CEO Kaci King has seen it all at West Ohio Tool.
In a company that started small in a potting shed and then grew to a $4 million specialty cutting tool manufacturer, Kaci has run deliveries, shipped product, answered phones and anything else that needed to be done. She took the company helm in 2020 and has since become one of Ohio’s leading businesswomen.
In April, Kaci was featured in WomLEAD Magazine. She has also been named to “Ohio Business” magazine’s “Ohio 500” list, recognizing Buckeyes that contribute to the state’s future growth.
Leveraging her status as the CEO of a woman-owned company is good for business, too. West Ohio Tool is now a certified Women-Owned Business (WBE) for the state of Ohio and recently received the prestigious Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) certification that will open doors to local and federal contracting opportunities. The company is also Better Business Bureau accredited and is awaiting approval for its federal Women-owned Small Business (WOSB) certification.
The push for woman-owned certification plays significantly into the Kaci’s long-term strategy to diversify. The downturn in the automotive sector followed closely by the pandemic-induced shutdown made it clear West Ohio Tool had to develop new markets.
“Within the government contract sector, there’s a focus on diversity, women- and veteran-owned companies,” Kaci said. “And getting these certifications has had a huge impact on growth potential over the last several months.”
In addition to serving a long-standing automotive, industrial and medical customer base, the company now has clients in aerospace, sports/recreation, marine and defense sectors. It has received an initial order from aerospace titan Northrop Grumman for their Space Systems sector, an initial order from NASA, and multiple orders from other Department of Defense aerospace manufacturers, in addition to a TSA baggage equipment manufacturer.
Moving its business model from individual purchase orders to long-term contracting is essential for future stability, “and now that vision finally seems possible,” Kaci said.
When it comes to a family-owned business, the work balance lines sometimes blur, the boundaries blend and the world can turn to a hectic haze. That’s when it’s time to take stock, give yourself some grace and celebrate every win, regardless how big or small or where it comes from, Kaci said.
As Kaci and the leadership team continue to expand the company’s boundaries and market potential, indications are West Ohio Tool is going a lot farther.
You can listen to Kaci’s inspiring WomLEAD Magazine podcast here.