“It’s hard to describe how fun this is,” said the 53-year-old head of Club Car, headquartered in Evans.
Dufour came to the helm of Club Car in August, succeeding Gary Michel, who is now the senior vice president of Ingersoll Rand’s residential solutions sector.
Before coming to Augusta, Dufour was the president of Ingersoll Rand’s Americas region of the industrial technologies sector, which includes brands such as ARO Fluid Products and GHH Rand rotary screw compressors.
He also has served as president of Ingersoll Rand’s global air solutions business, a sector manufacturing air compressors, air dryers and maintenance products for those systems.
Ingersoll Rand has always been a great company to work for, he said, but the chance to run Club Car was a special bonus.
“When I got the chance, I jumped at it,” he said.
Dufour has spent his entire 30-year career with Ingersoll Rand, a company he says he respects because of the innovation and high market performance seen throughout the many brands. Club Car is a leader within that family as the world’s largest manufacturer of small-wheel, zero-emission electric vehicles.
Club Car is no longer just a golf car company, he said, but an electric vehicle manufacturer. Club Car must invest resources to explore clean energy solutions, building on its tradition of innovation to bring electric transportation to developing markets in Asia and Europe. Distribution in densely populated countries such as India is on the rise, and Dufour looks to increase that further.
“The need to move people and materials in dense global markets continues to present great growth opportunity,” he said. “As we look to the future, that’s where we’re headed."
While broadening the company's scope is important and exciting, Dufour has no intention of Club Car easing up on its involvement and presence in the golf industry.
“People really identify with Club Car as the premium brand within the business,” he said. “Our roots are in golf; it’s who we are.”
Golf is what he calls a “big small” industry, one that serves a lot of people with only a few brand names. That makes for a sort of small-town feel, where news – good and bad – travels fast. Producing superior products and keeping his customers happy are some of his highest priorities.
“If you make mistakes, word gets around,” he said.
Dufour is a strong advocate for giving young engineers the chance to begin lifelong careers fresh out of college. Infusing the company with young perspectives is important for survival, he believes.
“It’s vital for us to have a good mix of deeply invested people and new, fresh ideas,” he said.
Dufour said he strives to be an engaged leader and is always looking for ways to be even more connected and in tune with what is going on throughout the company. He hopes all of his employees see the company as a project in which they can take ownership.
“Our jobs are all important, we just have different responsibilities,” he said. “It’s not my business and it’s not any of my staff’s business. It’s all of our business.”