History has to begin somewhere. And so do businesses.
By Greg Henderson
Con-Vey, LLC—previously known as Con-Vey Keystone, Inc.—is headquartered in Roseburg at their full-service facility of over 100,000 sq. ft. Beginning as a fabrication and machine shop in 1946, who could have guessed that customers located only a few miles away in the beginning would one day be the subject of stories told to new customers in 17 countries around the world?
If you’ve seen the advantages of conveyors in materials handling, think assembly lines and loading/unloading of materials in every imaginable business worldwide, then you have some idea of Con-Vey and one of its root business concepts.
Con-Vey has become a leading manufacturer of material handling equipment with 93 skilled local employees. From steel fabrication to custom robotic automation, Con-Vey is known as a proven, high quality supplier. Con-Vey’s Environmental Division designs and manufactures equipment and components for hydroelectric, debris removal systems, fish handling, water management, and electrical controls.
Jim Kilkenny, Sig Wolf and Bob Herbage were the ones that began Keystone Machine Works in 1946 in Roseburg. They had worked at Hyster together in Portland and decided to start their own business.
Inspired in 1946 as a concept, opening of the fabrication shop led to work at the scragg mill. It was three guys that got started when logging was quite robust in Roseburg. The scragg mill was one of the first products Keystone Machine Works did as proprietary. Local jobs were the meat of their business. That was one of the reasons they had picked Roseburg, lots of mills and opportunities for work.
Bob was born in Portland on June 6, 1923, to Frances Lyberg and Arthur Herbage.
He grew up on a local dairy farm surrounded by a loving foster family, the Kilkennys.
Bob attended Oregon State and then enlisted in the Navy during WWII. He had a celebrated early career as a mechanic on navy aircraft carriers and submarines. Then in 1946, Bob, together with Sig Wolf and James Kilkenny, founded a startup machinery company, Keystone Machine Works. Bob continued to work there until his retirement at age 78.
Con-Vey International was a business in Portland that made tube belt conveyors as well as a Spool-O-Vator that could go around corners rather than just a straight line. Con-Vey started about 1965.
They decided they needed to expand their product line and after researching some businesses purchased Keystone Machine Works in 1970, keeping on the owners and Don Goeckner, President of Con-Vey International, at the time learned the business and decided it would be better to keep it here in Roseburg rather than moving it elsewhere. Under Don’s leadership they were able to expand the products and obtain patents and really hone in on the wood products industry.
When Don was ready to retire in1995 he hired Dave Larecy, son of his “right hand” Joan Larecy, because he had just the right attitude and quite a knack for the business. Dave has been instrumental in bringing the company up technologically as well as advancing the marketing program. As a result, Con-Vey has been able to keep on expanding all the way.
The 1959 Roseburg blast resulted in the company’s involvement to restore parts of downtown Roseburg. As one of the few steel fabricators in the area Keystone was involved with some of the rebuilding. They fabricated all the steel for the US National Bank job in 1960 due to the blast. They have also done fabricating for Joseph Lane School, the Green & Tenmile schools, Sutherlin & Roseburg city halls (including the jails).
Con-Vey Wins Supplier of the Year Award at APA Annual Meeting
ROSEBURG, OR – Con-Vey is pleased to announce the award for Supplier of the Year from the APA – The Engineered Wood Association, which was presented at the APA Annual Meeting Chairman’s Dinner in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday, November 3rd.
Sales Manager, Jeremy Goebel, accepted the award on behalf of Con-Vey and later shared that he is “so proud of our team at Con-Vey for their effort to receive this award!”
Dave Larecy, President and CEO of Con-Vey, stated, “This is definitely a team win. Our mission at Con-Vey is to provide our customers with innovative solutions. We strive to be the best in terms of quality and customer satisfaction, and know that our products and services represent the end result of our collective efforts.” Larecy continued on to say, “our reputation as a company is a direct reflection of our products and services, so to be recognized by our peers as Supplier of the Year is an honor and means we have achieved our goal of quality and service.”
Con-Vey was selected among a total of 62 nominees in the Equipment/Tooling category. Supplier of the Year award winners are determined by a vote of APA members. Votes are cast based on quality, service, and delivery. www.engineeredwood.org/awards.