Over the past few years, Draper has been recognized with several nice awards. In addition to several awards for our products, we were also named America’s Healthiest Employer, and one of the Best Places to Work in Indiana. Last week Draper received one of our most prestigious honors yet when we were inducted into the Indiana Manufacturers Hall of Fame.
Draper was one of 18 Hoosier companies in the inaugural Hall of Fame class. Other companies inducted include Whiting Refinery, Capital Machine Company, Citizens Energy Group, and Lilly.
The induction took place last week at a Hall of Fame Luncheon keynoted by former Indiana Governor and current Purdue University President Mitch Daniels.
“We are deeply honored to be one of the 18 inaugural members of the Indiana Manufacturers Hall of Fame,” according to Draper President John Pidgeon, “and sincerely appreciate this recognition.”
Draper started in 1902 as a window shade manufacturer. Company founder Luther O. Draper traveled around central Indiana selling shades to schools. From that beginning, Draper has not only survived but thrived for more than a century, growing to have over 600 employees without ever having a layoff, expanding our product offerings, and reaching out globally.
To what can Draper’s long-term success be attributed?
“A great group of employees, hard work, an occasional good decision and a bit of luck,” according to John Pidgeon. “Probably the most important event in Draper’s history was my father’s decision to begin manufacturing projection screens in 1957.”
John’s father—Luther Pidgeon—was the grandson of company founder Luther Draper. His invention of the V Screen in the late 1950s did, as John says, chart a new course ahead for the company. But he points out there have been other big moments as well.
“There have been two other seminal events during the time (vice president of manufacturing and John’s cousin) Mike Broome and I have been here,” John says. “First was the invention of the video projector and its linkage to the personal computer. Then there was our decision in 1989 to introduce the FlexShade Systems line of window shades for the commercial market.”
John says another key point was the company’s decision to enter the gymnasium equipment market in 1994.
“Manufacturing is one of the main drivers of Indiana’s economy, representing 30% of Indiana’s gross domestic product,” Indiana Manufacturers Association president Brian Burton said in a press release. “Draper, Inc. is a perfect example of a company that has not only demonstrated its long-term dedication to Indiana manufacturing, but also through its continued support of the IMA, with its overarching goal to protect, support, and grow manufacturing. We are pleased to induct Draper, Inc. into our Indiana Manufacturers Hall of Fame in this inaugural year.”
Just because Draper has been inducted into the Manufacturing Hall of Fame, however, doesn’t mean the company is done growing and innovating. Just the opposite, in fact. Draper is planning several new and updated products in the coming months, and work is underway on an expansion to our manufacturing facilities in Spiceland.
John Pidgeon puts future plans this way: “To continue to be a good corporate citizen, and always be on the lookout for new long-term growth opportunities.”
Congratulations to management, owners, and employees past and present for this recognition!