This December is going to be one to remember as a tenured employee departs DESMA. John Shelton will be retiring this month after 38 years of service.

John has been the Spare Parts Manager at DESMA USA, helping customers for the last 24 years. His tenure at DESMA has covered roles in shipping, cost accounting, and inventory management, allowing him the industry knowledge and know-how to meet today’s rubber and silicone market demands.

John’s story dates back to 1982 when our company (called then GKN Windsor) initially hired him to work in the shipping and receiving department. GKN Windsor probably does not resonate with many, but GKN Windsor (note: the K stood for Klockner) was a predecessor company to DESMA USA. At the time, the business was located in Erlanger, Kentucky, and we built large plastic injection molding machines. John’s department supplied parts for Windsor machine construction and received finished sub-assemblies for the final US assembly.

The Erlanger Kentucky facility changed in 1986, incorporating a little-known product called “DESMA” into the Klockner portfolio and consolidated several facilities. DESMA moved from Waltham, Massachusetts, to Erlanger, Kentucky. Ironically John reports this was a turning point in his career as the Windsor business was transitioning.

To stay current, John had to pivot from plastics to rubber. He leaned heavily on a young service engineer named Walter Frick for help. Walter was one of the few DESMA people who moved to Kentucky. “Walter taught me what a core lifter was and how it worked. Walter is a cornerstone of DESMA, and he is a big reason for our success today in the market,” said John.

Next, John transitioned to cost accounting at the company in 1988, “learning bolts, nuts, and seals while navigating Euros vs. US Dollars.”

John briefly left the company in the mid-1990s, but with management changes, we reconnected in 1998, and he re-joined the team utilizing his background to handle spare parts for the North American market where he still works today.

Thank you, John, for your dedication, hard work, and support! We will miss you at the office but celebrate your new stage in life. John will be spending time with his grandchildren, watching UK basketball and traveling with his wife.

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