It all started with a coinflip.

Thomas A. Kundinger (left) and Ken Miller (right).

In 1961, Thomas A. Kundinger and his business partner at the time, Ken Miller, flipped a coin to determine the name of their startup company. The winner would have his name listed first. Miller won, and so began Miller-Kundinger Sales Engineering.

The business took shape in the home of Thomas A. and Dorothy Kundinger in Fenton, Michigan. From the beginning it was a family operation.

“I would have been 12 years old at that time, but I was already involved in the business. It was my job to turn the washer and dryer off whenever the phone would ring,” Thomas J. Kundinger, current CEO of Kundinger, said. “My dad would always be on the road traveling because he was the only salesman. I would help my mother unload the trucks and take products down into the basement.”

The home office didn’t last long. The business moved into a building in downtown Fenton in 1963, and shortly after that a brand-new building was constructed along U.S. Highway 23 in Fenton.

“My dad was really a great visionary,” Brian Kundinger, Kundinger Chairman and CMO, said. “He saw the opportunity with U.S. 23 going through Fenton and knew it would be a great place to build an industrial park. He went to the farmers there and started buying up their farm property along the highway.”

Today, the main business district in Fenton, Michigan is the industrial park visioned and developed by Kundinger.

Ground was broken in 1965 to make way for a Miller-Kundinger Engineering Co. warehouse and office along U.S. 23, formerly farmland, in Fenton, Michigan.

The desire to innovate and push the envelope of what is possible has been the driving force behind the success of the Kundinger business since its start. Just seven years after its inception, the company expanded its geographic footprint to Wisconsin and took on a new name: Kundinger Fluid Power.

The move to Wisconsin resulted from a close working relationship with Parker Hannifin – a vendor that Kundinger still works with today. A core company value that hasn’t wavered over the last 60 years is that relationship building is about more than partnering with companies. It’s about building trust and doing what’s best for the customer every time.

Kundinger has established long-standing relationships with its customers, vendors and partners by mastering adaptability and staying ahead of the latest technology trends.

“With engineers continually being asked to do more work with fewer resources, it’s imperative that their suppliers can solve problems like worker shortages and safety hazards,” Ted Hiserodt, national sales manager for Parker Electromechanical and Drives Division, said. “Kundinger doesn’t just sell products, they sell answers and solutions to problems.” 

Kundinger started as a traditional fluid power distributor but over its 60-year history has expanded to be more than just a parts supplier. They now offer automation, process control and product solutions to a wide range of industries.

The company’s advancement doesn’t stop there.

Kundinger entered the retail business with the addition of three Parker stores across northeast Wisconsin and began offering Service and Repair Solutions – each a new way to meet customers where they needed help most.

“We have customers that have been with us for the better part of our 60-year history,” Paul Kundinger, president of Kundinger, said. “And that’s because we continue to find fresh ways to serve them.” That’s 60 years of innovation, adaptability and relationships – and counting.