Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water.”
While the water may not have been all that terribly hot when Kaci King jumped in for her father as West Ohio Tool CEO, it certainly was deep, and what better month to recognize the company’s continued achievement under her leadership than Women’s History Month.
While the challenges of being a woman at the head of a tool-making company in the manufacturing sector might be the subject of debate, Kaci hasn’t had much time to worry about the issue. She’s been too busy moving things forward. And people are noticing.
In short order, she has established herself as one of Ohio’s leading businesswomen. In 2022, “Ohio Business” magazine included Kaci in its “Ohio 500” list, which recognizes most influential Buckeyes contributing to Ohio’s future growth. Fast forward to spring 2023, and King is being featured on the cover of WomELLE’s WomLEAD Magazine and recognized as one of the Top 5 Female Leaders of 2023. King will also serve as a panelist for the publication’s 2023 She’s Possible event celebrating female entrepreneurship and achievement. Last fall, West Ohio Tool was a sponsor for Women in Manufacturing’s (WiM) National Summit in Atlanta, and next month, the company will be recognized as the Logan County Chamber of Commerce Business of the Month for April 2023.
Though the personal recognition is nice, it’s also good for business, and that’s what Kaci likes most – amplifying the company brand on the national stage.
West Ohio Tool is now a certified Women-Owned Business (WBE) for the state of Ohio, which expands opportunities in contract manufacturing and providing access to favorable capital financing for growth opportunities such as the company’s planned purchase of a new erosion machine.
Additional women-owned business recognitions are pending that will increase West Ohio Tool’s access to broader markets. Potential access to Department of Defense and federal contracting opportunities will be enhanced by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Women-owned Small Business (WOSB) certifications.
There’s little doubt that all the effort to not only continue the West Ohio Tool legacy but bring the company into a new future is paying off. From its Russells Point, Ohio, shop and headquarters, West Ohio Tool has grown sales to 29 states since Kaci and her husband Rea have been managing the company, and based on first-quarter 2023 figures, it’s on track to have the best year in its 33-year history.
Breaking down walls and barriers. Expanding horizons and making connections. Doing the hard work to set yourself apart and let people know who you are.
“At the end of the day, we make tools,” Kaci said of West Ohio Tool’s place in industry. “But this kind of recognition gets us seen, and gets us more work.”