Factory Talk with Don Bair, Robinson Fans

March 30, 2021
Industrial fans are wonders of complexity, and getting people trained on multiple jobs is a top priority for this plant manager.

The bar is set high at Robinson Fans, a 125-year-old, family-owned fabricator of air-moving equipment and process fans for industry. A job might take 20 hours, or 1,600 hours, depending on its size and complexity. Plant Manager Don Bair started work at Robinson 15 years ago, coming off active-duty tours in the Air Force. Now the plant manager, in this installment of Factory Talk, he talks with host Jamie Flinchbaugh about how his military experience taught him the importance of teamwork—“how to win and fail and a team.”

Although Robinson is metric-driven, he highly values cross-training his employees. “I think it’s very easy in a craftsperson type skill set to keep putting people in the situations that they’re good at,” Bair told Flinchbaugh. “But it doesn’t allow them or the organization to grow. What you usually end up with there is a stack of parts you don’t need because you keep feeding the guy that part that he’s good at. 

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