This blog post is part of a regular series called Staff Spotlight where we highlight the vast experience and skills of the LeBlond Ltd. staff that give the company a record of exceptional customer service unlike any other firm in the machine tool industry.
Previous Posts: Manager DeWitt Engle
Customer Service Representative John Cook
He’s got it in his veins. Ken Smith bleeds LeBlond red.
The Buyer from LeBlond Ltd. is from a family that has nearly 120 years working for the company just within three generations of his grandfather, father and himself.
Smith started working for LeBlond straight out of high school in 1975. He eventually worked in the assembly department at LeBlond that made a policy of hiring family. He had many great uncles at the machine tool manufacturer. His grandfather and father put in a combined 90 years as machine operators.
“My family all pretty much worked for LeBlond back in the day,” said Smith. “There was a lot of families here in Cincinnati and across the country that had generational workers in them.”
Smith recalls that some days he liked working alongside family, other days not. But the experience always kept him humble.
“For many years, I worked the same time as my dad,” Smith recalls. “When I was young and dumb, he was the one who kept me in line. He showed me the ropes.”
Smith learned discipline from being a multi-generational worker at the company that employed as many as 1200 people across the country in the mid-1970’s.
“I think the thing that it did for me was allow me to understand the importance of going in every day, doing your job to the best of your ability and getting paid every Friday,” he explained.
Smith left the machine tool industry in 1986 and returned some eight years later to work in the stockroom at Makino. He started doing rebuilds and eventually moved up to the parts department. He joined LeBlond Ltd. nearly 13 years ago as a Buyer.
In this role, Smith buys all the parts that the company resells. His broad expertise and experience has allowed him to think like an engineer.
“I’m not an engineer by trade, but I have enough understanding and knowledge to get me pointed in the right direction,” he says.
With his assembly and rebuild experience as well as knowing what things look like from pulling them off stockroom shelves for years, Smith has the unique skill set to comb the web and source out the right vendors for LeBlond Ltd. He understands assemblies, tolerances and how to read prints. He can source out electrical components from a decades-old machine and know what current parts will still work in it.
Smith cites LeBlond’s reputation for quality as the company’s single biggest selling point. He’s had decades of experience to witness this and life times more within the working lives of his family members who came before him at the venerable machine tool company.
If you are interested in new LeBlond or K.O. Lee machines or require original OEM parts for your LeBlond, K.O. Lee, Standard Modern, Johnson Press, Deka Drill and W.F. & John Barnes equipment, call LeBlond Ltd. at (888) 532-5663.