John Henry Foster: Pioneering Next-Gen Motion Control
manufacturingtechnologyinsights

John Henry Foster: Pioneering Next-Gen Motion Control

Rich Gau, CEO, John Henry FosterRich Gau, CEO
This year marks the 75th anniversary of John Henry Foster, St Louis (JHF), a truly one-of-a-kind organization driven by over 165 employees who own 65 percent of the company. Since implementing the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) in 1984, JHF has gone the extra mile to guarantee that each member of its workforce feels a deep sense of security and opportunity while upholding core values of loyalty, teamwork, respect, trust, integrity, and honesty. Functioning within this family-type atmosphere, JHF has emerged as an industry leader in the spectrum of fluid power and industrial automation solutions. Bolstered by over 200 years of combined expertise in design, engineering, and hydraulic engineering, JHF specializes in different variants of motion control, be it fluid, power, electrical, or mechanical. Also adept in electromechanical and hydraulically-managed solutions for machine safety, JHF provides both off-the-shelf parts for repairs and maintenance, as well as custom-fabricated products for unique applications.

While acknowledging that every application and business is different, JHF does not design a one-size-fits-all solution and instead customizes and integrates products that best fit a customer’s needs. “Our programming crew—capable of integrating solutions to all types of machines and control systems—deliver user-friendly solutions that are built upon an open architecture. Therefore, our clients don’t require an IT person or an integration expert to deal with controllers or programming. Rather than selling products out of the box, we integrate them as solutions and meet any and every challenge for our customers,” says Darren Warren, engineering manager at JHF, which manufactures a range of products in Hydraulics, Compressed Air, Aluminum Framing, Industrial & Hydraulic Hose, Pneumatics, and Linear Motion. According to Warren, JHF is “extremely adaptive” to new technologies and isn’t averse to partnering or acquiring new product lines to effectively meet a client’s requirement. JHF’s industry-trusted partners include Firestone, Sun Hydraulics Corporation and Norgren Limited.

Besides its suite of ISO 9001:2015 products, JHF provides a range of services and training and resources to its customers who are spread across the board.


“We have clients ranging from a small retail shop, all the way to General Motors, and other manufacturing facilities in various industries. Our solutions and services cater to any industry, any application that involves motion control. Our focus is to manufacture and design products for controls and automation, material handling, whole assembly and kitting, custom hydraulic power units, value-added hydraulics, industrial tools, and integrated systems,” stresses Ashley Conrad, marketing manager at JHF. With courses ranging from basic hydraulics & pneumatics to understanding schematics and design considerations, JHF seeks to help facility managers understand their systems and components. JHF also owns an onsite retail store meant for local customers.

Rather than selling products out of the box, we integrate them as solutions and meet any and every challenge for our customers


In the coming years, JHF will continue to deliver customized products and integrated solutions to a vast clientele spread across the nation. Operating out of a 100,000 square foot facility that houses over $8Mn worth of critical parts, JHF’s team of engineers, hydraulic specialists, CAD designers, and electrical designers are determined to add “a personalized touch” in delivering solutions and services. Already one of the biggest players in the industry, JHF has no plans of slowing down. “We are constantly acquiring new technologies, and partnering with new vendors and suppliers, in a way that keeps us ahead of the curve. Most importantly, we will continue to uphold our family values and the strong relationships we’ve built with our vendors, customers, and partners,” concludes Jae Yun, Automation Manager at JHF.