Nobody had more influence in changing Kent Elastomer to what we’ve become than Murray Van Epp. Murray was hired at KEP as Executive Vice President of Sales in 1988 after a career in pharmaceutical sales, then later, as VP Sales for competitor Hygenic. In 1996, he was made President of KEP.

Murray has a master’s degree in psychology and he used it in a positive way – leveraging people to be open, honest and work together. He helped us find new solutions through cooperating with each other, rather than engaging in power struggles. Murray built trust. Because Murray wanted a culture of cooperation and trust, he gave me the green light to spend $25K in 2006 to explore Lean Enterprise training for our team members.

Murray was the one who inspired me to think about Lean. He was a fanatic about organization – which led me to believe that Lean training would help get him off my back. Little did I know that it would be an entirely new philosophy to embrace – helping to get KEP on the path to becoming a better organized, more efficient and quality-focused manufacturing partner.

Then one day, Murray came into my office and said, “I need to talk to you for an hour.” I wondered what I did wrong – but instead, he told me that he wanted to retire. That began my grooming for president.

My friendship with Murray has increased fourfold since he left, I give him a lot of praise, not only for the company, but for me personally. Murray is always big on personal improvement. He was the one who encouraged me and helped raise me to the goal of getting my master’s degree at Kent State University. He helped to do the same for Don Leeper and John Danes, who pursued their MBAs.

Murray has truly been KEP’s key to transformation!

– Bob Oborn
KEP President

Related Articles

Happy Leap Day!

February 29 is a date that occurs only every four years. It is called Leap Day. It’s a rarity – it doesn’t come around very often. We’d like to think that our own Leeper – Don Leeper, that is – is a rarity, too. Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, Don...

read more

Virus Disrupts Sourcing – The Domestic Advantage

The coronavirus is just one more in a long list of global sourcing disruptions Everything from Modern Tire Dealer to the New York Times report the severe impact of the coronavirus on Chinese business retail and manufacturing – and its effect on the global economy....

read more

A KEP Success Story

Renée Onesti began working with KEP in 2007 as the Manager of Plant Engineering and Maintenance and was promoted to Director in 2009 and Sr. Director in 2019. Renée has been in the manufacturing field for over 20 years and is passionate about American Manufacturing....

read more

Talk with KEP

We're accessible any way you want.

PO Box 668
Kent, OH 44240

800.331.4762

sales@kentelastomer.com

Contact us.

  • Looking for a custom color? Choose from the Pantone options available.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

KEP Customized Tubing Solutions

We love a challenge.

What's yours?

Optimize efficiency?
Build a prototype?
Improve product or customer service?

Let's make it happen!