Legacy of our Founder

Hugh Duncan Sr. is seen in the bottom right, looking over contracts.

Hugh Monroe Duncan Sr. was the inspirational leader of Southern Precision Spring for over 4 decades. His beginnings are a true testament of how the past shapes your successes in the future. As a young man, Hugh served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and attended North Carolina State University where he earned his BS degree in Industrial Engineering in 1955. He held sales and management positions for Industrial Piping, Pneumafil Corp., and the Luwa Corp. He realized in the early 1960’s that his goal was to manage a manufacturing facility in the South--which at the time was mostly dominated by farming and textiles.

Southern Precision Spring in 1964 had lost their current leader, Otto Laskowski, to an early death. Laskowski’s widow, and four independent investors owned a company that was in deep financial trouble. Hugh, who knew next to nothing about spring production but a great deal about manufacturing, took a risk that would change his life. He sold most of his assets, borrowed money; and at the next stockholders meeting presented checks for their holdings. On November 2nd 1964, Hugh walked into Southern Precision Spring for the first time as president. The first order of business was to establish a costing method, which was the reason SPS was previously in bad shape. His reports found that one customer, who accounted for 35% of the company’s total sales, was getting a heck of a deal. Raw material accounted for 90% of the sales price so obviously the part needed to be re-quoted. The company immediately turned profitable in the first year! His leadership and work ethic transformed an unsuccessful machine shop into a state of the art manufacturing facility in the coming years

Hugh Duncan’s persistence, innovation, and enthusiasm created a culture at Southern Precision Spring that has been successful for many years. Moreover, Hugh’s commitment to investments in machine technology and lean manufacturing principles gave SPS a competitive edge on the spring industry. SPS continues its family culture and will forever be grateful for the opportunities given to them by a man that had a vision and successfully conquered his dreams.

In 1997 he established the first fully endowed professorship for NC State’s college of Engineering, the Dean F. Duncan Professorship in Mechanical engineering, in honor of his father. Hugh also gifted a merit scholarship for undergraduates in industrial and systems engineering. Since 2000 this scholarship has benefited 13 deserving students that share his passion for industrial Engineering.

“A man can succeed in just about anything in which he has unlimited enthusiasm.”