Ken Tharp, COO

Ken Tharp has been the Operations Manager for Schantz Mfg since 2004. He is an integral part of the company, involved in every facet of our daily operations and is also a minority owner in Schantz.

Ken was born and grew up in Elizabethtown, Kentucky where he graduated from East Hardin High School and immediately joined the United States Air Force. Ken spent 16 years in the Air Force as a logistics specialist. He was stationed in Korea, Germany, numerous locations in the United States, and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1995, Ken was hired by Akebono Brake Mfg LLC to relocate their Chicago, IL manufacturing operations to Munfordville, KY. While with Akebono, he completed numerous Toyota Production and lean manufacturing training classes at automotive component part plants throughout Japan and North America. He served as the Plant Operations Supervisor for the Munfordville, KY plant until 1997 when he was hired as the Business Unit Manager for Interlake MHD based in Naperville, IL. While with Interlake, Ken received extensive Goldratt Training and was a key leader in implementing ERP software for multiple plants throughout North America.

In March 2001, Ken left Interlake MHD to accept the position of Plant Manager for Dow Products which is located in St. Louis, MO. He worked for Dow Products until August 2004, at which time he started working for Schantz.

Ken has a broad academic background. He received numerous academic honors and achievements plus he holds multiple college degrees through the CC Air Force, University of Maryland, St. Leo University, and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He holds a MBA through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Ken is married to Connie Williamson of Belleville, Illinois and has four children, Lisa, Chris, Leslie, and Mike.

In his spare time Ken attends bike rallies and works on his Harley.