I was recently privileged enough to be invited to one of our very best manufacturer’s 100th anniversary of being in business. Cashco, who manufactures an excellent line of regulators and control valves, is located in Ellsworth, Kansas. The company’s history dates back to the days of A. W. Cash and has taken several turns over the course of 100 years. I won’t go through the several acquisitions or companies that owned or sold Cashco over the years but I do want to focus on the company’s current management and how they found themselves owning this American Heartland enterprise.
Back in 1984 Cashco found itself owned by Ashland Oil who planned to sell Cashco to a company that planned to close the plant in Ellsworth, Kansas. A concerted effort from Cashco management, Ellsworth community leaders and the Kansas congressional delegation, (primarily Senator Bob Dole), convinced Ashland to instead sell Cashco to a group of investors headed by Phillip Rogers on May 6th, 1985. Some of these investors were also Cashco manufacturers’ representatives. Ponton Industries became Cashco’s Southern California representative in 1986.
Cashco’s management has lead the company to significant growth, international exposure and solid financial security that also included several acquisitions along the way. The company’s day-to-day business is now run by Clint Rogers who is General Manager. As you may have guessed, he’s related to Phil. Clint is Phil’s son.
I came to know Clint when he was given the title of West Coast Regional Sales Manager. I was all of 30 years old when I first met Clint. Clint was just 20! By far the youngest RSM we’ve ever had. While extremely green, Clint brought a wealth of product knowledge with him and a level of enthusiasm that was infectious. He has sense gone on to hold several key positions at Cashco that has given him the skill set to run the company as a second generation leader.
The 100th anniversary party typified what Cashco and its employees are all about. A hard working, gracious, team orientated, community focused, proud of their company organization. From pitching the tent in the park for a great barbeque, inviting all the families to go to the drive-in afterward, cleaning the production area to near spotless perfection, and manning their work areas to describe to all of the community who came to the factory tour what they made, how they made it and where their products are used was truly inspiring.
At the anniversary banquet Cashco’s management took the time to introduce every single one of their 160 or so employees. Recognizing their contribution to the company and how long they had worked there. Every employee was given a gift and many received some pretty special gifts via a drawing that kept things lively. All-in-all a real special day for the company and their employees.
I’m grateful to have been invited and was able to attend but my biggest takeaways are these:
1) Phil and his team took the risk to be entrepreneurial and venture out on their own for the benefit of their families and community.
2) They work very hard as a team and take pride in what they’ve each accomplished.
3) They’ve managed the change from one generation to another. I know from experience there are many challenges that go along with accomplishing this transition.
4) Cashco represents what is good about America, our citizens and our core values.
As most of you may know Ponton Industries is also a multigenerational company started by my father, Tom Ponton, in 1970. I’m proud of the company we’ve become and hope we emulate the values and success Cashco has experienced.
Thank you to our wonderful manufacturers and valued customers for trusting us with your products and business.
Martin H. Ponton