More than 100 gather to commemorate the milestone.
With the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop and bright blue skies overhead, about 100 folks gathered on a Sunday in late April to celebrate Parameter Generation & Control’s 40th anniversary. Current and former employees and their family members, as well as customers and company reps, came together in Black Mountain, North Carolina where it all began in 1977, to fete the maker of precise humidity and temperature control systems.
Old friends and co-workers reminisced as they looked through photographs showing off some of the company’s rich history. Music and laughter filled the air, and some folks even got in a little bit of fishing.
Clay Hile, Parameter’s president, reflected on his father Jack Hile’s foresight and initiative in creating the company with his son Ross. “I’m so proud of my dad and my brother for building this legacy and ultimately bringing all these people together,” Hile said. “In our 40 years, Parameter has become internationally respected for our innovation, technical expertise, and unsurpassed customer service. Our wonderful employees have made that possible.”
How It All Began
Jack Hile saw the need to provide equipment for scientists and engineers whose research, testing, or quality control required very specific environmental simulation and control, and his position in the industry uniquely qualified him to fill that need.
The elder Hile began his career as a mechanical engineer, and in the mid-1960s, he joined American Instrument Company (AMINCO), selling several lines of their laboratory equipment, including the product Parameter now produces. AMINCO eventually was purchased by Baxter Laboratories, and Baxter primarily focused on producing and selling the company’s medical-related products. Its industrial technology mostly sat dormant. Because Hile remained active with industrial sales clients, he realized there remained a viable market for the humidity and temperature conditioning systems AMINCO had developed.
Hile and his son, Ross, capitalized on this opportunity by purchasing the manufacturing rights, spare parts and drawings for the AMINCO product from Baxter. With that, Parameter Generation & Control was born in Black Mountain. The first pieces of equipment Parameter produced were three, 9-cubic-feet chambers for Bell Labs, GE and DuPont.
The Tradition Continues
Since then, the company has expanded greatly on its original concept and developed an array of products and services for customers. The success and growth of the company has led to several expansions over the years, first in 1984, then again in the late 1990s. A new building dedicated for testing was added to the company around 2013. Parameter also maintains a full-service installation and preventive maintenance group and a validation department to better serve clients. In 2017, Parameter expanded its marketing and distribution channels by launching Parameter EU, a subsidiary designed to serve Eastern Europe and its rapidly expanding pharmaceutical industry.
Today Parameter’s products are sold in more than 50 countries around the world in industries that include pharmaceuticals, semi-conductors, electronics, packaging, textiles, tobacco and preservation. The company offers products and services that include:
- A full line of precise temperature and humidity chambers and rooms, environmental chambers, conditioning systems and stability chambers, innovated and manufactured by Parameter.
- State-of-the-art, off-premise contract stability storage rooms and chambers through a strategic alliance partnership with Precision Stability Storage.
- Complete laboratory, equipment and facility validation services.
As Clay Hile explains, “We have always focused on building the best, most reliable humidity temperature conditioners and chambers on the market and on providing the best in customer service.”
All In the Family
Throughout its 40 years, Parameter has remained a family-owned and family-operated business. “For many years, the company has been run by my brother, Ross, and me, plus two other brothers, Barry and Randy Wilson,” Hile said. That family atmosphere seeps into the company culture, too. According to Hile, several of the company’s employees have been there for more than 30 years.
Hile says new leadership is emerging to keep the company growing and moving forward. “No matter what,” Hile said, “I know we’ll always focus on providing the most reliable, precise and efficient temperature and humidity control equipment. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Parameter.”