Remaking of Gar Kenyon
When Steven A. Fournier acquired Gar Kenyon Technologies in 2003, he saw both problems and potential. Gar Kenyon’s president and chief executive officer sees a bright future for the Naugatuck-based producer of high quality engineered aircraft hydraulic and pneumatic components.
That, however, has not always been the case. Formerly based in New Haven, Gar Kenyon was purchased by Matthews Ventures Holdings in the mid-1990s. Fournier, a certified public accountant acquired both Gar Kenyon and its present home, the 44,000-square-foot former Lewis Engineering building in Naugatuck.
“I saw an opportunity with Gar Kenyon to bring what I felt was a company with a lot of potential to the next level,” says Fournier. “Gar Kenyon was a company with a tremendous product line that had been neglected over the years and had grown somewhat stagnant while operating under the New Haven Manufacturing umbrella.” Fournier, an instrument rated private pilot and avid aviation enthusiast, believed that Gar Kenyon was a perfect fit to blend his passion for aviation with a business opportunity with boundless potential.
Wasting no time, Fournier immediately began meeting with Gar Kenyon customers, explaining his company’s new approach. True to his word, Fournier followed that with a complete restructuring of the way Gar Kenyon does business. Fournier, whose true passion is to design and develop new products, set the company on a course to become a world-class design house.
Instituting lean practices and techniques took the waste out of the manufacturing process while simultaneously reducing cost and improving quality and productivity. At the same time, Fournier created a top-notch human resources department charged with recruiting and retaining talented engineering and manufacturing personnel.
“We have made a serious commitment to engineering operational excellence,” Fournier says. “We also have made an equal commitment to getting the right people on the bus.”
This winning combination has created a new customer-oriented culture at Gar Kenyon.
“We’re passionate about our people, our products and the way we go the extra mile for our customers,” says Fournier. “Our customers receive prompt, courteous service. We have people in place with the ability and imagination to provide solutions to our customers’ problems. This is where we add the most value.”
Speaking of value, Gar Kenyon’s revenues have increased by more than 60 percent since Fournier took the helm, and he believes the company can more than double its revenue and increase it’s work force by at least 50 percent over the next five years. In 2010, Gar Kenyon also was named Manufacturer of the Year by the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce.
Just like the aircraft it builds hydraulic and pneumatic components for, it appears the sky’s the limit for Gar Kenyon.