The Retirement of a Damper Drive Legend

Kansas City is famous for many things. We are the home of jazz, home of the best BBQ, home of the Negro League Baseball Museum and also home of the 1st damper drive ever built by Controls International (now Rotork Type K).

I would like to share the legend of Dick Scholtz as I know it. This story of how the Type-K concept was first conceived has been told many times by many people,

The story goes that Dick had sold several competitor's vane actuators to one of his very good customers. The same customer had been experiencing problems with his pneumatic damper drives and understood the merit of the vane design. Dick worked together on a plan to integrate the vane actuator into a damper drive, while the customer fabricated a stand to mount the actuator. The result was one outstanding, accurate, and long-life damper drive.

On a follow-up visit to the plant, Dick had a conversation with his customer who told Dick the plant would like to retrofit several additional damper drive applications, but he didn’t want to use Dick’s actuator! Of course, Dick was stunned and replied, “I thought that the actuators have been performing flawlessly” to which his customer responded, “They are!”

Dick shook his head, paused and replied, “Well then why in the world wouldn’t you want to use my actuator?”.

The customer quietly then explained, “Dick, listen closely, I don’t want to use your ACTUATOR, I want to use your DAMPER DRIVE”.

The light came on and the damper drive business at Controls International was born (later to become Rotork Type K Drives).

Dick Scholtz trained so many salesmen on so much more than damper drives. Dick taught us how to be better salesmen. Dick showed us the importance of attention to detail, surveying every last detail of a customer installation so that the replacement damper drive just dropped into place like magic. Dick’s magnetic personality (coupled with $50 of the best pastries available from St. Louis Bread Company) were a sure-fire win at every client. We all enjoyed tremendous growth in large part to Dick Scholtz. When talking with Dick on the phone, many times he would end the phone conversation with “Go get ‘em Tiger” and make you feel like a million bucks. His contribution and friendship will never be forgotten.

Tim Haas
Power Specialties