KIC is a specialist in production of automated thermal process tools and systems for reflow, wave, curing, and semiconductor thermal processes. Founded in 1977 by Casey Kazmierowicz, the company’s original purpose was to monitor 1,832°F (1,000°C) conveyor ovens.
Over the years, it expanded its focus and pioneered the development of oven profilers and process optimization tools. It then worked to create the next generation of thermal systems to help manufacturers improve thermal process quality, while reducing costs.
Casey’s son Philip was involved in the business from the beginning. He helped occasionally by building thermocouple probes, but it was no until 1986 that he joined the company full time. His decision was based on many factors, but in the end, it was by the agreement of himself and his (then future) wife to leave the hustle and bustle of Southern California big-city-life.
However, as a computer programmer, jobs were limited outside of the city. An advantage to being part of the family business, Philip could separate his income from his location. He and his wife ultimately purchased property in a semi-rural part of Oregon outside Portland in 1992.
Over the more than 30 years that Casey and Philip have worked together at KIC, Philip says that the relationship has been wonderful. “We argued sometimes in the beginning, because I really wanted to grow the company, and he was quite happy with just the two of us working together,” Philip says. “But once he saw the benefits of growth, things stayed fairly smooth between us.”
Since then, Casey and his son have focused mainly on research and development, with Casey managing the hardware development while Philip manages the software development. “Our focus has always been new product development,” he says. “Then we hand off the products to our capable development team and try to think up product improvements.”
With the introduction of cutting-edge tools, the company continues to stay on the leading edge of process optimization and automatic thermal process systems and has won numerous industry awards.
Casey has a lot of wisdom and has brought a lot of life to KIC. Philip concludes, “At 81, he does not speak much in our manager meetings, but when he does it is typically an angle that no one else considered.”
Reprinted with permission from the October 2018 issue of US Tech