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DAA: David A. Dull

David A. Dull

Lafayette, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1994

Mr. Dull is President and Chief Executive Officer of Fluidrive, Inc., an Indiana-based advanced technology firm. Fluidrive created the market for powered rear-wheel systems on self-propelled grain combines and related construction and industrial equipment. His innovative engineering and skillful management have been key ingredients to the company’s success. His design excellence was recognized by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers in 1990 when he received the Young Designer Award. Fluidrive started in 1970 under the name Mud-Hog, Inc., with an idea for an entirely new product to fill a need. That idea was replacement of the steering wheels on combines with a completely re-engineered, hydraulically powered wheel-set. Mr. Dull was instrumental in the design and development of the Mud-Hog Rear Wheel Drive System that was targeted initially for rice farmers on heavy soils in the southern United States. It was instantly successful for its intended purpose and was soon in demand by farmers in the Midwest. Retrofitting combines with the hydraulic systems permitted harvesting under a much wider range of soil conditions. The new drive system became a factory installation option on International Harvester self-propelled combines in 1979. Mr. Dull, as Manager of the Engineering Department of Mud-Hog, Inc., from 1984 to 1987, directed an expansion of the company’s product line with the development of a patented front-wheel drive system for Champion motor graders. In 1991, Mud-Hog underwent a management buy-out and reorganized under the name Fluidrive. As President, Mr. Dull further broadened the total corporate product line with the addition of the Granning Division, a manufacturer of air suspension components for trucks, trailers motorhomes, ambulances, shuttle buses, and other specialty vehicles. He also added Central Power Products (CPP), a division of Fluidrive that distributes air filtration and hydraulic products. Company sales have grown by more than 20 percent since he assumed company leadership in 1991. Today, Fluidrive is a $25 million a year operation employing more than 100 people.