Nebraska Company Builds Innovation in Engineering; Control System Integration for Midwestern Manufacturer


Nebraska Company Builds Innovation in Engineering; Control System Integration for Midwestern Manufacturers

Lincoln-based Huffman Engineering recognized as NeMAC’s “spotlight company”

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016 (LINCOLN, NEB)—When Howard Huffman returned to his home state of Nebraska to work as an engineer in the 1980s, he never imagined playing a leading role in the production of a well-known over-the-counter medicine, or designing parts for America’s number one steel producer. Nearly 30 years later, his experience, visionary leadership and diverse set of skills continue to grow the Lincoln-based company that Huffman built from the ground up.



Huffman Engineering is the Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council’s latest spotlight company. The company, which specializes in control system integration, caters to Nebraska and Midwest businesses needing specialized project consulting.

By the time Huffman established Huffman Engineering in 1987, he’d already mastered the art of round-the-clock diversification in automated consulting. While obtaining his Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, he collaborated with Kellogg’s in Omaha on automation design, and later, worked independently on project design and programming during business hours. During the evenings, Huffman spent time building electrical control panels to provide yet another service to his clientele. Huffman’s ability to implement a business’s entire product installation process—from start to finish—became the core principle behind the creation of his company.

As Huffman’s clientele grew, he developed a concise method for creating project software, designing and assembling control process equipment, integrating programming, and providing post-installation measurement metrics for companies. Building long-term customer relationships helps Huffman’s employees understand their clients’ needs for continuous development in equipment and processing.

“Our company takes pride in our efforts to make our customers’ machines repeatable, consistent, and faster,” Huffman said. “We get to play with people’s toys and make them work, and our goal is to help the companies we serve become more efficient.”

Training Room

Training Room

Over the past decade, Huffman and his staff have developed customized engineering systems for specific clientele in targeted industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food, and utilities. This includes the company’s design and implementation of fluid bed dryers used to create beads inserted in Excedrin tablets, which control the air flow, temperature and solution during the beads’ manufacturing process.

Huffman’s effort to cater to industries across the Midwest is also a key factor in his ability to connect with Nebraska businesses. The company improved the continuous casting process for NuCor Steel’s Norfolk plant, which serves as a cooling system for molding steel.

“By doing business in our own backyard, we can be a regional player in manufacturing by providing unique services close to home,” Huffman said.

The company’s regional success also provides a platform for recruiting top talent from Nebraska and beyond. Huffman Engineering’s 31 employees consist of engineers with four-year degrees, as well as technicians who are often recruited from Southeast Community College’s Milford Campus. The business is also active in a co-op program with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the South Dakota School of Mines. Huffman also pointed out the importance of drawing in professionals who have moved away back home to Nebraska.

“People from Nebraska possess key fundamentals to make companies successful. They know how to work, they know how to think, and they are often a great catalyst for innovation,” Huffman said. “These things are all part of our company’s culture. By giving Nebraskans an opportunity to come back to work in our state, we can help build their careers by providing mentors and on-the-job training to help them succeed.”

Today, Huffman Engineering is the only company in Nebraska to earn Rockwell Automation’s “seal of approval” in process integration. As a supplier for Huffman-designed equipment, Rockwell recognizes companies with consistent and exceptional project success records. Additionally, Huffman Engineering is Nebraska’s only company certified by the Control System Integrator Association.

For more information, contact Whitney Bumgarner, Manufacturing Cluster Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Economic Development, , .

CONTACT Kate Ellingson at , or