ORLANDO, FLA. (April 19, 9:55 a.m. ET) — With 50 years in the thermoforming industry, Bill Kent, 71, continues to bring a contagious enthusiasm to his work for Brown Machine LLC, which turns 60 this year.
He started as a technician under Gaylord Brown's direction in 1961. He became a sales engineer in 1965, manager of export sales in 1974 and vice president of advanced technology in 1985. Now, he is technical director. He has logged more than 6 million flight miles in travels from Brown Machine's base in Beaverton, Mich.
Asked about industry changes, he said, “The difference is controls on equipment,” referring to technologies such as those coming from Allen-Bradley and Yaskawa Electric.
From 1998-2011, Kent served as a director of the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division. SPE President Ken Braney praised Kent for his willingness to help overcome problems and his commitment to help SPE succeed.
Jim Robbins, Brown's sales and marketing vice president, said Kent is an invaluable resource and an ambassador for both the thermoforming industry and the firm.
Kent and his wife, Joan, have three sons and five grandchildren and now spend portions of their winters in Zephyrhills, Fla.