W. Michael ClevyFor his outstanding record of accomplishment in the space-conditioning industry, the Schools of Engineering are proud to present the Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award to W. Michael Clevy.
President and Chief Executive Officer
International Comfort Products Corporation
On his Purdue experienceI grew up in southern Indiana working on farms and working with cars. I was good in math and science, so my high school counselors pointed me toward Purdue. I never really thought of going anyplace else. When I got into the university, I was a bit overwhelmed. I adapted quickly and got used to the routine, but I found myself being challenged by the Purdue curriculum.
During my time at Purdue the Vietnam War was raging, and of course the news of the Kent State tragedy shot through the university and stunned everyone. I was in the first class that didn't have to take ROTC. I took phys ed instead, and Bob Griese was my student instructor. The sports teams were fantastic when I was a student, football and basketball both. We won the Rose Bowl in the 1966-67 season.
I lived in Harrison and Wiley Halls, and during my senior year I was a counselor at Cary Quadrangle. I was responsible for a floor of guys. It was a good experience: helpful and character-building.
On his career
|As a student, I didn't have a clue what my career would be or how it would turn out. My biggest challenge was to get through Purdue. After graduation, I spent seven or eight years doing engineering work, and I got an MBA along the way. Then I went into marketing, field sales, and general management with United Technologies Carrier and rose through the ranks. Carrier provided an excellent background and diverse experience, and in 1994 I was recruited from there to International Comfort Products [a producer of heating and cooling products and systems].||
On corporate restructuringI came to International Comfort Products in September of 1994. When I got here, the business was in trouble, and the manufacturing operation was in the dark ages with 2,500 hourly employees. We had to start from ground zero, knowing that literally thousands and thousands of employees, distributors, contractors, and their families were depending on how successful we were in turning the business around.
In 1994 and '95, we began implementing new manufacturing techniques, including demand flow. We developed new products and improved customer service, and we turned the business around. The whole restructuring experience was like running the gauntlet: you feel really good about getting through it, but you sure don't want to go through it again. Now I get letters from employees saying, "Thank you for turning this company around," and at company picnics, employees with their families will come up and say the same thing. It's been a very rewarding experience.
We're now in a growth mode. We're very much involved in growing the business internationally, especially in Latin America and Europe. Building executive talent for the future, and changing the old ways of doing things, is something that I'm heavily involved in. All the while, we continuously improve the productivity of our domestic business. The domestic and international efforts are parallel efforts.
On the Purdue nameI haven't integrated or differentiated an equation since leaving Purdue, but at Purdue I learned a discipline, a way of attacking problems and issues, that I think carries over more than any kind of specific learning about, for example, heat transfer. The education applies to business issues as well as engineering. It's a great school. When people learn that you're a Purdue engineering graduate, you get immediate respect. The Purdue name carries a lot of weight.
- Named an Outstanding Mechanical Engineer by the Purdue School of Mechanical Engineering.
- 1996- :
- President and CEO, International Comfort Products (formerly Inter-City Products).
- President and COO, Inter-City Products.
- Vice President, Manufacturing and Technology, Carrier, North American Operations.
- Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Unitary Products Group, Carrier Corp.
- Vice President, Sales and Distribution, Carrier, North American Operations.
- Vice President and General Manager, North Zone, Carrier, North American Operations.
- Vice President, Residential and Light Commercial Marketing, Carrier Corp.
- General Manager, Bryant Distribution Operations, Carrier Corp.
- Manager, Product Marketing, Residential HVAC Products, Carrier Corp.
- Senior Design Engineer, Carrier Corp.
- Development Engineer, Carrier Corp.
- Design Engineer, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.
BSME '70, Purdue; MBA '78, Indiana U.