A Letter from Ken Kinsley, Founder and Chairman of the Board – January 2006
In 1964, at the ripe old age of 29, I had been married a couple years, was expecting our first family addition, was paying off college loans and a new mortgage and a recession was going on in the construction industry. Who in their right mind would start a business from scratch at that time? What was I thinking, or not? I guess the answer is you have to believe (and your wife as well).
Thus Kinsley Equipment Company was born along with the new baby. The first few years were a daily challenge. Fortunately, there were more successes than failures because, quite frankly, failure was not an option. I never planned for it. You have to be young to get away with that. I can’t begin to name all the friends who helped along the way—bankers, lawyers, accountants, suppliers and, most of all, customers. Every day was exciting and a new learning experience. As we grew each year and always paid our bills, more suppliers became interested in working with us.
Then came the 70s. A manufacturer’s rep came by the office and showed us a movie of a funny-looking machine—a basket on the end of a pole that went up and down and rotated 270 degrees around another pole and was even self-propelled by a chain drive. These so-called “man lifts” were made in California and were being used to pick fruit and were the underpinning of floats for the Rose Bowl Parade. We purchased one and proceeded to convince the various construction unions that they were safer than the rolling scaffolding they were currently using. As they say, the rest is history. This product became the source of our future funding and helped us rise to the next level.
Along came the 80s and we realized we were in the construction equipment business, the lift business and the generator business. We were making money but not enough to support expanding all three, so we had to choose. Kinsley Equipment Company became DBA Kinsley Power Systems and we became specialists. Needless to say the choice was not based on extensive market research but rather on what we enjoyed and did well. The timing just happened to be right and we have grown considerably over the last 20 years.
We opened our first branch in Albany during the 80s, the next in Syracuse during the 90s and a third in Buffalo in 2000. We just opened our fourth in Bedford Hills, New York (Westchester) as I write. In 2000 we built a full-service headquarters in East Granby, Connecticut, near the airport, which has proven to be ideal for current and future plans.
Come 2005, it was time to bring new ideas and new energy into the business. Fortunately, my son David was ready and excited about our future prospects. This has proven to be another lucky decision. I’m still around as Chairman of the Board, sharing experiences, writing histories and other things that hopefully don’t interfere too much with the running of the Company. We are adding new products and services related to energy and coming to work is still exciting and fun. David and the leadership team keep moving in the right direction and the future looks even more promising. I feel very fortunate.