Gary Grossen: 25 years of DLG membership
Interview by Dr Thomas Adolf, DLG
Gary Grossen from Donald, USA, is celebrating his 25th anniversary of DLG membership. His company GK Machine is a manufacturer of high quality equipment, parts and accessories offering a wide range of solutions for agricultural and industrial needs. Since 1976, the aim of GK Machine is to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Mr. Grossen, please tell us about your business and your company GK Machine.
In Donald, Oregon, 24 miles south of Portland, GK Machine Company, Inc., is manufacturing parts for heavy agricultural equipment like harvesters, sprayers, tree diggers and hose reels. The company also produces pre-made greenhouses, nursery supplies and variety of farming tools. If there’s one thing GK knows about, it’s “growing”.
GK Machine started in 1976 like so many other machine shops back then, as “two guys working out of a garage”. Today, the company occupies a 175,000 square foot facility, its third building expansion since 2015.
In addition to manufacturing space, GK Machine has a multi-million dollar storage operation that it manages with a technology-driven inventory system. The company has nearly 200 employees and serves several industries beyond agriculture, including industrial food harvesting, transportation, the military; they provide custom manufacturing services as well.
How has business developed since GK was founded?
In the most recent years, GK Machine has focused on harvesting and cultivating equipment using innovative GPS, robotics and vision systems for autonomous operations. Our goal is to help farmers, growers and producers reduce labor, time and increase safety in the operations.
Does the current corona pandemic affect your business?
During the pandemic, our company has been considered ‘essential workers’ as we support Agriculture and Manufacturing and have remained open and operating a full speed during the last year and half. Our product sales for field sanitation, such as wash stations and portable toilet trailers have increased over the last year as well.
What was your reason to become DLG member in 1996?
DLG membership began with David Grossen, and was taken over by me, the current GK Machine owner and CEO in 1996. I have been the owner and CEO since the company’s inception in 1976. David Grossen, a close relative, was in charge of the newly formed engineering department back in the early 90’s. Since that time, GK Machine has grown tremendously due to the addition of in-house engineering services. Currently, GK Machine employs over 24 engineers as well as drafting, planning and administrative employees to support their work.
You also subscribe to the monthly German magazine "DLG Mitteilungen". What is your relationship to Germany?
Over the years, I have visited Germany many times and most recently in 2018 and again in 2019. I enjoy learning about the many agriculture innovations, state-of-the-art engineering and manufacturing efficiencies that Germany embraces. I wish that the USA would embrace the ‘internship’ model that Germany introduces to high school students for employment in manufacturing, machining, laser cutting, fabrication and engineering.