Biographies

Find out more about the experts that contribute to Beneath the Surface.

Birgit BernhardBirgit Bernhard
Service Technician, Wheelabrator Plus
I started my career as a machine fitter at Georg Fischer in Austria over 20 years ago. There I was put in charge of blast machines, and over time grew quite fond of the equipment. That’s why I took the plunge and moved country to take a job at Wheelabrator and focus solely on blast machines.

For the last seven years, I’ve been travelling the world to get new Wheelabrator machines up and running, mainly in heavy-duty environments. It means I get to see many, many different foundry operations and make friends around the globe.


Ray Bitzel

Ray contributed his post while in the position of Global Development Director for Wheelabrator Group. He has since left the company.


Trevor Burns
Applications Technology Manager, Wheelabrator
With over 20 years’ experience at Wheelabrator in electrical design, field services and project management, I now head up our team of Applications Specialists. We work with our factory sales team and customers to develop equipment which will deliver the results they need.


Bernd BusskampBernd Busskamp
Sales Director, OEM Air Germany, Wheelabrator
I’m in charge of Airblast at the Wheelabrator Technology Centre in Metelen, Germany. I work closely with customers, for example in the Automotive industry, to develop advanced airblast equipment and processes for complex production requirements.

We’re increasingly asked to design blast and peening processes for completely new part geometries and materials, for which we have no existing empirical data, because they have never been shot peened before. To do this, we’ve got state-of-the-art testing and lab facilities in-house – as well as a great engineering team.


Connie-Campbell-photoConnie Campbell
Service Administrator, North America, Wheelabrator
I’m based at Wheelabrator’s North American headquarters in LaGrange, Georgia. I joined the company in 2003 as part of the finance team and now serve as an administrator for the service team at Wheelabrator Plus. The team delivers installations, repairs, inspections, training and much more to companies across the US, Canada and Mexico.


Heinrich DroppmanHeinrich Dropmann
Sales Director, OEM Wheel Germany
I head up the OEM Wheel team at the Wheelabrator Technology Centre in Metelen, Germany. We look after a wide range of Standard machines here, but also design Special machines tailored to customer requirements.

Each machine concept is the result of teamwork between concept engineers and sales engineers, all with a mechanical engineering background – and myself to provide a healthy dose of electrical engineering.

We cover advanced wheelblast applications, for example for car manufacturers, and are often asked to push the boundaries of the process.


Jonathan_Edwards_BlogJonathan Edwards
Customer Application Lab Manager at Wheelabrator in LaGrange, US
My job is to find the right blast process and machine for customers through trials and testing, using my 16 years of experience. I’m part of a team of three here at Wheelabrator’s Customer Application Lab in LaGrange, Georgia, where we’ve run over 5,000 trials on everything from medical equipment to tractor parts.



Uli_Biog_PhotoUlrich Goos

EMP Manager at Wheelabrator Plus in Germany

My team and I upgrade, adjust and evolve blast equipment across industries.


Tony GrammauroTony Grammauro
VP/ General Manager, Wheelabrator Impact Finishers UK
I head up Wheelabrator’s specialist subcontract shot peening outfit, Wheelabrator Impact Finishers, based in the UK. We specialise in controlled shot peening, mainly for aerospace and high-end automotive.

As a former Formula Ford and 3 driver, I’m particularly proud that we’re shot peening parts for some of the best motorsport teams.

As the business has grown, we’ve been involved in more and more architectural work, delivering beautiful stainless steel sections to some very prestigious building projects; but it’s the aerospace work that really drives the business and keeps us at the very top of our game.


Jake Higley, Guest blogger
Lean Manufacturing Manager, Titan Steel Wheels, Kidderminster, UK
I’m Lean Manufacturing Manager at Titan Steel Wheels in Kidderminster, UK. I’ve worked with experts at Wheelabrator Plus to develop a sophisticated maintenance programme for our four blast machines. Running since early 2014, the programme has hugely improved productivity of our blast operations.


Lily Jin
Sales Director, Aerospace China, Wheelabrator
After training as an electrical engineer, I went on to work in industry, including aviation, for over 30 years, joining Wheelabrator in 2004.

I now look after Wheelabrator’s Aerospace business here in China, supplying both airblast and wheelblast technology to a dynamic and growing sector.


