Emerson recently honored three top officials for their many long years of service in promoting and growing the Fisher brand of valves within the process industries.
Retiring from the company are Terry Buzbee, Mike Mason and Dan Button. Collectively, those three men have served Emerson and Fisher for 124 years: more than 40 years each. They’ve also given time and resources to VMA: Terry Buzbee was chairman in 2001; Mike Mason served in that position in 2010 as well as a member and chair of the Valve Repair Council. Dan Button has worked on the program committee for the Leadership Forum for many years.
“You could say it’s the end of an era for Emerson and for VMA—a good example of what our industry faces as our talent and expertise reaches retirement age. These three, highly skilled men provided a lifetime of knowledge and leadership that will be sorely missed not only by their own company, but by the valve industry in general,” said VMA President Bill Sandler.
Because of the significance of what these men contributed to the company, Fisher Valves devoted an entire issue of its internal publication, The Governor, to stories detailing their accomplishments and awards.
Terry Buzbee’s accomplishments were outlined in a feature about his receipt of Emerson’s J.W. Fisher Leadership Award, which is presented to outstanding individuals who have contributed business leadership and community service. Emerson CEO David Farr said this about Buzbee: “He is a steward of the valve industry, a pillar of the Marshalltown community and an outstanding leader.” On Sept. 10, 2018, the atrium of Emerson’s Innovation Center was renamed The T.D. Buzbee Auditorium.
Buzbee is retiring as chairman of Final Control. He joined Fisher Controls (which was owned by Monsanto back in those days) in 1977 as a sales engineer in Marshalltown. He was a plant manager of the manufacturing facility by 1987 and became a Global Business Leader for the hydrocarbon industry in 1990. In 1992, Buzbee was appointed vice president of sales for the Fisher products business, which included valves, instruments, regulators, systems and remote automation, lines of business that eventually broke off to form separate units.
Buzbee became president of the Fisher Valve Division in 1994 and for the next 16 years. During that time, he managed the move to strengthen globalization and make multiple acquisitions that broadly extended the scope of products and services. He was appointed group vice president of Final Control in 2012 and became chairman of that group in 2017. He was also inducted into the Academy of Engineering Management (Missouri University) in 2010 and the Iowa Business Hall of Fame in 2013.
Both Mike Mason (2010) and Dan Button (2001) also were recipients of the J.W. Fisher Leadership Award.
Mike Mason started his career with the company in April 1975 after receiving a mechanical engineering degree. Mason’s first job was a manufacturing engineer in Marshalltown’s Governor Road facility. He became a supervisor and operations manager in 1975 and served in that position until 1983, when he moved to South Carolina to start up a new service center. That was the beginning of a long career in the service business.
Mason returned to Marshalltown in 1986 as the assembly plant manager, playing a role in creating the transformation of plant operations and focused site strategies that is still in use today. He became the leader of the North American Service Center organization in the 1990s and oversaw a significant expansion of sites across that continent. In 2000, Mason became vice president of the newly formed Fisher Product Business Units, which drove a focus on product/application segments. In 2014, Mason became president in North America.
Like Mason, Dan Button also received a mechanical engineering degree. He started his Emerson career in 1978 as a design engineer. Button moved up the technical ladder within the company to become director of Fisher research and development in 1986. Button then led the Fisher Business Planning and Development organization, which first brought him into the acquisitions field. Later, he expanded his breadth of expertise in quality assurance and instrument manufacturing in Marshalltown.
Button’s first international exposure was in 1995 as vice president—Manufacturing, Asia Pacific, then vice president for Valves in that same area in 1997. In 2001, he returned to the U.S. as president of Valve Automation, where he was tasked with integrating multiple acquisitions into a single business unit.
In 2012, Button became president, Final Control Business Development, and ultimately led the largest Emerson acquisition in history.
All three men also have a long history of serving their communities.