2013 Innovation Awards – Master Innovator – Fairmount Minerals

Steve Schilling, Team leader

Cole Nuyen, Co-leader

Fairmount Minerals Business Innovation Team


It’s easy to talk about innovation, and many businesses use the word and think that’s enough to demonstrate that their company is on the leading edge of new ideas. That’s never been the case at Fairmount Minerals and nowhere is that more evident than with the company’s Business Innovation Team.

Launched in 2008, the Business Innovation Team charged itself with designing and implementing an innovation program for Fairmount, including an innovation center concept and a process for innovation input from all facilities.

Led by Steve Schilling and Cole Nuyen, the result is a thriving program that is constantly flowing with new ideas to make Fairmount Minerals a better and stronger business. Communication portals were developed to allow ideas to be submitted and considered.

It’s a rigorous seven-step process to give the idea the best chance of succeeding. The seven steps are concept, feasibility, business case, development, testing and validation, implementation and launch.

An idea management subteam assigns roles and responsibilities for managing this process and facilitates conversations needed to keep an idea moving.

In 2012, the Fairmount family contributed 51 innovative ideas and generated more than $58,000 in cost savings.

One of the innovative ideas was for an alternative mixing paddle developed by a team at the Technisand Troy Grove facility in Troy Grove, Ill. It is made of better quality material, costs less and reduces the downtime needed for paddle repair. The product is already paying dividends at several Fairmount facilities.


How to reach: Fairmount Minerals, (440) 279-0245 or www.fairmountminerals.com