AKS Cutting Systems, a subsidiary of Kiffer Industries, has announced that Dale Phillip, President and CEO, has retired effective May 31, 2017. Dale Phillip will remain chairman of the company’s board of directors until December 2017, at which time he will retire from the board and the company. Greg Phillip, Dale’s son and third generation family executive, and currently Vice President, has assumed the role of president and CEO as of June 1, 2017. Kent Phillip, Dale’s son, and currently Vice President, has assumed the role of COO alongside his brother.
Dale Phillip has been active in the company for over 52 years and the company’s President and CEO since 1975. He joined Kiffer Tool & Die (later Kiffer Industries) in 1965, from Proctor & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, as a young engineer, after graduating with a B.S. Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, in 1960. He was recruited to Kiffer by his father-in-law, Stanley Midnight, also an alumni from Case Western, and first generation family owner, who bought the company in 1964 and wanted Dale Phillip to run the family business. Dale and his wife moved back to Cleveland in 1965 and have been managing the company ever since.
The company, originally named Lions Tool & Die, was incorporated in Cleveland in 1912 and for over 100 years, has a “Tradition in Excellence” in manufacturing in the tool & die, automation, custom and precision machinery, robotic integration, and metalcutting industries. Phillip has directed the company throughout the years and was instrumental in developing its products, subsidiary companies, and brand names like AKS Cutting Systems, Bentec Benders and more. Today, AKS Cutting Systems is one of the only “Made in the USA” manufacturers which offers a range of CNC profile cutting machines including plasma cutting, oxy-fuel cutting, waterjet cutting and fiber laser cutting.
“I am so grateful to have spent over 50 years with this great company, working with these great people, and deeply honored to have worked with my family to have grown the company to what it is today,” said Dale. “As the family and business patriarch, I am especially honored to now have our fourth generation family member Chris Phillip (Greg’s son) involved with the family business.”
“I am very proud of so many of our employees who have been with us for so long and for what we have accomplished together during a lifetime of both successes and challenges,” he added.
“I believe 2017 is finally the right time for me to retire as the company has performed very well over the last few years and our products are well established in our industries. Having the next generation take over gives me great confidence, as they have been preparing for several years, and it is especially satisfying knowing we are well positioned for continued success. I plan to stay involved with my first love, engineering, and hope to help the company introduce some innovative new products over the next year.
Greg Phillip has most recently led the company’s customer service department. Greg joined Kiffer Industries in 1989 as a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a B.S. in Business. Greg’s responsibilities included inside service support, field service, purchasing, manufacturing, production control and scheduling.
“Greg, Kent and Tom (Petrella, son-in-law) are well prepared to lead this company as they have been an essential part of the leadership of the board of directors for the last 15 years,” said Dale Phillip. “Their leadership in their departments, and experiences across multi-facets of the business, uniquely qualify them to step up in their new roles. Their new energy will inspire the company to higher success, while still embodying the company’s core values,” added Dale Phillip.
“I am excited by this opportunity to lead Kiffer, particularly during a time of unprecedented opportunity in technological advancements in our industry,” said Greg Phillip. “We will stand firm by our foundational values provided by my father and grandfather while we continue to perform to maintain our strong competitive position. We will be guided by an exciting new vision for our future that places technological product development and engineering superiority at the core of our actions.”
Lewanee Intermediate School District (LISD) recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the latest expansion, designed to provide more room for the latest technology. Twenty welding stations and a new AKS tru-kut 5×10′ plasma cutting system, equipped with a Hypertherm PowerMax85 power supply, were part of the addition.