Friday, October 24, 2014
   
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Nebraska is where it’s at

New Baldwin Filters manager returns to roots.

A desire to return to Nebraska, and a tour of Gothenburg, “sealed the deal” for the new manager of Baldwin Filters.

“It’s the good life here,” said Brian Riley, who has managed CLC Air plants in Davenport, IA, and Sellersburg, IN.

CLC Air (CLARCOR Air Filtration Products) is a division of CLARCOR, the company that also owns Baldwin Filters.

The 36-year-old, who began overseeing the local plant on Feb. 27, said he and his wife’s families all live in Nebraska. Wife Jaimi is from Kearney, where the couple met while working at the Baldwin Filters plant there.

During an interview for the job in Gothenburg, Riley toured the town.

“And the school sold me,” he said.

With the exception of the Riley’s youngest son, all of the other children are school-aged.

Jaimi and the children, who are still living in Sellersburg, IN, plan to move to Gothenburg at the beginning of the fourth quarter of the school year to meet classmates before summer break.

A graduate of St. Mary’s High School in O’Neill, Riley attended Ft. Scott Community College near Kansas City, MO, where he played baseball.

He later moved to Kearney and made filters at Baldwin Filters during the night shift. He also returned to college, this time at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Riley got into a day-shift management at Baldwin and spent four months training near Chicago, IL, to receive certification in project management.

In 2005, he was hired to manage a CLC Air plant in Davenport, which he did for two years before moving to Sellersburg. There, he managed the consolidation of four different facilities into one in Jeffersonville, IN.

The new manager learned, on a company website, about the opening in Gothenburg, caused by the retirement of former plant manager David Haynes.

Although CLARCOR is comprised of companies divided into engine/mobile, industrial/environmental and consumer packaging, Riley noted that Baldwin Filters generates about half of CLARCOR sales.

“We’re the big stick that stirs the Kool-Aid of CLARCOR,” he said.

At the Gothenburg plant Riley said he’s encountered the best group of managers, supervisors and labor pool he’s ever seen.

Because that will make management easier, he said his biggest challenge will be learning about the different heavy-duty air filters manufactured at the local plant.

Up until now, most of Riley’s experience has been with spin-on lube replacement fuel filters that are manufactured in Kearney.

Many of the filters manufactured by Baldwin are used in equipment in such industries as farming, mining and trucking.

Still, Riley brings 17 years in management and leadership skills to the job.

“I’m a lifelong learner and continue to go to school,” he said, noting that he’s working on a management degree from UNK. “I also thoroughly enjoy people. Communication comes easy to me.”

What he said he can improve upon is leaving work at the office when he goes home to spend time with family.

Away from the office, Riley likes playing and following sports with his children—particularly baseball, basketball and football.

He and Jaimi like to play cards and golf and he likes to fish.

The couple’s children are: Becca, 15; Blake, 12; Ethan, 9; and Spencer, 4.

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