Company was founded
Named one of the Michigan 50 Companies to Watch
“Technology is changing everyday life”. With more customers purchasing lower quality items online than from a distributor, Cathy Koch saw a need to shift the company’s focus away from distribution services and transform it into a manufacturing facility. As a manufacturer, it allowed her to better serve the ever-changing needs of the customers, providing high-quality and reliable products so K-Tec Systems reputation gives it a competitive advantage.
How the SBDC helped
With more than 35 years of experience, Cathy was referred to the Michigan SBDC for assistance with
transitioning the company from distribution to manufacturing. Working with several SBDC business
consultants, they did an operational needs assessment, reviewed management and financial systems,
obtained marketing research, looked at best practices for manufacturers, considered Lean Manufacturing
processes, and more.
After years of being a distributer, in late 2017, K-Tec Systems moved into a new facility and launched their
manufacturing operations providing efficient and reliable pressure, test, flow solutions, and test equipment for
the automotive, aerospace, and food industries. The company’s powerful story, tenacious leader, and
innovative thinking has helped K-Tec Systems to evolve from a single vision into a manufacturer that is
continuing to thrive and make waves in the market.
During the past 30 years Cathy Koch has turned many life challenges into great success. It started after the
birth of her daughter, when she returned to work and found out that her position was no longer available. Later
she took a position with the company’s top competitor. Within a year, though, she decided to be a mom first
and figured out a better way to balance motherhood and work.
In 1989, Cathy combined the skills she learned as a teenager working in her father’s travel trailer business and
her professional marketing and sales experience to launch K-Temp Control Systems, a manufacturers’
representative resource for wire, infrared sensors, and silicon-controlled rectifiers.
Cathy believes that the best way to improve the company and solve the customer issues is by spending time at
their facilities and learning their needs. As technology, delivery systems, and the needs of her customers
changed, she adapted and refocused the business. In 1995, she transitioned the business away from being a
manufacturer representative to a full, non-stocking distributor and expanded into Ohio serving customers in the
chemical, food, and aerospace industries. Another change came in 2008 when Cathy renamed the business
to K-Tec Systems, Inc.
Since 2015, Cathy has worked with a team of business consultants from the Michigan SBDC. The team of
consultants advised her of a new customer base and helped Cathy to review strategic plans, management
systems and operations, Human Resource processes, and financial management systems. Through their
work, the team helped her to develop a management system and organizational chart to help the company
move into manufacturing.
“The value of the resources and education I received from the SBDC have been beyond priceless,” says
Cathy. “They helped us implement the best practices and hire the right talent to build a solid foundation for a
In addition to working with the Michigan SBDC, Cathy credits the company’s success to the resources and
support she also received from Lawrence Technology University, Ann Arbor State Bank, and Oakland County
Economic Development and Community Affairs, and to the training from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small
Businesses Summit and Michigan Economic Development Corporation Economic Garden Program.
In late 2017, Cathy moved the company to a new building, hired more people, and launched a manufacturing
facility. Her vision to change the way manufacturing is viewed has allowed her team to empower their
customers to achieve greater accuracy, efficiency, and cost savings across their operations using data-driven
technology. K-Tec Systems serves customers across the automotive, aerospace, food, and chemical
industries as a manufacturer, global distributor, and engineering integrator of temperature sensors, wire
harnesses, and control systems.
K-Tec Systems was named one of the 2017 Michigan 50 Companies to Watch, and the 2018 Best Small
Business for the Michigan SBDC Southeast Region and one of the 2018 SmartZone Best Small Business
Read more about K-Tec Systems at www.k-tecsystems.com.