20 Minutes With Brian Humphrey

Rachel Fowler, Managing Editor | TLT 20 Minutes November 2017

This 30-year industry veteran discusses changes in the lubricants business and the importance of being a jack of all trades.

With a career spanning more than 30 years, Brian Humphrey has extensive experience in the lubricants, engineering and performance-testing fields. He has held many roles with companies such as Pioneer Solutions LLC, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Lubrizol and Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc. His roles have included performance testing engineer, technical project leader, senior systems design engineer, engineering supervisor, research manager and OEM technical account manager. Currently he is OEM technical liaison-HD driveline for Petro-Canada Lubricants Inc.

He has participated in many industry technical groups over the years including API, SAE and ASTM specifications research and development projects. Humphrey has established key partnerships with many OEMs and universities.

Humphrey holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and resides in Mentor, Ohio.

Brian Humphrey

TLT: You’ve held many roles, but which one has been your most challenging?
Humphrey: People management was always the most challenging for me. Technology for the most part behaves in a consistent and mostly known manner.

TLT: What do you see as the most exciting developments happening right now?
Humphrey: Alternative powertrain systems with energy capture and redeployment are dramatically reducing fuel consumption for personal and commercial vehicles/machines. Also the progress in recent years toward autonomous driving has been astonishing. Much of this progress is due to incredible advances in sensors and onboard computing power at relatively low cost.

TLT: How has the evolution and growth of Group II, III and IV base stocks affected drivetrain lubricants?
Humphrey: These advances have reduced the tradeoffs on the areas of volatility and viscosity for lubricant blends. Plus the increase in volume has lowered the market prices making higher-quality fluids much more affordable for end-users. These base stocks have enabled significant boosts in fuel economy for all units of end-user fleets.

Brian Humphrey admiring an older large haul truck.

TLT: What are you are working on now or interested in?
Humphrey: I’m working on the rollout for the new API HD engine oil categories CK-4 and FA-4 at Petro-Canada Lubricants and the industry. I have contributed to our marketing efforts to seed industry publications with consumer education information about how these new oils are different and how to utilize them successfully.

TLT: What advice would you give someone entering the lubricants field?
Humphrey: Be open to taking varying assignments in areas away from what you are familiar. Look at it as an opportunity to learn new skills and become knowledgeable in multiple fields, which makes you more valuable in the long run.

You can reach Brian Humphrey at brian.humphrey@petrocanadalsp.com.