Fred A. Lennon
Swagelok Company Founder
Fred Lennon started Swagelok in 1947 with a $500 loan and the promise of a colleague’s new product design. From the beginning, Mr. Lennon had big plans for the easy-to-install, leak-tight tube fitting: Make the best product possible to help customers succeed.
Do everything right, he said. Then, when you do it right, do it better.
Fred Lennon knew his product. He knew it was good. And he could sell it like no one else.
He had one tube fitting encased as a showpiece. When talking to customers, he’d take out the case and display the fitting as if it were a precious jewel. Customers were charmed by his engaging style and sincere belief in his product.
That “pride of perfection” was his trademark — and has been the constant at Swagelok, from its early days as a mom-and-pop operation to today’s global enterprise.
Mr. Lennon’s demand for the highest quality spread from his product to his people.
Swagelok is in the people business, he’d say, not the product business. People make and sell product. People make a company healthy.
He encouraged associates (never “employees”) to do the right thing and to act with integrity. And he acknowledged that it wasn’t he who grew Swagelok, but the trustworthy, hardworking people around him.
Respect for others was a life-long theme for Mr. Lennon. He shook hands with everyone when he walked through the shop. He personally presented associates with anniversary and holiday gifts. He remembered names.
His respect for people went beyond Swagelok. It spread into his community — to hospitals and educational institutions and individuals — in the form of dollars. In generous amounts. But, by his design, no one really knew.
Mr. Lennon sidestepped the spotlight in life, but was inducted posthumously into the Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame in 2001.
Inside Business magazine noted, “Fred Lennon’s ‘pride of perfection’ and unflinching values built Swagelok into an industry leader and drove him to give millions back to the community.”
Fred Lennon continues to give today — through the Swagelok associates who carry on his legacy of quality, integrity and respect.