REDwire The man behind Ken Forging

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Richard A. Kovach founded Ken Forging 46 years ago.

Richard A. Kovach started Ken Forging with two things — a die cutting machine and a vision. Today, his company is a leading manufacturer in the U.S. forging industry, celebrating 46 years in business. 

Though this success has not been without challenges, the company persevered because of the core values it was built upon — integrity and trust. And that’s thanks to Kovach, his long-term vision, and the team he built to help carry out this vision.

A slow and steady journey
 
Kovach started the company in a 20-foot by 20-foot garage in Cleveland, Ohio in 1970. Back then, the company was known as Ken Tool & Die, and it consisted of Kovach, a garage and a die cutting machine, which he used to make dies for other companies. But it wasn’t long before he outgrew the garage and moved into a 2,000-square-foot facility in Cleveland. Within two years, business had grown steadily enough that he was able to hire two part-time employees, and he needed more room to expand. That’s when he purchased 21 acres of land in a quiet wooded area 50 miles northeast of Cleveland in a town called Jefferson. It was complete with a pond, ducks, geese and wildlife, and the perfect location to build his new facility. With that move, Kovach finally had the space to really build the company and take it in a new direction.  

He saw an opportunity. Instead of sinking dies for other companies to make eye bolts and rod ends, why not manufacture his own line of products? And so he changed the emphasis of his company to the forging of fasteners, and changed the company name to Ken Forging to reflect this new direction. 

It wasn’t an easy transition. One of his long-time employees referred to it as a “venture, as well as an adventure.” But he had a vision and a passion to do the work he loved, which helped him persevere.

As the years went on, more employees were added, more machines were purchased, and the building expanded — a total of 20 additions have been added to the original building, which is now 320,000 square feet. Today, Ken Forging employs more than 130 people, and offers a wide selection of superior quality drop-forged industrial hardware, including custom forgings up to 250 pounds. 

A company built on values

The key to Ken Forging’s success has been the trust that Kovach has built with his customers since the beginning. This trust is based on the company’s commitment to deliver superior service and quality — two things the family owned company is known for. 

But it goes beyond the customers. You can’t build a successful business without a strong team behind you — one that believes in the vision and is equally committed to carrying it out. Kovach has earned a reputation for making employees feel valued, and treating them like family, and so they work hard every day to support his vision.  

This vision, 46 years in the making, is now a reality. He has built a successful business, and provided employment opportunities for local workers who are now more like family to him.

From that dream in a garage, Rich Kovach has forged a reality.

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