REDwire An entrepreneur is born: The story behind Ken Forging

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Richard Kovach founded Ken Forging back in 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ken Forging is widely recognized as a leading manufacturer of drop-forged industrial hardware. The company was founded by Richard A. Kovach back in 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio. But what many don’t know is that the seed for Ken Forging was planted long before Kovach launched the company out of his garage 46 years ago. 

The early years

It all began with a paper route when Kovach was not even six years old. His older sister delivered papers to 25 families in their neighbourhood, and needed help. Sunday papers had to be assembled, which was a time-consuming task, so she enlisted the help of her little brother to split the work. Two years later, his sister gave up the paper route, but he wanted to keep it. Times were tough, and everything he earned he wanted to share with his parents to help with necessities. They agreed, as long as it didn’t interfere with school. So he was up early each morning to deliver papers before school started. By the time he was 10, he started saving the money he earned for himself.

Over the years, the paper route grew and, by the time he was 16, he had 125 customers. Studies and sports required additional time, so he gave up his paper route, but not before he had enough money to buy a car. 

Looking back, he says that what the paper route taught him most was how to manage his money. 

A seed is planted

Kovach always had a strong work ethic, working several jobs to save money. During his summers he worked local construction jobs, and on the railroads, and while in school he worked at the local gas station. 

One day, the owner of the local supermarket brought his Cadillac in for service. Kovach recalls the man watching him work on his car, but before he left, he said something that lit a fire in Kovach. He said, “Rich, the only way to get anywhere is to own your own business.”

It was at that moment Kovach knew what he wanted to do with his life.

"I didn't know what or where, but that became my dream," he recalls.

And that dream became a reality when, after serving in the military and then subsequently working as an apprentice for a local forging company, he went out on his own to launch Ken Forging in 1970. But that was just the beginning.

(To read what happens next, click here.)


Ken Forging

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