Founder, President & CEO / Kinze Manufacturing / 1944 / Inducted 2015
Jon Kinzenbaw is a farmer who built one of the largest privately-held agricultural equipment manufacturing companies in North America from the ground up. Starting as a small welding shop in rural Iowa, the company now spans more than 1 million square feet and manufactures some of the most popular planters and grain carts currently in use.
Kinzenbaw says innovation isn't "rocket science" - you simply have to listen to your customers. The first product Kinzenbaw manufactured and sold was a 13-knife, 30-foot anhydrous ammonia application toolbar. His first patent was for a high-clearance, variable-width moldboard plow.
At the urging of local farmers, Kinzenbaw pioneered the invention of a planter that could be folded up for transport instead of being loaded onto a trailer. The resulting rear-fold planter sent the company on a growth trajectory that continues to this day. Other industry-firsts brought to market by Kinzenbaw include: the two-wheeled grain cart, folding row markers, push row units, the lift and rotate folding planter, vacuum-type and brush-type seed meters, hydraulic weight transfer system, bulk air seed delivery system, electrically driven seed meters, and a multi-hybrid planter.
Committed to the industry and the local community, Kinzenbaw has provided more than 200 college scholarships for future leaders in agriculture and manufacturing. Additionally, Kinzenbaw formed an educational co-op and internship program at Kinze that has already given more than 150 college students an opportunity to get hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing processes.
Kinzenbaw has been recognized with several awards, including the Iowa State University George Washington Carver Distinguished Service Award, the State of Iowa Governor's Volunteer Award, the Iowa 4H Hall of Fame, the Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, and Laureate - Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.