 

Doug-KimDoug Kim
Aftermarket Engineering Mechanical Designer, Wheelabrator

I joined Wheelabrator in my current role in 2014 and specialize in 3D Solidworks CAD and mechanical engineering design. I produce 2D and 3D models, simulations and animations for our team in LaGrange. During my time at Wheelabrator, I’ve had the chance to learn about foundry level equipment and the challenges that customers and service technicians experience. With this knowledge I work to improve the design of a variety of parts.



mark-lambrixMark Lambrix

Director of North American Foundry Technology for Wheelabrator OEM

I’ve worked at Wheelabrator for nearly 39 years. In that time I’ve built a comprehensive understanding of foundry operations and Wheelabrator’s foundry technology. As Director of N.A. Foundry Technology, my role involves building close working relationships with our foundry customers. I advise our engineering departments on the new requirements coming from the foundry industry and how we can best deliver the technology our customers need.


Xavier_blogXavier Lecina
EMP Manager at Wheelabrator in Spain

I’ve been with Wheelabrator for more than 10 years and run our EMP team for the Spanish market. My day-to-day work revolves around our customers – talking to them, visiting them and understanding their operational needs.



Peter LongstaffPeter Longstaff

Former National Sales Manager at Wheelabrator Plus UK

With 42 years in the surface preparation industry and 17 years with Wheelabrator, former national sales manager Peter Longstaff is an expert in abrasive media, blast equipment and surface finishing.


Viktor LussiViktor Lussi
Sales Director, Wheelabrator
As an engineer, and Sales Director at the Wheelabrator Technology Centre in Zurich, I work in partnership with global OEMs and smaller companies to find the most appropriate shot blast solution for their individual requirements. This role takes me all over the world and back again frequently, so I have a healthy respect for different cultures as well as economical climates.

I try to keep a finger on the pulse of global infrastructure, investment and production trends, especially where they affect my customers in the automotive, steel, foundry and forge industries.


Martin-Magill-Blog-BiogMarty Magill
VP and General Manager of Wheelabrator Plus in North America.


David Pless
Director, Supply Chain and Lean Champion for North America, Wheelabrator Group
I am lean champion for North America at Wheelabrator Group, having built up expertise in the Toyota Production System and process improvement during my 30 year career. Based at La Grange, I have worked at Wheelabrator for 11 years and was previously director of supply chain for North America.


Alain PorteboisAlain Portebois
Sales & Marketing Manager, Charleville Technology Centre, Wheelabrator
I’m in charge of high-tech airblast applications at Wheelabrator, working with the biggest names in Aerospace and Automotive.

From our Technology Centre here in Charleville, we design and deliver incredibly sophisticated equipment, training, service, and maintenance that meet the wide variety of production needs and exacting standards across these high-end industries.

We get to see some really cool stuff and work on fantastic projects. For example, we designed and delivered several machines of our MPF range, that can “peen form” the various wing skins of a passenger jets.


Gerhard PuttingerGerhard Puttinger
Electrical Engineer, Wheelabrator
I started my career as a software engineer in automation and robotics, initially in the timber industry, later moving on to the food and beverage industry to broaden my experience.

I’ve spent the last 10 years travelling the world bringing machines to life. In parallel to my work as a software engineer, I started studying mechanical engineering – to better understand the complex world of machines. I built up solid knowledge of materials and developed an interest in foundry technology.

In 2016, I took the plunge and moved country to join the Wheelabrator team in Zurich as application engineer. Here, I design automation concepts and create software, working around the world on the machines that make the everyday products that surround us – in our buildings, cars or kitchens.



Lawson-BlogLawson Pryke
European Equipment Modernisation Director & COMET Engineering Team Leader at Wheelabrator
I have over 40 years’ experience in the shot blasting industry, I qualified as an engineer in 1974 and got my first job at Tilghman as a design draftsman. I worked in various positions within the company learning the trade and travelling to meet a wide variety of customers and providing their solutions. I was Technical Director of Tilghman Wheelabrator Group, my current role is European EMP Director, with a responsibility for new wheel development, which I am thoroughly enjoying.

Ron-Wright-Blog-Profile

Ron Wright
Automated Airblast & Peening Manager at Wheelabrator

Drawing on over 30 years’ experience with blast and peening equipment, I match customers and their high-spec application requirements to the best equipment solution.


Pierre Tanguay
Senior VP OEM Operations for North America at Wheelabrator
I’ve been with the company for over 25 years in a variety of roles including Quality, Engineering, Wheelabrator Plus and OEM management. The last 8 years have focused on the development and optimization of our Supply Chain operations in the Americas.


Stanislav Venclik
Engineering Manager at Wheelabrator
I’m based at the Wheelabrator Manufacturing Centre in Pribram, Czech Republic, and am part of the global blast wheel R&D team.

With over 15 years’ experience with shot blast equipment, I now work with colleagues around the world on engineering challenges, with a special focus on technology transfer with our team in China.

The last two years belonged to COMET HD, our new heavy-duty blast wheel.