Hansen receives Lifetime Achievement Award
Richard Hansen and his wife, Joanne, accept the CoT Lifetime Achievement Award from Dean Dennis Depew.
The College of Technology at Purdue University honored Richard W.
Hansen with its Lifetime Achievement Award September 9 during a
reception at Ross-Ade Pavilion.
The Purdue University College of Technology created the Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize respected leaders in national and worldwide industries who have created and advanced a vision of excellence for technology. This award also recognizes these leaders for their significant contributions to the College of Technology and its mission.
“Richard Hansen has exceeded the criteria for this honor,” said Dennis Depew, dean of the College of Technology. “He has left his mark in the electrical manufacturing industry as a leader and mentor and has been a tireless contributor to the aviation industry. He has selflessly given financially and through his time and talents to enhance access to education at all levels.”
Hansen joined the ranks of Furnas Electric in Batavia, Illinois, in 1966. The company, founded by his grandfather, Carl Furnas, in 1932, focused on the production of electrical motor controls. Three years later, Hansen was promoted to vice president, and in 1972, he became president of the company. During the later part of his career, he was named chairman, president, and chief executive officer, titles he held until 1996, when Furnas was acquired by Siemens Energy and Automation as a wholly owned subsidiary.
During these years the company’s sales grew from $10 million to $140 million. Furnas was recognized within the industry for its many product innovations, setting numerous industry standards.
His leadership extended past profits, plants and products. Hansen believed in the power of free enterprise and personal and professional development. He offered his employees opportunities to use their talents to advance within the company and in the electrical industry.
Hansen pursued many endeavors that would help improve the educational outlook for students around Batavia and at Purdue. He has served on the Dean’s Executive Council for the College of Technology for 22 years and has been active in Purdue’s President’s Council, serving as chairman for two years. He also held leadership roles in several fundraising campaigns for the University. He and his wife, Joanne, established the W.C. Furnas Professorship in Enterprise Excellence in the College of Technology in 1997. He also served on the National Electrical Manufacturers Association Board of Governors for 10 years.
An avid pilot, he has been active in the Experimental Aviation Association for more than 30 years, focusing on the development of educational programs for youth. Hansen also enjoys restoring and flying historic aircraft, including a WWII Curtiss P40 fighter, a P51 Mustang and an F4F-3 Navy WWII fighter.
Hansen earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Purdue in 1961. He also attended Naval Officers Candidate School in Newport, R.I., where he received a commission and attained the rank of lieutenant.
He was awarded an honorary doctor of technology degree from Purdue in 1998.
Married for 47 years, the Hansens reside in Batavia. Their son, Scott, graduated from Purdue, and their daughter Lisa graduated from Bradley University.