Industry News

Theodore W. Selby of the Savant Group – Obituary

Savant Group have announced, with profound sadness, the passing of Theodore (Ted) W. Selby, founder of the Savant Group, a Midland, Michigan, USA-based consortium of companies operating in the lubricant industry. Talented and respected in equal measure, Ted’s passing leaves the lubricant industry in mourning. Ted died peacefully at age 93 surrounded by family on March 25th, 2022, in Midland, Michigan.

As a pillar in the industry, Ted’s career spanned over six decades. While pursuing his Doctorate Degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Detroit in the 1950s, Ted found his technical calling as a research scientist in the Lubricants Department at General Motors, where he was honored in receiving both the Russell S. Springer and Henry Ford Memorial Awards from the Society of Automotive Engineers, the first time these two awards were presented to the same person. In 1963, Ted moved to The Dow Chemical Company in Midland to assist with the expansion of its automotive lubrication capabilities. Ever the entrepreneur, Ted made a tough decision in 1969 to leave a good job at Dow Chemical to pursue his passion for problem-solving in the field of lubrication, and the consulting firm, Savant, was born. With nine children at home at the time, the move was not without considerable risk. However, Ted embraced the ideal that the greatest achievements are usually the hardest and those obtained quickly and easily are soon forgotten. Today, that one-man consulting firm has grown into a globally recognized laboratory and research center.

Ted’s problem-solving mindset and creative thinking, coupled with his technical background, sparked the formation of Tannas Company in 1981, a manufacturer of advanced laboratory testing instruments used by companies around the world for analyzing the properties of fluids. Two years later, in 1983, the Institute of Materials (IOM) was formed with the mission of providing unbiased technical information to the lubricant industry. King Refrigeration was purchased in 1996 to expand Tannas’ line of laboratory instruments. Recently, two precision machining shops were purchased, Excell Manufacturing in 2019 and BGT Aerospace in 2021, to support instrument development and manufacturing.

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