This piece was originally published in the December 2017 issue of electroindustry.
John W. Estey, an enduring contributor to the electroindustry, received the 2017 Bernard H. Falk Award, NEMA’s highest award, on November 9, at the Annual Membership Meeting in Bonita Springs.
Mr. Estey joined S&C Electric Company in 1972 as a young engineer. He progressed through various management positions that culminated in his appointment as its president in 1988. As one of only three chief executive officers in S&C Electric Company’s 100-year history, he led the company to prominence in the industry through an unwavering focus on product innovation, customer service, and the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior.
According to S&C Electric Company CEO Kyle H. Seymour, Mr. Estey exemplifies the characteristics and character that this award recognizes.
“John is admired and revered within the company, particularly for his steady leadership,” Mr. Seymour noted.
Mr. Estey’s work ethic extends to the broader industry. His participation in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its Power and Energy Society (PES) includes being an IEEE fellow, past director of IEEE, and past PES president. Through the IEEE PES Scholarship Plus Initiative, he encourages undergraduate engineering students to pursue careers in the industry. IEEE recognized him for a lifetime of service with the IEEE PES Leadership in Power Award. In 2011, the S&C Foundation endowed the John W. Estey Outstanding PES Scholarship.
As president of the S&C Foundation, he led efforts to fund and endow numerous community programs, particularly those that steer young people into engineering. He chaired the Adler Planetarium Board of Trustees, where he helped to endow a program focused on STEM education. He is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
A strong supporter of NEMA, Mr. Estey invigorated S&C’s engagement within the association. He played a pivotal role in helping to establish strategic focus. After several leadership roles, he chaired the NEMA Board of Governors in 2007. At the time of his retirement, Mr. Estey was the longest-serving active board member.
Since his retirement from S&C in 2015, Mr. Estey continues to serve in a nonexecutive capacity as chairman of the S&C Board of Directors. He has been a role model to many, a legendary leader, and a distinguished servant to the electroindustry.
About the Bernard H. Falk Award
Bernard H. Falk joined NEMA’s Operations Section in 1956. He became vice president of government and membership services in 1967 and president in 1972, a position he held until his retirement in 1991.
As vice president, Mr. Falk influenced two distinct domains within the association—government relations and membership. Concentrating on legislation related to product regulation and international trade, Mr. Falk prepared and coordinated industry position papers, testified regularly before Congress and government agencies, and developed a program for improving day-to-day relationships with executive agencies. During his tenure, NEMA membership grew to an all-time high.
The Bernard H. Falk Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding achievement in technology, management, marketing, international trade, education, public affairs, or any other field important to the electroindustry.