The Kadant Blog

Meet Team Kadant - Ken Lahrke, Director of Kadant Johnson Services

Worked at Kadant Johnson Since: 1996

Tell me about your career path and how you got to Kadant.
I started at Kadant Johnson as a college co-op, working in manufacturing. I began full-time in 1998 in the engineering department as part of the drafting and design group. From engineering, I transitioned into R&D, working on the new product development team. After ten years in the technical group, I moved into sales. First, gaining valuable inside experience in applications and customer service before relocating to Northern Colorado to cover a sales district. After six years in direct sales, I am back in Three Rivers, managing Kadant Johnson Services.

Were there any challenges in moving from sales to field service?
Losing the frequent face-to-face interaction with customers has been the biggest challenge and I look forward to site visits when the opportunities arise.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Being part of the solution to challenges is very rewarding.

What do you think is the most important quality for success?
Teamwork! In my experience, companies that have the healthiest interpersonal relationships are likely to be the most successful and enjoyable companies to work for and with. I appreciate the team we have at Kadant Johnson and I believe that by working well together we stand the best chance of achieving our expectations for success. I am confident in our team to respond quickly and appropriately to exceed the needs of our customers.

Tell me about your family.
My wife Terra and I met at Kadant Johnson and have been married for seventeen years. We have been blessed with three above average children; Lauren, 15, plays volleyball and enjoys playing piano and ukulele. Natalie, 13, runs track and enjoys volleyball as well. They are both working this summer, Lauren in an ice-cream shop and Natalie is working in the seed cornfields. Cole, 6, is playing pitching machine baseball and practicing martial arts year-round. He is attending Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai and Judo classes two days a week, but otherwise lives a life of leisure. His sisters are looking forward to a time when he begins carrying his own weight with the household chores.

What do you like to do in your free time and why?
I enjoy being outside, working around the house with my family and I look forward to the different outdoor activities that the change of seasons brings. This time of year, we spend quite a bit of time kayaking the local Michigan waterways. I have been training Jiu Jitsu for twelve years and have been teaching a few classes per week over the past year. It has been great to see Cole growing and learning the art that I am passionate about. Our family enjoys road trip vacations and we try to enjoy the mountains whenever we can.

  • Written by:

    Kandi Hagenbuch

    Digital Content Specialist, Kadant

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