Washkewicz started at Parker Hannifin back in 1972 in the grease pit, changing defective hoses on trucks. It was the middle of a recession, and the recent engineering graduate, a Cleveland boy, was happy just to have the job with the motion controls company in his hometown. He moved up quickly: One year in, Washkewicz was tapped to develop a line of thermoplastic products because no one else wanted the job. He went on to head the business division, then to manage the company's hydraulics group worldwide.
He's never had a job at Parker he didn't like—including the top spot, which he took over in 2000. Washkewicz says his firm grip on Parker's business and culture have been good for the company—too many times, he says he has seen "outside hires come in and ruin a company or a product line." And it's good for morale: "Our employees see anyone can get to the top. It sets an example for everyone."
Wal-Mart retook the top spot, Berkshire Hathaway made the top five, and Apple grew enormously.