The founder of K.E. Brown Electrical Switchboards
, Mr Ken Brown was recently awarded a Zenith Lifetime Achievement award by the national Process and Control Engineering magazine, PACE.
Sponsored by LogiCamms, the award, which included finalists from national and global companies publicly recognises and rewards companies that show leadership in engineering and technological excellence and innovation.
The modest and soft-spoken Newport resident, who believes that without good employees, a business has nothing began his career nearly 65 years ago and now employs a team of more than 70 highly skilled electrical manufacturing staff. Mr Brown still regularly arrives at his desk at 7.30am to help lead the company he established in February 1948.
KEB today has two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities at its headquarters at Warriewood and a specialist motor control centre at Smithfield.
Beginning with enclosures for little switchboards to making whole units, then bigger units, and ultimately some of the most sophisticated switchboards in the country, the company grew its customer base along with its reputation for quality, innovation and customisation backed by some of the best trained people in the business.
He attributes repeat business from customers to factors such as quality, customisation and innovation. Mr Brown’s company has delivered more than 1000 switchboards for the world’s largest fast food retailer.
KEB today provides custom-engineered low voltage switchboards to companies as diverse as BHP Billiton and IBM, ABN Amro and Bovis Lend Lease, CSR and AMP, Sydney Water and Woolworths, Telstra and Optus, Leighton Contractors and Coles, McDonalds as well as some of the country’s leading hospitals, hotels, telecoms and banks.
Its recent industry innovations include addressing major OH&S and service downtime issues with its PowerSafe and complementary ISOSafe switchboards, which achieve isolation of individual circuits in a switchboard so work can proceed on them without the need to shut down the entire distribution board that may otherwise result in downtime and business disruption to companies operating 24/7 such as data centres, banks and telecoms.
According to Mr Brown, all their electrical switchboards are built with local skills developed in-house, so when a unit is sent anywhere in Australia or throughout the Asia-Pacific, it is delivered with the assurance of quality, design and reliability built into it by KEB’s own people.
KEB General Manager Bob Day says Mr Brown’s zest is an inspiration for all the staff. Though the company’s operations are completely state-of-the art including incorporating lean manufacturing processes for top value and quality, Mr Brown’s principles are still the fundamentals that guide them.