Michael Bender, Owner, President
and General Manager
Mr. Bender is a 1975 Mechanical Engineering graduate from Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.
He began his career in 1975 as a Design Engineer with Hudson Engineering Corporation Houston, Texas. He was part of the engineering group responsible for the design and management of various phases of engineering and construction of gas plants, off-shore oil production platforms and petroleum loading dock facilities.
In 1976 he was employed as a Design Engineer for FMC Corporation at Houston, Texas. At FMC he was a member of an engineering team designing sub-sea oil drilling and production equipment.
In 1977 he left FMC to become a Design Engineer with a K-State classmate at Spring Machine, Inc., located in Arkansas City, Kansas. At Spring Machine he was responsible for the design, manufacturing supervision and installation of special material handling equipment for all types of industrial applications.
He served in this capacity until 1979 when he became the Plant Manager for Ark Manufacturing Company in Sterling, Kansas. As Plant Manager, he was responsible for all manufacturing operations required to design and manufacture OEM front-end loaders for the lawn and garden industry. Direct responsibilities included production scheduling, personnel management, and supervision of all other plant functions, including engineering, tooling, production, purchasing, quality control, maintenance.
He became the Operations Manager for KMW, Inc. in 1983 after KMW Products purchased the assets of Ark Manufacturing Co. and reported directly to the President of KMW Products in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.
In 1988, the assets of KMW Inc were sold to Ålö-Maskiner, Europe’s largest independent loader manufacturer. As General Manager of Alo USA, he reported to the Vice Managing Director of AB Ålö-Maskiner, located in Umeå, Sweden. From 1990 to 1993, he was also responsible for the manufacturing operations of their plant in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada. In 1997, Mr. Bender purchased the assets of Alo USA.
As President and General Manager, Mr. Bender oversees the operations with the KMW management team. Mr. Bender is also a Director of the First Bank and a member of the Board of Trustees of Sterling College, both located in Sterling, KS. He is a past city commissioner and Mayor of Sterling.
How we got to where we are...and where we're going from here.
1965 What would eventually evolve into today’s vibrant KMW, was founded in Sterling, Kansas, as Ark Manufacturing Co. Initially a manufacturer of soil packers and trailers for hauling swathers, in 1968 it added small front-end loaders for the lawn and garden industry.
1983 The assets of Ark Manufacturing Co. were purchased by a Canadian front-end loader manufacturer, KMW Products LTD, and renamed KMW Inc. Although original equipment loaders continued to be the primary focus, production now included larger size loaders.
1988 Both KMW Products LTD and KMW Inc. became part of the world’s largest independent front-end loader manufacturer -- Sweden-based Ålö-Maskiner. The company name was changed to Alo USA, Inc. and KMW original equipment loaders became Quicke loaders. Compact loaders and backhoes were discontinued.
1997 A local (Sterling, Kansas) management team (today’s owners) purchased the assets of Alo USA from Ålö-Maskiner and the corporation was renamed KMW Ltd. With nine acres of land, 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space, and a full complement of equipment and compact loader and backhoe designs... a rejuvenated KMW was off to a fresh start in the original equipment loader and backhoe business.
2002 A solid foundation of success and increasing demand for KMW products led the City of Sterling to issue a $2 million industrial revenue bond enabling KMW to expand production capacity. The company doubled manufacturing space, modernized the painting department, improved employee training and office facilities, and expanded loader testing capabilities.
2004 As the demand for KMW loaders continued, KMW purchased a 44,500 square foot facility in Great Bend, KS and moved loader design and testing, part fabrication and attachment welding to this facility. KMW began design of their new agricultural loader line.
2005 KMW introduces the 1760 loader for 110 to 190 HP tractors, including full range of options such as hydraulic self-leveling, comfort ride and bale grapples.
2009 The 1220 model KMW front-end loader is introduced for 45-80 hp tractors; and a mounting kit specifically designed for Kubota tractors was added to the line.
TODAY KMW employs 80 people, running three shifts five days a week in our two locations. We look forward to continued growth and aspire to become recognized as a major original equipment manufacturer of compact and utility loaders as well as backhoes.