Page 36: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (November 2016)
Ken Konrad and his wife Kathy decided to diversify from their steel mill operations in the early 1990s and Konrad Marine was born.
A Driven Innovator
Walk around Konrad’s manufacturing and testing facility his entrepreneurial spirit was starting to come out, as he
At his core Ken Konrad for even a short time and it is easy to see that Ken Kon- would visit steel mills on his own time to line up small jobs is an innovator and engi- rad, owner and president, possesses a sharp intellect and an for his own company, which at the time was simply a side engineer’s mind, as he clearly revels in sharing insight on business. “Then one day I received a substantial order, so I neer, looking at problems business and manufacturing practice that goes in each of quit my job and went from wearing a suit and tie everyday his company’s rugged stern drive units. While Konrad has to running my own one-man shop,” said Konrad. Starting and seeing solutions. We quickly established itself as a quality name in the commer- as a solo act in 1967 serving the steel industry, Konrad has spent a day at Konrad’s cial stern drive sector, it is still a newer business line within grown his company to 50 employees today and has evolved the company’s overall scope. to manufacture a rugged line of stern drives for commercial headquarters in Hudson,
In the 1960s, following high school Konrad became a and military maritime markets around the globe.
tool and die maker before joining the U.S. Navy and serv-
Wis., for insights on what ing for a few years working on Swift boats and patrol craft Entering Maritime in Vietnam. Upon returning he worked in his father’s ma- Konrad’s initial business – which is still a signi? cant part makes the “Stern Drive chine shop, but he knew he wanted more. “I wanted to be of the current company, focused on steel mills; speci? cally
Specialist.” more in charge of things, so I went back to college under he developed a method to rebuild parts of the rolling mills. the GI Bill and earned a Mechanical Engineering degree The company grew steadily, but in the late 1980s Ken from the University of Minnesota. When he graduated he sensed a looming market downturn in the perpetually cy- earned a “9 to 5” job with a larger company, but even so clical steel market, and he gathered his team for ideas on
By Greg Trauthwein 36 Maritime Reporter & Engineering News • NOVEMBER 2016
MR #11 (34-41).indd 36 11/3/2016 5:13:35 PM