Stevenson Company Inc. Eyeing Small Business Award

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Topeka, Kan. (WIBW) -- Stevenson Company Inc. is rich with history and provides innovations to companies right here in Topeka all the way to Brazil.

Joe Pennington, Stevenson Company Inc.'s President, has continued to make this a family business. Pennington's grandfather worked there after World War II, and his dad became an owner in 1990.

"When I touch this I think about my grandfather that did work here after World War II," said Pennington while touching an ageless Stevenson Company Inc. piece in the shop.

Stevenson Company Inc. has made a name for itself by letting foodstuffs glide down their steel creations.

"Topeka has always been a good place for agriculture to meet industry. One of the first things that Stevenson was able to do was in the 1970's...there was a business called Seymour, and they came out with a nice sanitary egg-breaking machine," said Pennington. "We were able to help them with the engineering on that and especially the fabrication. It was kind of a revolutionary product in that eggs were no longer touched by the human hand."

That would get the shop's foot in the door in the food industry. Then a broken chip put Stevenson Company Inc. on the map.

"One of the biggest and first opportunities that we had was for a tortilla chip manufacturer that was having issues and they wanted to eliminate that," said Pennington. "The product dropped from a higher conveyor and dropped into a bag or weigher. They wanted a way for that to be handled gently. "

Stevenson Company Inc. used this problem and turned it into one of its' signature products. Pennington said, "One of the ideas that the crew came up with was a spiral chute. It eliminated breakage so much that they had to buy a larger size bag just to fit one pound in."

There are now Stevenson Company Inc. spiral chutes in chip, almond, candy, dog food, and many other plants all over the place. That doesn't stop Stevenson Company Inc. from customizing all of the spiral chutes.

Stephen Clark Stevenson Company Inc's General Foreman said, "I like working with my hands. Whatever I've made is going to be around for a while. Everyday is something new. Whether we're going from a plant in south Topeka or Kansas City they all do something different."

Stevenson Company Inc. is able to aid companies across Kansas and the world because of the family atmosphere they've created.

"I'm looking forward to them getting some recognition for all of their hard work," said Pennington. "They're the ones that built this company. I know that the chamber the business of the year award, but for us it's been about 63 years in the making. I don't know if it'll ever come up again. So we'll call it the business of a lifetime award."

Clark said, "It's nice to be recognized for stuff you've been doing for 29 years. And you know that someone's taking notice of your work."

Joe Pennington and Stevenson Company Inc. will hear on May 14th, if they've won the honor as the Capital City Business of Distinction.