Ken-Tron's 50th Anniversary
Ken-tron Mfg., Inc., located at 610 Industrial Drive, Owensboro, Kentucky is celebrating its 50 year anniversary this month!
In June 1960 a small wire company named Erskine Precision Wire located in Emporium PA moved to Owensboro and changed its name to Kentucky Electronics (KE). There were 13 employees and the only product was grid wire for receiving tubes. The major customer was General Electric located in Owensboro. The first plant was located at 2208 West Second Street. The first years were a major struggle, Jay Johnson the President had formerly owned a metal stamping company in New York called Johnson & Hoffman and in 1961 KE added a stamping operation.
Cash was in short supply and the monthly losses continued to pile up. In 1962 Texas Gas Transmission bought controlling interest in KE and they supplied the capital needed for expansion. Color television sales began to explode in 1966 and KE reached peak employment of 600 people during that year and we had six locations in Owensboro.
Transistors replaced receiving tubes and over capacity plus foreign competition stopped the growth of KE in 1967. In 1973 Texas Gas sold KE to Ken Best Sr.. During the period 1973 to 1983 KE began doing assembly work for IBM and opened two plants in Portland, TN.
In 1983 the KE Owensboro plant was sold to myself and Bill Cundiff and a new corporation was formed, Ken-tron Mfg., Inc. Bill Cundiff’s stock was purchased in 2001 and I became the sole stockholder.
We have survived for 50 years in spite of complete product changes, major customers going out of business, business moving offshore, health and other insurance cost explosions and many factors that are obstacles to success.
Today Ken-tron Mfg., Inc. supplies parts & wire to many different industries in the Unites States as well as the world. Industries served are Aerospace, Medical, Automotive, Music, Electronics and Military just to name a few.
Ken-tron Mfg., Inc. would like to thank those that have made our longevity possible, our customers and employees!!!!!
In June 1960 I was hired by Kentucky Electronics. I was 23 years old and was looking for a summer job to help me finish college, the summer job has lasted 50 years...
Bob Hudson, President