(Kevin Ahaus (left) and Jeff Sheridan (right) pose with former owner and previous Hall of Fame inductee Rick Ahaus at the March 9th event. – photo supplied)
In March of 2023, Ahaus Tool and Engineering, Inc. owners Kevin Ahaus and Jeff Sheridan were inducted into the Eastern Indiana Junior Achievement Hall of Fame. Ahaus and Sheridan were honored that evening, surrounded by family, friends, and Ahaus coworkers past and present.
Ahaus graduated in 1983 from Richmond High School. He attended Purdue University graduating in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology. In 2000, he received a Master of Science in Management from Krannert at Purdue. After college, Ahaus worked for Wells Electronics and Plaskolite, Inc. before returning to his hometown of Richmond, Indiana to join Ahaus as a Sales Engineer in 1992. After 10 years in sales, Ahaus worked as the Manufacturing Manager for two years before assuming the role of President when his father, Rick, retired. Over the past 30+ years of being with the company, there have been several hundred projects designed and built – from making fixtures for heart valves and knee implants to automobile engines and large excavators, and their customer base has developed and matured over the past 30+ years, including companies like Ford, Caterpillar, Kitchen Aid, Advanced Drainage Systems, and many others.
“Kevin is a willing and effective leader. All you have to do is take a tour of Ahaus with Kevin and hear him talk about his employees – the team, the apprentice program, and the work that they do. Listen to him talk about the projects they are building, and you will see that he is committed to his people and the work,” said business advisor and accountant Jeff Jackson. “He is dedicated to improvement and growth, and he is very protective of the company, the reputation of the brand, and the reputation of his employees.”
There have been many great moments for Ahaus at the company during his tenure. They’ve celebrated 50- and 75-year milestones and successfully moved from the 2nd and 3rd generation to the 4th generation of management and ownership. Working in a town where he knows the company makes an impact on good families is a driving motivation for Ahaus to keep giving and doing more. They have employed as many as 144 team members at one time. He feels privileged to have worked with his grandpa, Loren, granduncle, Galen, and dad, Rick. He has also been fortunate to work alongside his brother-in-law, Jeff Sheridan.
Sheridan attended E.A. Johnson High School in Mt. Morris, MI and graduated valedictorian of his class in June 1985. He then attended GMI Engineering and Management Institute (now Kettering University) in Flint, MI where he received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and graduated Summa Cum Laude in June 1990. One year later, June 1991, he received a Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering from Stanford University. After college, Sheridan worked for General Motors in Michigan until 1997, when he decided to join his wife Tricia’s family’s business in Indiana. He started at Ahaus as Project Engineer in 1997, then to Project Engineering Manager in 1998, and was promoted in 1999 to Engineering Manager. He kept this position through 2005 when he became Vice President of Ahaus Tool and Engineering.
Assuming leadership of the company has allowed Ahaus and Sheridan to take it from being a very strong and successful company to one that is more professionally managed and has continued to grow and prosper so that it is positioned to be successful for decades to come. Sheridan says that right now seems like the most exciting time for the business as they see incredible growth and development that will help the company thrive for many decades.
Monica Koechlein, President of the Stamm Koechlein Family Foundation, said of Jeff: “I would love to have so many of the qualities that Jeff has. I would love to have his quiet calmness, his ability to reflect internally, and his ability to always be focused on the people in the room, and what they need.”
“When it comes to transformational leadership, Jeff is the person that comes to mind.”
Ahaus and Sheridan have given hundreds of hours to local causes that are important to them, like the Boys and Girls Club, Ivy Tech Community College, the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation, Richmond Civic Theatre, United Way, NTMA, and the Indiana Manufacturers Association.