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Industry Loses DeFelsko Founder

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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Frank Koch, president and founder of DeFelsko Corp., died Aug. 8 from the effects of a stroke he had suffered several days earlier.

 Frank Koch
Frank Koch brought “a bright mind, outgoing personality, dedication and tireless work ethic” to DeFelsko, his colleagues said.

Mr. Koch passed away peacefully in the hospital, surrounded by loved ones, his family said.

Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, during turbulent times, Mr. Koch was formally trained as a tool and die maker before emigrating in 1956 to Ottawa, Canada, where he started a family.

In the 1960s, Mr. Koch’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to Ogdensburg, NY, where he launched several businesses, including DeFelsko Corp.

Coating Thickness Expertise

It was his involvement with coating thickness test instruments that most defined Mr. Koch’s career.

DeFelsko began by importing and selling instruments from Germany. Before long, the company was manufacturing these test devices in the United States, beginning with the PosiTest mechanical pull-off gage and continuing with what would become the ever-expanding PosiTector series of inspection instruments.

DeFelsko quickly grew to become a world leader in the design and production of quality, hand-held, paint test equipment. Mr. Koch traveled the world, developing relationships with a network of dealers to service a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, powder coating and corrosion protection of metal, wood, concrete and composite materials.

“Frank’s extraordinary combination of a bright mind, outgoing personality, dedication and tireless work ethic influenced the products he made and the business relationships he developed,” his company said in a statement.

“He forged relationships based on handshakes and on the strength of his character. He attributed much of his success to his loyal customers and dealers across the globe.”

Commitment to New Technologies

Under his guidance, DeFelsko invested heavily in the research and development of advanced technologies to non-destructively measure the thickness of coatings and introduced many innovative products, including hand-held ultrasonic coating thickness gages, auto switching ferrous/non-ferrous coating thickness gages, and unique self-aligning adhesion testers.

Today, the company employs more than 50 people at the Ogdensburg facility.

Services for Mr. Koch were held earlier this month. Donations in his memory may be made to the St. Lawrence Valley SPCA or to the Ogdensburg Volunteeer Rescue Squad.

DeFelsko Transition

DeFelsko announced that Mr. Koch’s son-in-law, David Beamish, had assumed the responsibilities of company president. Linda Koch Beamish, Mr. Koch’s daughter, retains her role as vice president.

“Both David and Linda had the privilege of working with Frank for almost 25 years, and together with the entire DeFelsko family are committed to carrying his legacy forward,” the company said.

   

Tagged categories: Coating / Film thickness; Coating inspection; DeFelsko; Equipment manufacturers; Obituaries; Personnel; Research

Comment from Dan Thomas, (9/2/2011, 10:40 AM)

Frank was a great person and I always looked forward to visiting with him at past conventions. There was a time when we both owned marathon conversion coaches and it brought about a bond between us. He will be missed.


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