"They're not a Boeing," said Roberts, director of manufacturing and ergonomics for CNA Insurance. "They're not a Honda. They're not a Ford. They're Snyder Roofing, a little company from Portland, Ore., and they win. I thought that was pretty cool for a little company like that to come in because what they did was just amazing."
Roberts, incoming chair for the Applied Ergonomics Conference 2014 and a veteran of many such gatherings, said first-timers usually are just getting their bearings and rarely win such accolades.
But Roberts, who will co-chair AEC 2015, noticed an energy and enthusiasm during the four days (March 24-27) spent at the Hilton Orlando in Orlando, Fla., for AEC 2014. He said part of that passion came from smaller organizations pleased with the opportunity to share with, learn from and compete against well-known entities like Johnson and Johnson, Toyota and GE.
"I think they really thought this was quite an honor to be able to attend this and compete with people from basically all over the world and from some of the major corporations," Roberts said.
As always, the Ergo Cup competition had some of the conference's highlights. Roberts said many first-time attendees told him that viewing the entries helped them truly understand what the Ergo Cup and the overall conversation was all about.
"When they start walking around and actually listening to what these people have done and some of the projects they have done and changes they've made, they're pretty impressed," Roberts said. "Because it's hard to describe that on paper until you see what these people have done and see the pictures of what they've done and see the changes they've made from an engineering perspective or a program perspective."
For several years, GOErgo judges have awarded Ergo Cups in four categories. This year's winners are:
* Ergonomic Program Improvement Initiatives: Using 6Sigma to Improve Ergonomic Process Management, Cummins Inc., Jamestown, N.Y.
* Workplace Solutions I, Team-Driven Workplace Solutions: Integrated Paint Hook Removal, Manchester Tank, Elkhart, Ind.
* Workplace Solutions I, Team-Driven Workplace Solutions with Internal Competitions: ShaftDeburr Cart, GE Aviation, Asheville, N.C.
* Workplace Solutions II, Engineering/ Ergonomist-Driven Workplace Solutions: Gas Turbine Airfoil Cutback, 7E Stage 1 Cutback, GE, Greenville, S.C.
Conference attendees select the Ergo Excellence Award. The winners, including Snyder Roofing, were: