled with Ian knew that if one of his hockey teams happened to play during a trip, Ian would find a way to follow the game.
Three years after forming the subsidiary, AH McElroy, company founder Art McElroy decided it was time to pass the reins. Art knew Ian was the perfect person to take the helm. With the help of a handful of investors, Ian purchased the subsidiary as a distributorship while retaining the AH McElroy name.
For years, AH McElroy was McElroy's lone Canadian distributor. As the company's presence grew, Ian ensured that his distributorship remained at the forefront of fusion technology. He was a member of McElroy's Distributor Advisory Council – now known as the Channel Partner Conference (CPC) – and was a great contributor to that organization.
Ian focused on promoting, selling, and renting McElroy equipment, along with the training required for operation. By using rent-to-own programs for his customers, he was able to constantly refresh his own fleet and keep it in top working condition. He advocated for the ways McElroy machines could be tailored to fit any job and embraced the concept of swapping carriages with different vehicles.
Even while running AH McElroy, Ian made time to get into the field and work with the machines that he promoted and sold. He embraced each new technology that was developed, from the UltraMc to the McSnapper.
A natural teacher, Ian developed a reputation for his ability to train fusion operators at the same level of quality as they’d get in McElroy's own classrooms. When hosting training programs, Ian wouldn't leave until he was satisfied that everyone there could go into the field and consistently fuse pipe at the highest standards.
Today, Canada remains one of McElroy's top international markets, largely thanks to Ian's tireless work promoting HDPE and fusion training.
To learn more about the Fusion Hall of Fame, visit http://fusionhalloffame.com/.