Grasshopper named 2014 Company of the Year by Wichita-area organization

The Grasshopper Company was chosen as “2014 Company of the Year” by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Chapter 52 and received recognition from the organization at a Dec. 9 ceremony in Wichita, Kan.

Grasshopper Company President Stan Guyer accepted the award at The Petroleum Club in Wichita during SME 52’s annual installation of officers. Grasshopper was recognized due, in part, for manufacturing processes observed during a tour of the company’s headquarters and factory located in Moundridge, Kan., in May 2014, in comparison to other manufacturing facilities toured during the year. The company’s products, consisting of commercial-grade zero-turn mowers and grounds maintenance systems, were also factored into the award.

During the award presentation, Martin Fisher, acting SME 52 chairman, said, “We were impressed with how efficiently the company operates in a concise environment, and were also very impressed with the company’s versatile products. They pay a lot of attention to the ergonomics of the product.”

In a separate statement, SME 52 President Stuart Roberts, absent from the event due to illness, noted, “Who knew that so many different types of mowers, with so many options, were made for not just U.S. consumers, but also exported throughout the world. Grass cutting has reached a phenomenal level of technology.”

SME 52 Tour Director Chairman Mike Kreil of Spirit Aerosystems echoed those thoughts, calling Grasshopper “an amazing company.”

Recent facilities and process upgrades include additions to laser, welding and assembly robotics and an expanded powder-coat paint system. “Each upgrade in our manufacturing process translates to increased precision and overall durability of our products, adding value for our customers who remain our overall number one focus,” said Ruthanne Stucky, Grasshopper’s director of marketing.

Guyer said the award is especially significant considering that the company’s guiding principles include manufacturing excellence and product quality. “Our manufacturing process is a great source of pride. It represents who we are and what we’re committed to. We believe these investments are investments in our future – not only for our company, but for our community, our county and our state. We’re proud that SME recognized our pursuit of engineering and manufacturing excellence.”

SME was founded in 1932 to advance the mechanical engineering profession, which currently covers technologies such as lean, automation and robotics, test and measurement, and machining and material removal. Chapter 52 serves its members and the greater south-central Kansas manufacturing community through the advancement of professionalism, knowledge and the promotion of manufacturing education.

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Accepting the SME 52’s 2014 Company of the Year award are Grasshopper Company representatives Stan Guyer (right), president, and Ryan Wiebe, safety and environmental coordinator.

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