28 Feb Entrepreneurial Spirit in McPherson County
McPherson County is known for its strong industrial employers; however, did you know that many of our companies were started by local entrepreneurs? In order to showcase the intensity of the entrepreneurial spirit that exists here in McPherson County, we want to highlight a few businesses in this post whose founders put it all on the line to make their dreams a reality right here in McPherson!
#1 McPherson Concrete Products– If you want “Concrete proof” of McPherson County Entrepreneurship look to McPherson Concrete Products, one of the oldest industries in the county still in existence. Since 1911 it has grown from its original product of agricultural feed silos whose traditional diamond tops rise up all over the Kansas horizon and beyond. Now they’re experts at ready-mix concrete, pre-cast concrete culverts, pipe, feed bunks, agricultural feed and grain storage units, and other pre-cast specialized products. As equally remarkable is that ownership of the company has remained in the same family from its origin to the present. Having expanded its production to Wichita, and a satellite facility in Concordia, Ks., central administration is still in McPherson.
#2 Central States Marketing & Mfg. / Sage Composites. Why two #2’s? As a matter of fact, one McPherson entrepreneur started both companies and both are operating in the same facility. Central States Marketing & Mfg. is a custom plastic extrusion facility that offers a multitude of extrusion, fabrication, packaging, assembly & quality services designed to meet customer product requirements and new product development. Complementing these products, Sage Composites, as the name implies, specializes in wood composite custom profile accessories for the fence, deck, rail, window, siding, concrete and building industries. Plant(s) management is under two generations of family administration.
#3 Mid Kansas Machine, Inc. As the name implies, Mid Kansas Machine has offered machining service and has done so since 1977. Started by another local entrepreneur, it remains to this day in family ownership. Expanding its services over the years MKM offers a variety of services including CNC milling & turning, conventional machining, wire electrical discharge machining, grinding, welding & repair services. In addition, it is a support industry for McPherson’s plastics manufacturing, offering extrusion tooling reconditioning and repair, polishing, chroming and grinding. 40 years of success and still going strong!
#4 Central Plastics. This plastics extrusion company is somewhat of a Cinderella story; and boy did the glass slipper fit! As McPherson was just entering the plastics industry, 3 men who had never been in plastics manufacturing before, bought their first plastics extrusion line. As time passed, one of these pioneers, Chester Houghton, eventually purchased the interest of the other two. Since that time Central Plastics has been owned and expanded by the Houghton family. It is now introducing the 3rd generation of the family into the business. Central Plastics specializes in plastics product development, plastic fabrication, custom plastic profile extrusion, accessories for the vinyl window, siding & fence industries., and railing concrete and building industries. Over the years Central Plastics has grown and expanded multiple times; and has become a major player in the United States plastic industry.
#5 Engquist Tractor Service. Located in rural McPherson County, one of the most productive farming areas in Kansas, the name Engquist Tractor Service might at first conjure up images of agriculture. Somewhat so, but not directly. In 1980 Richard “Rick” Engquist started his business with 2 employees. The company grew to be a successful remanufacturer of heavy-duty, off-highway, diesel engines and components. The company now has 19 highly skilled machinists and other personnel who turn out and deliver various minutely specific replacement parts for not only farm tractors but huge off-road diesel equipment, particularly in the United States west of the Mississippi River. As the name implies, Engquist Tractor Service has remained in its original ownership for 27 years and has earned OSHA’s exclusive “Sharp Award”, recognized for its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, one of the first industries in Kansas to be so recognized.
McPherson County is appreciates its local entrepreneurs. The wages and stability their jobs create help their employees in McPherson County and the region prosper!