Over 200 employees of Bison Gear & Engineering Corp., St. Charles, Ill., gathered last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the gearmotor manufacturer. Bison was established in 1960 by three Chicago-area entrepreneurs who derived the company's name from their last initials of B-S-N.

The company began as a producer of gears and today manufactures gearmotors, electric motors and gear reducers for hundreds of customers ranging from small startup OEMs to multi-national industrial and commercial equipment OEMs. For example, Bison gearmotors are used in a wide variety of foodservice equipment found in virtually every fast food establishment throughout the world.

“While Bison's continuous growth and development have been driven by our many loyal customers, to whom we are very thankful, it would not have been possible without the commitment to excellence that has driven our associates now for half a century,” said Ron Bullock, Bison chairman and owner. “Going forward, Bison's strong focus on skills training and research and development will ensure our next half century of success as an American manufacturer.”

Today, Bison employs Baldrige criteria for performance excellence and drives a Lean Six Sigma enterprise to ensure customer satisfaction, while still serving its first OEM customer.