In recent years, it seems as if every time I turn on the radio or television I’m met with a constant barrage of bad news. Every day is a new story about people losing their jobs and their homes or companies going out of business and shipping jobs overseas. The only escape from the thought of impending doom is finding an opportunity to lose myself while looking twenty-five feet down from my favorite stand. However, even though I can lose my worries for a short time, the ride home quickly brings me back to reality as I pass the home foreclosure signs and empty manufacturing plant parking lots.
Not only can the stand be a place of escape, some life changing ideas can come from time spent there.
Slowly but surely, it has become harder for me to forget about everything that is going on in the financial world while in Mother Nature’s world. Certain questions fly around my mind; like the annoying buzz of a mosquito that will not let me concentrate on the relaxing sounds of the early fall deer woods. The question that I ponder over the most is simple…… Can “The American Dream” still be realized? I have discovered, after speaking with Kerry Verran, the owner of KTECH Designs, that it can be realized. Without a doubt, his story is a real American story.
Q: Tell me how you got Started?A: We really got started by accident. It was early in 2010, when Mathews, Inc. had developed the first Z7, with the Grid lockTM design. At that time, I had been working for a tool and die company for about sixteen years. The company that I was working for had lost several major accounts with General Motors and the general economy in our area of Michigan was in serious trouble. I started to see the writing on the wall; I may not have a job before long. I started looking for other positions and any opportunity to possibly start my own business.
A lost job quickly turned into a blessing and a new outlook on life.
One day, I was doing some design work at the house and started to design a stabilizer that incorporated the gridlock design. I knew we only had a few days left before they let us go, so I started to make the stabilizer for myself and a couple of the guys at the shop. When the guys saw them, they immediately loved them. One of them said that I should send a picture to Mathews, Inc. to see what they thought. Just for fun, I sent a picture to the general e-mail at Mathews and really kind of forgot about it. Almost two weeks from the day I sent that e-mail our shop was closed and we were all laid off. I was really unsure of what to do. I did not want to sign up for unemployment and I wanted to see what kind of work I could pick up to stay busy.
Here, a shop employee assembles a new K-Tech product and prepares it for shipping.
Then one day the phone rang with a number on the caller ID that I did not recognize. I answered it and it was James from Mathews. He let me know that he had discussed my picture with his team and they really liked the idea. He wanted to get me set-up with a licensing agreement for Lost Camo and the Harmonic Dampeners and they wanted me to start production!
Employees are hard at work researching, developing and manufacturing the next K-Tech product.
In that moment I realized that everything happens for a reason. I got started quickly securing loans and acquiring equipment. I started making the products myself. As we grew, we went from one machine to six machines. Then, we had to outsource a lot of our production to a shop here locally in Michigan. As they say….. the rest is history.
Q: That is an amazing story, what do you think about the way it all happened?A: I have been bow hunting since I was ten and have shot a Mathews for a long time. The way this all happened has just been an amazing gift. I went from losing my job of sixteen years to starting a company in an industry I am completely passionate about. I am very thankful.
Q: Your products have a radically different design. Why is that?A: There is a lot of functionality in the design of our products. The bows that are out today are so quiet and efficient already. We have designed products that allow the shooter to tweak things enough to give their bows the extra performance and “feel” they are looking for.
The latest K-Tech stabilizer is the all new Intrepid.
Q: Explain the process of how new products are developed.A: It’s pretty simple actually. I will get an idea in my head, get it on paper and then get it in the computer and start working it up. Once I create a design, our team will discuss it, look at it, shoot it, and change it until it is a product we can be proud to manufacture and that we like to shoot ourselves.
Q: What is new for 2013?A: We have a new stabilizer that is called the Intrepid. It is a unique design that can change the pitch and yaw of your bow to offset the added weight of a sight, quiver or any other accessory a shooter might have. It has a lot of new design features that we really think people will like. The Infinity Stabilizer and the RS-1 are also new products that have done really well for us and that people need to take a look at.
This is the final step before a K-Tech product goes out the doors and into the customers hands.
Q: What makes your company different than other companies in the hunting industry?A: We are different because of our ability to design products that push the envelope in the areas of stabilization and vibration reduction. Our products not only have a different look and feel but, they also perform and function wonderfully in those two areas.
Q: What does the general public not know about your company that they should?A: Everything we do as a company is based right here in the United States. As a company, we decided that we would make sure that every component we make is manufactured right here in the United States. We even try to do as much as possible here in Michigan. It is very difficult to compete with companies that have made the decision to manufacture elsewhere, but that is just not something we will ever do. I guess I am just not cut from that cloth. Putting the made in USA label on our products or website is not just something we do, it is something we strive for.
Q: What should bowhunters/shooters who buy your products expect?A: Our products do what they are designed to do. Once people try them and they see how it can change the characteristics of their bow, they are sold. I had a couple of people at the ATA show this year that saw our products and liked the look of them but were unsure whether they wanted to carry them because we are a new company. I sent them home with a couple of our stabilizers and every one of them called us back to place orders.
Don’t let the looks fool you, all K-Tech stabilizers are designed with a specific purposes in mind. Pictured here is the Infinity.
Q: How has using your own products made you a better hunter?A: I am currently shooting an 11 inch Infinity stabilizer because of the way it is designed. The Infinity allows me to slow my sight picture down by resisting the rotational momentum. In addition, it isn’t just dead weight. This product also has the shock absorbing properties of the Mathews Harmonic stabilizer. I will be honest; I am not a very good shot but I can tell it has made a difference in my arrow groups and I think it will for anyone who uses it.
To get more information on KTECH Designs, please check out ktechdesigns.com or look them up on Facebook.