Built to Last
Family-owned, 106-year-old John Day Company hasn’t flinched as wholesale industrial suppliers
have encroached on the Omaha, Nebraska region in recent years.
BY MIKE HOCKETT
If there’s one word that describes what has allowed John
Day Company to remain a successful, family-owned
company for 106 years, it’s stability.
That comes from the Omaha, NE-based industrial and
agricultural supplier’s management, where its top four
members have a combined 144 years of experience with
the company. CEO John Fonda, great grandson of
founder John Day Sr., has been there for 35 years, 20 of
those as president. Current president and CFO, Nancy
Kurtenbach, has been there 29 years. COO and Inside
Sales Manager Duane Chamberlain is 37 years in, while
Outside Sales Manager Steve Regan is at 43 years.
That wealth of experience is what drives success at
John Day today.
“It’s our level of technical support and our knowledge
base,” says Kurtenbach. “We have a lot of long-term
employees who have been in the business and the
industry. Someone can call one of them and they won’t
need a part number. We know our products. We know
where to get products. There’s a lot of depth and
resources there that really set us apart.”
“We’re 106 years old, and none of us look that age,”
Fonda says with a laugh. “I think it’s given us a really
strong base in our region. We’ve build a good
reputation out here. Our customers know who the John
Day Company is and we’re going to stand by the prod-
ucts that we sell.”
The Personal Touch
Being an independent company of around 100
employees, many have to wear multiple hats for JDC to
provide its myriad of services besides just product supply.
Given the rapid escalation of merger and acquisition
activity in the market, the company says its stability is
what has attracted new hires. “I think a lot of people –
they work for someone who gets bought and they get
laid off, and maybe hired back – I think our applicants
see John Day Company as a very stable company, and
family-oriented,” says Kurtenbach.
Part of the appeal of working at JDC is also its
From left, John Day Co. Inside Sales Mgr.
Duane Chamberlain, President & CFO Nancy
Kurtenbach, CEO John Fonda, and Outside
Sales Mgr. Steve Regan.