Don Percival

Don founded Machinery Electrification (subsequently MEKontrol, Inc.) in 1948 in the basement of his home and actively participated in its growth until his death in 1980. ME initially specialized in designing control systems for machine tools. Over the years, he expanded the offerings to electrical control equipment for all types of industrial machinery and processes including identification subsystems that used photoelectrics and unique identification devices to track and control product flow through manufacturing operations and warehouses.

Don attended the University of Michigan, working in the automotive industry in quality control, production planning, plant layout and related areas throughout his university years. Upon graduation, he joined the test and sales programs at General Electric where he designed custom machine tool control equipment. He moved from GE to become the chief electrical engineer for the Machine Tool Division of the Norton Company in Worcester, MA before leaving to launch Machinery Electrification a couple of years later.
Don was the recipient of many industry awards, including several patents and the Society for Advancement of Management’s prestigious “Progress of New England” honor. He was a member and officer of a number of professional and civic organizations, served on the Board of Trustees of Central New England College and distinguished himself as an avid, nationally ranked tennis player and devoted family man.

In 1971, Don co-founded the Automatic Identification Manufacturers’ (AIM) Product Section of the Material Handling Institute (MHI). He became the first chairman of the group in 1972, serving in that role and as a member of MHI’s Board of Directors through 1973. Don’s leadership and vision laid the foundation for AIM’s growth and, with it, the growth of the entire industry. Indeed, the annual Percival Award that is given to an individual or organization from the user community to recognize outstanding AIDC (Automatic Identification & Data Capture) contributions was established by the industry in his honor in 1982.