Without a brain, you'd be a real mess. Well, if governors are the brains of engines and turbines, then Woodward Governor (NASDAQ:WGOV) makes the gray matter of the machines that propel our industries. It develops components necessary for efficient transportation and electrical generation, and it's still churning out profits even in a weak economy.

Thanks to its acquisition of MPC Industries, quarterly sales grew by 27% from last year. But even without the acquisition, Woodward's core business revenue grew 7%, with earnings up $0.03 to $0.39 per share.

Although the pace of its growth has slowed from past quarters, Woodward is showing strength even in a struggling economy. Management expects the company to earn between $1.65 and $1.90 for the full year, compared to $1.75 last year. And despite a weak macro environment, its aerospace segment is still in decent shape. Boeing's (NYSE:BA) 777, 787, and 747-8 aircraft all employ Woodward's systems, and the company has substantial backlog order volume from both Boeing and Airbus.

In addition, Woodward's industrial turbine systems sold well due to overseas power generation projects. During the quarter, United Technologies (NYSE:UTX) recognized it as an outstanding supplier, which provided Woodward with a good referral to generate additional business.

A happier future?
Although the credit crunch is taking its toll now, I think that because Woodward's components for electrical power systems as well as wind and steam turbines are widely used in renewable energy projects, the company will almost undoubtedly benefit from clean energy spending in the future.

The market seems to concur. Following the earnings release, Woodward's shares jumped 20% before falling back. With a client list that reads like a book of who's who in blue-chip industrials, Woodward is worth a close look. Even though it's strong enough on its own, my gut tells me that with its connections -- Woodward already sells directly to the U.S. government -- a good chunk of any eventual stimulus package will eventually find its way into Woodward's coffers, one way or another.

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Fool contributor Chris Jones has neither long nor short positions involving any company mentioned in this article.Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy takes unnecessarily long showers every morning and uses all of the hot water.