It is with deep sadness that A-dec marks the passing of co-founder George Kenneth Austin, Jr., who died May 1, 2019 in Newberg, Oregon. He was 87 years old.
Asked once about his engineering skills, Ken said he preferred to think of himself as an imagineer, or even a simple blacksmith — someone who could shape what he had into whatever the job required.
In the fall of 1964, his greatest need was a job. He had burned through six since leaving the Air Force in 1957 and was once again unemployed; he was a few weeks from his 33rd birthday; he had two young children. But he also had an idea for a device that would make dentistry a little easier. With his wife Joan’s backing — “even if we have to live on bread and beans,” she said — they got to work.
Joan, who died in 2013, took charge of the day-to-day business. Ken did the dreaming, the designing and the building.
By February 1965 they had a couple of employees, an order to fill and space in a 1,000-sqare-foot Quonset hut in Newberg. Joan’s desk, and its recipe box filled with business contacts, sat next to his drafting board. They grew A-dec into the largest privately owned dental manufacturing company in the United States, Newberg’s largest employer and the foundation for a lifetime of philanthropy and community involvement that will be felt throughout Oregon and the world for generations to come.
A-dec has been led by CEO and President Scott Parrish, son in law of Ken, since 2004, with Marv Nelson taking on the role of Executive VP and COO in 2016. In 2013, the company appointed a seven member Board of Directors. More than 50 years after its inception, A-dec is recognized as a global leader with continued growth; while maintaining its Mission of providing a quality environment where people work together for the betterment of dentistry worldwide.
A celebration of life community event is being planned to honor the life and legacy of Ken Austin.
To ensure that the Austin | Parrish family is prepared to welcome all that wish to celebrate Ken’s life, we kindly ask that you take a moment to register. However, all are welcome to attend regardless of registration.