Industry pioneer dies

November 27, 2006

Phillip Haynes, 78, a forerunner of the machine tool business in New England and North America, passed away on Thursday, Nov. 23 in Essex, Conn.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Ohio, Haynes attended the Miami University in Ohio, and later graduated from Wilmington College with an engineering degree. He also served in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Okinawa Japan.

Haynes was employed by Cincinnati Milacron as an engineer, which brought him and his young family to Simsbury, Conn. His openness and good judgment served him well, and Haynes quickly rose through the company ranks becoming Cincinnati's regional sales manager for New England. While at Cincinnati in Wilmington, Ohio, he also made friends with another engineer-turned-machine-tool-visionary, Berthold Leibinger.

In the late 1960s, Leibinger was traveling through the major U.S. manufacturing centers in the hopes of finding a good location to open a U.S. office for TRUMPF, a German machine tool producer. Haynes convinced his friend Leibinger to visit him in Connecticut for the weekend. During the trip, the two visited the Farmington Industrial Park (upon Haynes' recommendation) and the decision was made. TRUMPF has been in Connecticut ever since. Today the company employs more than 600 employees and is currently planning a new $20 million expansion.

"Phil's unwavering optimism for the future of machine tools in America reassured me that planting stakes here was going to yield a solid return for TRUMPF over time," said Berthold Leibinger, former president of the TRUMPF Group and current chairman of the supervisory board.

In 1969, Haynes joined TRUMPF as the company's third U.S. employee and became the subsidiary's first vice president of sales. Under his leadership, TRUMPF built its first U.S. building at 111 Hyde Road in Farmington, Conn. During his tenure, the U.S. subsidiary's sales grew from $600,000 to $14 million and the number of employees increased to 100. The company now is the largest TRUMPF subsidiary outside of Germany.

TRUMPF colleagues remember Haynes as an even-tempered man, an excellent judge of character, and a careful listener. Leibinger added, "Phil listened to others, even when he disagreed. In his opinion, the mark of a quality salesman was the ability to listen carefully to the needs of customers, as well as the ideas of colleagues. TRUMPF's growth here in the United States can be attributed to this man's patient ability to listen."

In 1982 Haynes resigned from TRUMPF to start his own business as the New England distributor for the TRUMPF product line. Retired for the last 18 years, Haynes lived in Essex, Conn., and was an antique car enthusiast, history buff, avid reader, and lover of jazz.

He leaves behind his wife of 55 years, Yvonne R. Haynes, three sons and nine grandchildren.

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