Flicker, Hawk and Winslow to get BCI’s Distinguished Service Award

Flicker, Hawk and Winslow to get BCI’s Distinguished Service Award

Flicker, Hawk and Winslow to get BCI’s Distinguished Service Award 370 265 Batteries International

April 19, 2024: Bob Flicker, former COO at East Penn Manufacturing, Hal Hawk, CEO of Crown Battery and Roger Winslow, former CEO of Voltmaster are to receive BCI’s Distinguished Service Award at a special ceremony at the association’s centenary celebrations at Miami next week.

The BCI Distinguished Service Award is BCI’s highest individual honor and recognizes those who have made a sustained, long-term, and meaningful contribution to the advancement of both the association and the battery industry.

The three chosen are widely recognized as giants within both the lead battery business but also the business of BCI.

“There are many amazing leaders who work in the energy storage industry but Roger, Bob and Hal are definitely the cream of the crop,” says Roger Miksad, BCI’s president and executive director.

“What really sets them apart, however, is the extent to which these three executives have worked tirelessly to uphold the future of the industry through the betterment of this trade association while also staying committed to the growing needs of their own individual firms.

“As BCI turns 100, it’s the perfect time to honor them for selflessly working to build a world-class industry group that has withstood the test of time.”

George Brilmyer, himself a well known figure and battery veteran, said: “I’ve worked with all three of them over the years, you’d be hard pushed to find smarter or more dedicated individuals than these. They should be an inspiration to us all.”

Hal Hawk

All three told Batteries International that they were pleased, surprised and even a little shocked by the award. Hal Hawk said: “Yes it’s a tremendous honour but I have to say I feel there are more deserving in the industry.”

Hal, himself, could hardly be called a business slouch. With some 30 years of battery experience behind him, he knows the business inside out. After he took over as president and CEO of Crown Battery in 1999 he transformed it into a major international player. In 2007 he had the distinction of buying a Mexican battery firm, a division of C&D, where labour rates were extremely low and relocating it to the US and turning it into a highly profitable firm working with US health standards and salaries.

Hal Hawk, Crown Battery

That same year he became president of Crown Battery Hal, he became a fixture of the BCI board of directors. He is currently the longest-serving current member on the Board. Hal was also president of BCI from 2006-2008. Hal was a key leader for the entire industry during an important period of change, as the members of the Independent Battery Manufacturers Association (IBMA) were integrated into BCI to ensure that the industry association represented the full breadth of the industry’s participants.

“Over recent years BCI has become a yet more powerful organization,” Hal told Batteries International. “We’re at the cutting edge of helping the regulators regulate issues such as blood lead levels and air contamination.

Additionally, Hal has served as BCI Convention Chair for more than two decades, is the chair of the BCI Quarter Century Club, and is a devoted leader of the annual BCI Golf Tournament. He also continues to be active on numerous other BCI committees.

“Hal’s long-standing industry leadership and commitment to the goals and efforts of the association on behalf of all members has garnered him deep respect from across the industry,” says Roger Miksad. “His selfless efforts to advance the industry as a whole and to foster a spirit of community and collaboration within the association is worthy of deep respect and gratitude.”

Bob Flicker

Bob Flicker, now retired from East Penn after 50 years with the firm, confessed to feeling “over-whelmed and terribly surprised” on hearing of the award. Bob, who started at East Penn in 1972 — as a temporary job operating a punch press — had a spectacular career with the family-owned company.

His skills and engineering understanding were quickly recognised and in 1994 he became EVP for engineering and manufacturing and at the heart of decision-making of the firm. He became COO in 2014 until his retirement from East Penn in 2022.

Bob Flicker, East Penn Manufacturing

Speaking to Batteries International, Bob recalls his first time at a BCI convention in 1974. “DeLight [East Penn founder] asked if I’d like to go with him to Washington, it was a fantastic experience and I’ve attended pretty much every convention since then. We’ve had a good mixture of fun and work.”

Like Hal and Roger he points to the advances made over the years in battery manufacturing: “If someone nowadays were to go to the work floor of any battery plant when I started they’d be astonished and baffled by what the machines were doing, yet, of course they understand the concepts behind them and the electrochemistry.”

One of the key contributions Bob made, via the BCI, to the battery industry was when he chaired the BCI’s Data Book Committee and helped standardize the many battery types that were starting to proliferate across the industry. At the time, a single battery type had up to five group size designations depending upon the manufacturer or the geography.

Fundamentally, vehicle manufacturers had to have faith in the person representing BCI’s idea and the industry as a whole. Bob turned out to be the perfect person for the job, widely distributing Data Book Guidelines and giving each battery design due consideration.

Worldwide acceptance of the BCI group numbering system could not have happened without Bob and his decade-long chairmanship of the Data Book Committee. “He was knowledgeable about the issues and had the respect of the technical committee members throughout the process,” says BCI’s Roger Miksad. “He was also chair of BCI’s technical committee for over 10 years.

“With five decades of experience and a selfless desire to serve the industry and solve some of our biggest challenges, Bob’s impressive record of service has earned him respect and appreciation across the industry.”

Roger Winslow

Another surprised recipient of the Distinguished Service Award was Roger Winslow who has had to step down from attending BCI conventions in recent years. “But don’t you worry,” he told Batteries International. “I intend to be at Fort Lauderdale bright and early on the starting day!

Roger, now aged 89, is one of the oldest members of the battery industry and a true veteran in seeing how the industry has developed. He recalls the progress the lead battery industry has made over the decades. “Quite simply our batteries are better than ever,” he says. “We’re using half the lead and doubling the power compared to just 30 years ago.”

Roger Winslow, Voltmaster

Roger joined Voltmaster, a US battery manufacturer, in 1957 and bought the business in early 1970s. The company thrived under his management and in November 2006 he sold the business to East Penn. After Voltmaster he bought Richardson Moulding which he later sold to Stryten.

Roger was the president of the Independent Battery Manufacturers from 1973-1975 and the leading figure into its absorption by BCI. Roger was president of BCI from 1986-1988, and served on the BCI board for roughly three decades until 2006, and as a board member Emeritus until 2012.

“Roger was a driving force behind the evolution of BCI as the worldwide trade association moved more aggressively into public policy, standard-setting and other pressing issues. In the mid-1960s, Roger led the formation of the modern BCI Group Size system, and was instrumental in the formation of a very active BCI Data Book Committee,” says the BCI’s Roger Miksad.

“BCI’s success depends on leaders who are willing to look beyond their individual businesses to the needs of the industry as a whole. Roger’s many years of dedicated service stands as an example to us all.”

Ceremony

The BCI Distinguished Service Award will presented by the BCI board of directors to the three in a special ceremony during the special 100th anniversary celebration of the association. The convention starts with an evening reception on April 21 at the Marriott Harbour Beach Resort at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Past recipients of the award (previously called the BCI Honorary Lifetime Membership) include industry icons such as DeLight Breidegam Jr., Peter Aspinall, Norman R. Farsje, and Edward T. Foote. BCI first honored an individual in 1945 by recognizing the service of Louis B.F. Raycroft.