09 Nov 2022
Generac Power Systems, Inc., (NYSE: GNRC) a leading global designer and manufacturer of energy technology solutions and other power products, announced the passing of Generacfounder Robert D. Kern at the age of 96. Kern passed away on November 8th.
In 1959, Kern started Generac with just five employees in a garage in Wales, Wisconsin. An engineer by training, he spent the next several decades growing Generac into an industry leader through the development of new products and the creation of new markets for the Company's innovative generator and engine technologies. Generac was the first company to commercialize portable, engine-driven generator sets and the use of these technologies was expanded to other markets including permanently installed, emergency backup generators used to protect critical infrastructure, homes, and businesses around the globe.
After nearly five decades of incredible growth and leadership, Kern sold his company in 2006 to focus on philanthropy. Generac subsequently became a public company in 2010 and today is one of the world's leading companies focused on energy technology-related products and solutions.
"Bob's passing is a tremendous loss for the Generac family and the larger community," said Aaron Jagdfeld, president and chief executive officer. "His forward-thinking vision laid the solid foundation for what Generac is today. I had the distinct honor of working with Bob for nearly 15 years, and he continued to serve as a mentor to me and to others well into his retirement. He was a true entrepreneur in every sense of the word as his work ethic, tenacity, and innovative spirit are the embodiment and the defining characteristics that live on in our Company today."
In addition to providing opportunities for thousands of employees and their families through his leadership at Generac, Kern was also a strong believer in giving back and making a difference in the community. He and his late wife, Patricia, established the Kern Family Foundation in 1998 with a mission dedicated to enhancing lives by promoting the value of work, developing the formation of good character, increasing educational achievement, and instilling an entrepreneurial mindset. The Kern Family Foundation has donated generously to numerous local organizations in the Milwaukee area, including transformational gifts to the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and Marquette University's College of Engineering. In addition to local area giving, the Foundation has been active in supporting many nationwide programs, causes, and organizations focused on initiatives that have long-term, systemic impact. These include generous gifts to create the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery to help improve patient's health care experiences, as well as the creation of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network and important education-related funding for programs such as Project Lead the Way.
Kern is survived by his three daughters, as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Generac Power Systems | https://www.generac.com/