Case Studies in Success
The team has completed its first two case studies, both of which focus on companies with longstanding ties to WPI. Morgan Construction, a maker of rolling mills and other machinery for the steel industry, was founded in the 1880s by Charles Hill Morgan, the first superintendent of WPI’s Washburn Shops. It was run by five generations of Morgans before the company agreed to be sold to Siemens VAI in 2008.
Spirol, which makes engineered fasteners, has ties to three families, including the Prym family, which started the oldest family-owned business in Germany. Located in Northeast Connecticut, Spirol has been led throughout its 60-year history by members of the Koehl family, including Hans Koehl, a 1956 WPI graduate, the recently retired CEO, and his son Jeffrey, the current CEO.
To prepare the case studies, WPI researchers spent several months conducting structured interviews with key corporate personnel, including family and non-family members, using a lengthy questionnaire prepared for the STEP project. The result of this exhaustive process was a detailed analysis of each firm’s history, status, vision, governance, marketing practices, and more.