Scotty Lippert is often referred to as “ICML’s poster boy.” For 26 years, Lippert has been with his current employer, Clopay Plastics of Augusta, Ky. He was originally hired as an extrusion operator, promoted to team leader and then to supervisor before finally landing in his current position as planned maintenance specialist/lubrication systems leader, which he has occupied for the past 14 years.
Lippert truly personifies the spirit of ICML for a number of reasons, including his mentoring, his giving nature and his passion for volunteering, which are demonstrated by his involvement in his community, where he sits on several boards and committees and serves as county magistrate and county deputy judge executive.
In 2004, Scotty Lippert and Clopay received ICML’s John R. Battle Award for excellence in machinery lubrication.
The respect that Clopay management pays to Lippert and his role within the company is what ICML hopes each certified lubrication technician and oil analyst will achieve.
“Since attending my first Noria training course in 2002 and earning MLT I certification, not only did our company reap the benefits, but it also has been a professional career boost for me,” Lippert says.
To date, Lippert’s program at Clopay remains the only dual recipient of ICML’s two major awards. After becoming the inaugural winners of ICML’s John R. Battle Award for excellence in machinery lubrication in 2004, Clopay won ICML’s Augustus H. Gill Award for excellence in oil analysis in 2006. Besides these prestigious awards, the company also claimed Machinery Lubrication’s Lube Room Challenge, while Lippert was named the 2007 Kentucky Manufacturing Employee of the Year for his work in the field of lubrication.
Since receiving these awards, Lippert’s plant in Kentucky has been visited by several companies, most of them Fortune 500 companies from 11 different countries, to see first-hand and hear directly from Lippert how Clopay became world class in their lubrication and oil analysis programs.
Being the humble person that he is, Lippert is still taken by surprise with all the recognition that he receives.
“Acceptance from outside our plant to what we have done here has been more than I could have imagined,” Lippert notes.
Still, the attention is well deserved. Just like ICML’s founding companies, Clopay was driven by a commitment to improvement when it set Lippert on his journey years ago.
“We didn’t set out to be noticed but to improve reliability,” he recalls.
Improvement is exactly what Lippert and Clopay achieved, both for the company and for industry. As other previous ICML award recipients, Lippert embraces his role as an ICML volunteer mentor to companies beginning their journey toward lubrication excellence.
“We have been open to other companies in sharing what we have done at our plant,” Lippert explains. “Many plants have copied our program and told us that it is the most efficient maintenance program they have ever put in place. Personally, I have had many phone calls after presenting at conferences from people who attended asking for guidance and information on lubrication for their plant. I never hesitate to share the procedures and work practices we have developed for our plant. After all, it is one thing to have the guidelines for world-class lubrication, but actually putting them into effect is up to that organization or person.”
The pride that Lippert has in the work he and his team do is quite evident.
“We have many customers, and most are Fortune 500 companies that come into our plant and do extensive audits,” he adds. “Everyone has written on final audit documentation that we are a benchmark for lubrication.”
Lippert also knows that excellence and world-class status are not achieved effortlessly or overnight.
“Our plant lubricated the same way for more than half a century,” he says. “Changing the culture of personnel is challenging, but once they see the results, it does become easier to convert (them).”
The results of receiving both of ICML’s top awards have gone far beyond what Lippert thought was possible.
“The fame and recognition we have received from winning the ICML awards have been as overwhelming for me as the results we see from world-class lubrication in our plant,” he says. “Since winning these awards, I have received a citation of excellence from the Kentucky House of Representatives and also from the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C., and I even met with the governor of Kentucky.”
Almost 10 years after achieving his MLT I certification and having enjoyed a spotlight-filled journey since, Lippert remains the same grounded, extremely driven and passionate lubrication practitioner, except now, as ICML intended for each practitioner, he’s garnered the industry recognition of his work in machinery lubrication as being the dignified, technically valid field that it is.
The organization hopes its awards’ criteria will serve as a road map and its award recipients will act as mentors for companies seeking excellence in lubrication and oil analysis programs. ICML awards are open to companies worldwide at no cost to the applicants and are independent of any involvement by the applicant companies in any area of ICML activity. To remain unbiased, it is ICML’s policy that nominations come directly from industry confirmed via plant personnel. For more information on ICML’s certification programs, visit www.lubecouncil.org. To submit a nomination for one of ICML’s recognition of excellence awards, e-mail your plant information to firstname.lastname@example.org.