It’s the kind of entrepreneurial story that seems to be quintessentially American. A German immigrant lands at an unanticipated midlife crossroads, only to turn that seeming misfortune into a tremendous opportunity that continues to thrive beyond his wildest hopes.
When longtime railroad executive George Weigand suddenly found himself out of a job, he looked to his homeland connections, and began a business to import German-made hydraulic tools. His efforts were well-timed: his business was a success. When the German company had a new product they wanted to introduce to the States – a high pressure hydraulic rescue tool – they looked to George to import and market it.
George found a receptive audience for the product within the fire and rescue community, but when relationships with the German company changed, George had his next epiphany – he’d manufacture the rescue tools himself. The financial risk was not small, but just like any visionary who’s made a leap of faith, George put his future on the line and put his heart into his business.
People often wonder what the name AMKUS means and insist there must be a big story behind it. Judy Weigand, Vice President says the name AMKUS was derived from Lukas American, the name of the company that George started with the imported tools “We just played around with the two words, combined them and came up with AMKUS”.
It’s from those beginnings that AMKUS developed and eventually grew into one of the most revered and trusted names in the rescue equipment industry. Though George tragically passed away in 1999, the Weigand family has continued to develop and manufacture a range of tools and products that are the industry standard for fire rescue and racing teams around the world.
The current AMKUS facility – a sprawling but immaculately maintained 42,000-square-foot site in the Chicago suburbs – is a far cry (yet a short walk) from the company’s humble beginnings. Staffed with skilled machinists and dedicated workers, you’ll find the AMKUS mission statement in evidence throughout: “Life is the most precious possession we have. At AMKUS our mandate is to give rescue people the tools to save human life. We work to create the best rescue systems for this lofty goal.”
AMKUS continues to listen to the needs of rescue workers and create the kind of tools to help them save lives, as well as deliver the unwavering customer service that’s been a company staple since day one.
2700 Wisconsin Ave.
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Tel. 1-800-59-AMKUS (1-800-592-6587)
e-mail: [email protected]