Robert L. Koch II began as vice president of the newly formed Ashdee Division at age 23. With his ambition and drive for success, the sales rose; and two years later he became president of the Ashdee Division. As vice president of George Koch Sons, Robert L. Koch II worked next to his father. In 1980, he became president; and following his father’s death in 1989, he became CEO. Since Robert L. Koch II became president in 1980, company sales have increased more than five times. In 2012, he became chairman and remained CEO, when his son, Kevin R. Koch, was named president. In 1998, he was named Indiana Entrepreneur of the Year by Indiana’s Chamber of Commerce. He graduated cum laude with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Notre Dame and earned an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh.
James H. Muehlbauer, son-in-law to Robert L. Koch, joined the company in 1966, as engineering manager of the Ashdee Division and later the Industrial Division. In 1982, he was named executive vice president, and in 1999, president of George Koch Sons, LLC and in 2003, president of Koch Air. A position he held until 2012, when his son, Brad J. Muehlbauer, took over the reins. Jim became vice chairman for Koch Enterprises responsible for team member development and training. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Industrial Administration from Purdue University and in 1991 received the Purdue University Alumni Association Citizenship Award.
In 1980, Robert L. Koch II was elected president of the company. In 1985 under his leadership, George Koch Sons acquired Uniseal, Inc., a company producing adhesives and sealants for the automotive industry. At the same time GKS purchased Uniseal, George Koch Sons started Uniseal Rubber in Fenton, Missouri. Uniseal Rubber Products extruded low-density, close-cell sponge rubber in various shapes. In 1995, Uniseal Rubber merged with Uniseal, Inc. and within the year moved to Evansville, Indiana.
Uniseal, Inc. was founded in 1960 with Walter Zahn and a group of his fellow chemists and chemical engineers. They expressed confidence in the future growth of sealants and adhesives. Uniseal actually began production in 1962 in a 40,000 square foot facility located on Diamond Avenue in Evansville. Walter served as the director of R&D and was later promoted to the position of president. Walter’s son, Randy, also started in R&D, later became plant manager, then vice president, and eventually president of Uniseal. In 2012, Uniseal opened offices in India and China.
In 1986, Brake Supply, a heavy vehicle parts and remanufacturing company, was also acquired by GKS, which was founded by Jack Ashby in 1946. Jack formed this company over 45 years ago in Evansville, Indiana with just three people..…turning brake drums, relining shoes and handling parts orders.
Brake Supply became a company customers found they could trust and depend on for their products and services. They began asking Brake Supply to handle other service work for them. As a result, Brake Supply expanded their facilities and broadened their product lines. Brake Supply continues to offer the most complete service and parts facilities for serving mining, construction and industrial equipment users in the country. Jack Ashby’s son, Tom, was president from 1981 until 2006. In 2006, Kevin R. Koch was president of Brake Supply from 2006 until 2011. Early 2009, Brake Supply acquired Downard Hydraulics based in Princeton, WV. Downard had 90 team members and $12 million in annual sales. Their niche market focuses on remanufacturing hydraulics for underground mining equipment, a new and complimentary market for Brake Supply. In 2012 David Koch, Kevin's brother, became president and CEO.