CLEARWATER, Fla. — Fritz Faulhaber, a pioneer in high-precision micro motor and drive systems, died at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Feb. 6, 2017, at the age of 68. He had served as president and CEO of MICROMO Electronics Inc. and as chairman of the FAULHABER Group.
Fritz Faulhaber was born in Schonaich, Germany, in 1948. His father was an engineer, and his mother moved to the U.S. when he was 10. Faulhaber spoke no English at the time. He later earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering design from Carnegie Mellon University.
After joining the company founded by his parents, Faulhaber’s leadership helped turn it into a multinational enterprise. Its products can now be found in industrial robots, laboratory equipment, implantable heart-assistance pumps, and engine controls for rockets used in space exploration.
In 1981, Faulhaber became president of Clearwater-based MICROMO, and in 1985, he became a partner in Schonaich-based Dr. Fritz Faulhaber GmbH. FAULHABER Group has 17 facilities and 1,700 employees worldwide.
Lively and curious
Fritz Faulhaber was not only hard-working and a brilliant mathematician and engineer, but he was also curious about gadgets and had a “clever sense of humor,” according to a MICROMO press release. He earned a license to pilot a helicopter at 65 and flew across the country with his teenage son, one of five children.
“Faulhaber drove a Tesla,” reported the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. “He rode an electric bike and flew drones. He loved Mozart, the Beatles, and the old ‘Monty Python’ comedy series.”
“He collected antique musical instruments and laboratory equipment,” the newspaper said. “He had not one but two laboratories in his house — one upstairs and one downstairs.”
Faulhaber had a gift for explaining complex technology simply and sharing his enthusiasm. He was so charming that he was welcomed during a tour of European offices “like a rock star,” said Pam Mooney, former CEO of Industries Training Corp.
Fritz Faulhaber’s STEM legacy
STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education was a particular interest of Fritz Faulhaber, who compassionately worked to nurture interest in local youth to transform society. He and his wife Ping launched the Suncoast Science Center, a nonprofit that works with multiple museums and instructs educators on how to lead science projects at Title 1 eleementary and high schools throughout the Tampa Bay area.
The 10,000-sq.-ft. Suncoast Science Center includes a lending library and the Faulhaber FabLab to provide hands-on STEM education. It includes 3D printers, CNC (computer numerical control) routers and mills, and laser cutters.
The center also hosts robotics and science competitions, workshops, and an annual remote-control car building contest and race.
The science center will host a public celebration of Fritz Faulhaber’s life on Sunday, March 19, at 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, Faulhaber’s family has asked that donations be made to the Suncoast Science Center.[note style=”success” show_icon=”true”]