People + Places

The First 40 Years are the Hardest

At 85 years old, Dave Morse is still moving and shaking in the compressor business.

Those who know Dave Morse might imagine his office as an archive of compression history. It’s true. Dave’s office is full of old technical manuals, text books, price books, early compressor photographs, and D-R and its competitors’ history and literature.

However, the most complete collection of compressor industry information in the office resides within Dave himself.

Perhaps most commendable though is Dave’s willingness to patiently share his wealth of knowledge with others. He has a brilliant mind with an infallible memory and remains selfless in teaching, nurturing and supporting others – a characteristic that shone in Dave from an early age.

Dave, along with his brother and two sisters, was raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where his father was a credit and office manager for a large department store and his mother was a housewife. He spent his high school summers as a YMCA summer camp counselor for boys.

Dave attended Iowa State University on a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corp (NROTC) scholarship and graduated in June 1952 with a BS degree in General Engineering. He immediately went on active duty to fulfill his scholarship commitment. He served one year on the USS Deuel, APA-160 (attack transport) and two years on the USS LST-1164 (landing ship tank). Dave was the first ship’s officer to arrive in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where she was being built.

Dave’s Compressor Career Begins

After fulfilling his scholarship commitment, Dave began his career as an application engineer at Ingersoll-Rand’s New Orleans, Louisiana sales office in July 1955 and supported the branch manager and three sales engineers. At that time, I-R offices handled a variety of products, including reciprocating and vane-type air compressors, reciprocating and centrifugal gas compressors, reciprocating and centrifugal pumps, steam condensers, and steam turbines.

“The most challenging part of that job was keeping up with the three sales engineers!” Dave recalls. One of the things he enjoyed most was learning about the equipment and how it works.

A little more than two years later, Dave was promoted to sales engineer and covered most of Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. After 11 years in Louisiana, Dave was transferred to I-R’s gas engine marketing department at I-R headquarters in New York, N.Y. One year later, I-R de-centralized and moved its marketing departments to its supporting factories and Dave relocated to Painted Post, N.Y., where he was later promoted to gas engine marketing manager.

In 1971, the gas engine marketing department was consolidated with I-R’s packaging subsidiary, Southwest Industries (SWI), and moved to the SWI facility in Houston, Texas. Here, Dave managed application engineering and sales coordination for integral gas engine compressors and gas field separable compressors. Later, he also served as manufacturing manager and facility operations manager.

In 1974, Dave transferred to the I-R Compression Services (I-RCS) Division in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as engineering manager, later adding the service department to his responsibilities. The I-RCS business was growing rapidly; business doubled in 1974 and grew at a rate of approximately 33 percent for several years thereafter. By 1977 that growth required I-RCS to de-centralize into districts. Dave became district manager in charge of sales, service and operations of both the 59-01 Tulsa District and 59-05 New Orleans District.

In 1980, as a result of another re-organization, Dave returned to the I-R sales team in Tulsa as district manager of field compression sales, and later as district manager for turbo and reciprocating sales. He retained this position following the combination of Dresser Industries and Ingersoll-Rand in 1987 to form Dresser-Rand.

Dresser-Rand’s compression sales team was created in September 1988 and Dave returned to his position as sales coordination manager. He held this title until his retirement in December 1997. He later consulted with D-R Compression Services until September 2000 and then contracted for Dresser-Rand’s high-speed reciprocating compressor (HSRC) business unit – and still does today.

Sixty Years of Compression Knowledge
There is no doubt that Dave has seen a lot of changes in the compression industry over the last six decades, from the days of integral gas engine compressors (often packaged) to the introduction of the high-speed, balance-opposed separable compressor by D-R / Clark Brothers in 1957 and D-R / I-R in 1958, to the growth of the packaged, high-speed reciprocating compressor industry.

“My greatest challenge has always been to increase Dresser-Rand’s business and market share,” says Dave. “There is always room to improve.” He participated in many new product developments, including the TVS-TVR-SVS, KVGR, KVSR, KVR, 5HHE, 5RDH, 5.5RDS, HOS™, VIP®, HOSS™, and MOS™ compressors.

“In addition to learning more each day about the equipment and the industry, getting to know our clients and how they apply our compressors in their business is always interesting and challenging,” notes Dave.

Dave observes, “There is no greater reward than watching people you have hired and/or helped train succeed.” Over the years, Dave has shared his wisdom via “Morse-grams” or other immediate means. Among those are: “define the question;” and “working with good people with a “team” spirit seeking win-win solutions makes it that way.”

“It’s a Wonderful Life”

Dave’s family life has been just as rich. In 1958, Dave married Pat, a Baton Rouge native. They had two children. Ed, born in 1960, is a professional musician, and Karen, born in 1965, is a computer specialist at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Pat passed away in 2005, following an 18-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Dave’s commitment to serving others goes back to the beginning…as a summer camp counselor in high school, a naval officer who served his country and then serving his company and colleagues. He remains well-known and respected in the compression industry today.

Being 85 years old and able to contribute to one company for the last six decades is a blessing few can enjoy, and an accomplishment not many can claim.

other articles from insights issue Winter 2015 / 2016