Born and raised on a Dairy Farm in Delavan, Wisconsin, John Wilson grew up destined to be an engineer. His dad, who was also blessed with a mechanical mind, impressed upon John at an early age the importance of problem solving. While helping his family around the farm, machines would often need repairs or breakdown. When this happened John and his dad would take a look at the problem, and his father would simply say, “fix it.” At the age of 12 this was usually easier said than done, but with a little guidance along the way John grew to understand machines of all types and even new ways of improving them. This would lead him to pursue a life devoted to engineering, finding solutions and increasing efficiency.
Beginning his career with John Crane, which specialized in seals, John focused his attention on design as it related to customer application. In 1985 he moved from the customer application side of engineering to product development when he joined Sloan. Considering it a more challenging and rewarding type of engineering, John fires up every morning around 6:30, converting “words into parts and designs” as he puts it. Even today, walking down the assembly line there are hundreds of products still being produced that he has helped develop in some way. Additionally, he has over 20 unique patents to his name.
During the last 10 years John’s attention has turned to problems with water efficiency. With changes in regulations and the realization that a lot of money can be saved with more efficient products, clients have been coming to John in the pursuit of perfection. This led to a number of advancements, but John’s most significant has been the development of the UPPERCUT® flush valve, the first commercially offered dual-flush handle. High Efficiency fixtures can be expensive, and although the savings make up for the cost quickly, institutions like schools and non-profit organizations often have budget constraints. John’s UPPERCUT, which is a quick retrofit that does not require the entire valve to be replaced, brought the ability to save vast amounts of money to institutions with limited budgets. And since it did not add costs to the production process and gave the user a desirable result, it became an effective way for institutions of all kinds to save water and money without having to invest in expensive products.
A person who always enjoys a good challenge, John values working with such a talented and close group of individuals, knowing that without their help his success in meeting these difficulties would not have been so easy. Taking this love of challenges out of the office, John is an avid hiker who makes trips to elevations reaching above 14,000 feet. Picking out new mountains each year for the past 20 years, he enjoys a brisk lunch atop each summit.