In a year that has already included the “non-retirement” of Howard Bernstein, two more industry greats will be stepping down in 2011.
John B. Nofsinger, Chief Executive Officer of the Material Handling Industry of America (MHIA) since 1999, will retire December 31. William J. Montwieler, Executive Director of the Industrial Truck Assocation, will also retire December 31.
Montwieler has served as Executive Director of the ITA the last 28 years.
With more than 45 years of experience in the material handling industry, Nofsinger has seen many changes throughout the years.
“There are a lot of good things that have happened. A lot of that has been the maturing of the industry and the appreciation of its role,” Nofsinger said. “In order for our industry to be looked at more as a strategic player in the business plans, we needed to be able to move two things concurrently: goods and information. With everything happening in real time, you know where things are now.”
Prior to joining MHIA in 1986, Nofsinger spent 20 years with Republic Storage Systems, during which time he served as a volunteer leader within MHIA has Vice President-Board of Directors and Chairman of the shelving Manufacturer’s Association.
When Nofsinger looks back at his career, many memorable moments come to mind.
“There are a lot of them. I certainly remember the opportunity in my lifetime to understudy under some of the giants and heroes in this industry,” he said. “There is so much you can look back and say, ‘this was memorable.’ We have a lot to be thankful for at the end of long careers in industry.”
Nofsinger explained he was grateful for the opportunity to open trade shows and presentations throughout the world during his tenure, and estimates he spent nearly half his time traveling.
“It’s because the nature of what we do,” Nofisnger said. “The U.S. industry is active all over the world and the U.S. marketplace is looking for solutions all over the world.”
In retirement, Nofsinger looks forward to traveling while having an opportunity to explore and experience his destinations.
Although he is retiring, don’t expect Nofsinger to become a stranger to the material handling industry.
“There is a lot of opportunity to share what works and what won’t work out there,” he said. “There is certainly an opportunity for me to give some executive advice that I couldn’t give in this role.”
What advice does Nofsinger have for those in the material handling industry?
“The people that I’ve met that have been successful in this business have had a remarkable curiosity, have been high energy and enthusiastic about what they do and have had a bias to act,” he said. “There is a need for people to not simply go underground but remain active, curious and engaged.”