Alfred Harold Stegens was born in 1930 and began working at CWP (Cleveland Wood Products) in 1961. Now at the age of 75, with a mere 44 years at CWP, Al continues to come to work everyday, spending time in his model shop creating brushroll samples, by hand, for CWP customers. Al has 20 patents to his credit proving his creative side, but it’s the list of CWP customers that verifies the reliability, performance and cost effectiveness of his designs. His brushroll designs have been used by every single major OEM and distributor in the entire U.S. vac market and beyond.
Al is known throughout the industry, and by his peers, as “Mr. 50-50”, because of his standard answer when asked, “Al, how you doin’?” He always replies, “50-50.” If you don’t believe me, just ask him.
Al’s work ethic can be summarized as passionate and workmanlike. Al is simply a nice guy who attacks opportunities with energy and a common sense approach, and he does so with a friendly smile on his face (plus a Dilbert cartoon in his shirt pocket). Al is a classic “cut-and-try” engineer. He has a tremendous understanding of mechanics and the way things work. Al is constantly creating new features for a product thought to “just sweep dirt out of the carpet.” Although unofficial, Al is also believed to be the World Record Holder for purchasing the most vacuum cleaners by an individual. During his tenure at CWP, Al has purchased more than 300 vacs for test and educational purposes.
In the end, Al’s devotion for his work has resulted in many satisfied OEM engineers, countless number of vac shop owners who have enjoyed higher earnings, and millions of consumers who hardly recognize the benefits they are receiving.
Aside from CWP, Al is a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His marriage is to his life long soul-mate Lois with whom he’s had three children. His oldest son Eric has followed in his footsteps and been Al’s assistant at CWP for the past 26 years. Al believes now that the time has come to swap roles and he envisions himself as being Eric’s assistant for the next 26 years…. Al is also an avid model maker. He competes internationally and does own verifiable World Records in control-line model airplane flying.
Al has always been content staying out of the spotlight, but the time has come for his life-long accomplishments to be brought forward and recognized.
2006 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee