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Kraft inducted into International Fluid Power Hall of Fame and expands the Kraft Family Associate Professorship

Published: July 12, 2022 Author: Chloe Musick

Robert “Bob” Kraft, BSME ’61, has been inducted into the 2022 class of the Fluid Power Hall of Fame honoring his commitment to education in the fluid power industry through his own work with Kraft Fluid Systems, the International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) and the Kraft Family Associate Professorship Awards. 

In 1972, Kraft and his wife, Marie, founded Kraft Fluid Systems (KFS), which addresses the need for integrated mobile hydraulic and electronic control systems. KFS prioritizes employee growth through continued education and training. In fact, all technical employees require certification through (IFPS). Throughout his career, Kraft has been committed to creating opportunities for industry professionals to learn and contribute to the benefit of KFS, their customers and the fluid power industry. 

In addition to his prioritization of employee education within his company, more than two decades ago, the Krafts established the Kraft Family Scholar Awards, which recently expanded as the Kraft Family Associate Professorship Awards, to support two junior faculty members in the Department of Engineering Technology and Management. 

“Throughout my career, I believed education, training and experience lead to learning and competency,” said Kraft in a press release from the IFPS.

The Kraft Family Associate Professorship Awards honor a junior faculty member’s continued outstanding performance and their future contributions to the department and their students. The recipients for Fall 2022 are Neil Littell, a current Kraft Family associate professor, and Jesús Pagán, associate professor.

“It is an honor to receive this award from the Kraft Family and I look forward to continuing my research with their support,” said Littell.

“As I continue to explore topics in robotics and manufacturing, I am grateful to have the support of the Kraft Family to explore my ideas and keep working with students,” said Pagán. 

In addition to Littell and Pagán, Yuqiu You, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Management, was named a Kraft Family Scholar several years ago. 

“It's an honor and was encouraging for me at that time as a junior faculty member. I feel that my effort and value have been recognized and I am excited to continue what I have been doing to contribute to the college,” You said. 

These expanded professorships demonstrate the Kraft family’s continued commitment to education in the Department of Engineering Technology and Management. Beyond the professorships, Kraft served on the Russ College Department of Industrial Technology (now Engineering Technology and Management) Advisory Board from 2000 to 2005.

His career in fluid power has exemplified his entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. In 1987-89, Kraft served on the Board of Directors of the Fluid Power Distributors Association and from 2003-2008, he served on the Board of Directors for IFPS, leading as President in 2007. 

During his working career, Kraft served as a trustee on the Strongsville Education Foundation from 1993 to 2001. Additionally, Kraft was a thirty-year member of the Optimist Club of Strongsville, serving as club president in 1983 and 1984; a member of the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce; and a committee member for the City of Strongsville. 

Today, the Krafts have retired in Savannah, Georgia. They continue to lead a life of service, supporting their church, the Bethesda Academy, the SAFE Shelter and the American Red Cross, serving as Armed Forces Emergency Relief volunteers.

For information on this prestigious award visit FluidPowerHallofFame.org.