John Henry Foster Company – A Year in Review

Kicking off 80 years as a leading distributor of Industrial Compressed Air Systems and Robotics & Automation Solutions

John Henry Foster (JHF) began as a one-man business working out of an Airstream trailer back in 1938. Fast forward 80 years later – there are now over 110 employees (10 added in 2017) who operate out of a 30,700 square-foot facility headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota. Employees bring more than 1,000 years of trained experience through factory and in-house programs.

As an industry leader, JHF continuously pursues and demands excellence in products and services, innovation, safety, quality and company growth.

And 2017 was no different.

2017 Milestones


JHF’s goal was to offer the complete package when it came to industrial robotic automation. Offering even more specialized solutions for every industry and standing by their one-stop-shop reputation, their focus led them to expand vendor partnerships to now include three additional robotic lines (Kawasaki, Universal and Staubli) to their portfolio. Also added were robotic accessories including grippers, wrist cameras and force torque sensors.

In addition, JHF provides all the tools and training for their customers to DIY if they choose, or engineering design and installation for turn-key solutions assistance. They also offer Insights from the robots so users are aware of their robot’s performance anywhere, anytime. JHF has partnered with the best integrators in the industry to program and outfit each of their customer’s industrial robots.

To support their robotics goal, JHF also hosted two industrial robotic expos that allowed attendees to mingle with subject matter experts and also get an in-depth look at how robotic automation works with live demonstrations. 12 more expos are slated for 2018.


Safety standards have always been a huge part of John Henry Foster’s culture. Quarterly, the Safety Team sets a certain amount of “no accidents” goal and again this year, they earned the award for Work Place Safety. Because their Service Technicians and Warehouse teams have made safety a priority, they completed all four quarters with great success earning a MOD rate of .71!










JHF is known for their generous community support and continues to lead as a light in the community. A few ways John Henry Foster gave back this year:

  1. Became an annual partner with two local food shelves: The Open Door ($10,000) and Fruit of the Vine ($5,000)
  2. Hosted several food drives throughout the year
  3. Adopted two families with four children this holiday season (9th year in a row with the adoption program)
  4. Adopted a road with road side clean up 3x a year
  5. Built a Water Well in India
  6. Held a Motorcycle Run to support local food shelf
  7. Held two blood donations for the Red Cross

Jan Hawkins, President and COO of John Henry Foster value’s JHF’s annual partnership program with the local food shelves. “We elected to partner with the Open Door and Fruit of the Vine as a way to make a difference in our local community.  Both places assist thousands of local individuals each month including working families who can’t make ends meet, single moms, seniors and the disabled.  In addition, they provide Family Advocacy and Community resource referrals that link families to social service agencies.  For example, The Open Door Pantry is a fresh approach to ending local hunger through access to healthy food through donations and 200 community garden plots that assist families in growing the food their family needs.”

Around 1800 children receive food each month from The Open Door and with John Henry Foster’s help, they’re hoping to increase these numbers.

“Whether we donate money or time, giving back is beneficial – and not just for the recipients.  The old adage, “it’s better to give than to receive” is what we live by at John Henry Foster.  We believe that if each one, reaches one, we can make a difference in our local community and around the world,” says Hawkins.














JHF reached a significant sales milestone closing out 2017 with 80/20, Inc. announcing JHF as one of their top partners.  They were 11th in total 80/20, Inc. sales, 4th in Builds assembly service orders and achieved a growth of almost 10 percent from previous year’s sales making 2017 their top sales year-to-date.








JHF welcomed and embraced several software initiatives launched in 2017.  These will allow for better security, improved overall customer relationship management, ease of use with their website and storefront, improved communications with customers, and a more efficient expense management system with enhancements for even better service. 


John Henry Foster is committed to providing innovative and quality products and services as they have throughout the past 80 years. The Company’s core values – Integrity, Sustainability, Passion for Excellence, Relationship Building and Ease of Conducting Business with – lead the day-to-day operations of employees and management alike. They celebrate their 80th year honoring the people and organizations who have helped them get to where they are today.

As a leading provider of premium quality compressed air and automation solutions since 1938, John Henry Foster delivers customized automation products and design-to-build solutions to clients in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota and northern Iowa. Our talented and innovative employees serve customers in virtually every industry that utilizes motion control technology and power generation.

For updates and other information about John Henry Foster, visit our website, Like us on Facebook or follow JohnHenryFoster on Twitter.

Contact Us

651-452-8452 | 800-582-5162


Signup to our newsletter below