Frank Koch, president and founder of DeFelsko Corporation, passed away on August 8, 2011. He was 77.
Born and raised in Germany, Frank was formally trained as a tool and die maker before emigrating in 1956. In the 1960’s, Frank’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to Ogdensburg, N.Y., where he started several successful businesses, including DeFelsko Corporation.
It was his involvement with coating thickness and test instruments that most defined his career. Frank began importing and selling inspection instruments from Germany in the early 1960’s and soon moved into manufacturing, beginning with the PosiTest mechanical pull-off gage and continuing with the ever-expanding PosiTector series of inspection instruments.
Frank’s extraordinary combination of a bright mind, outgoing personality, dedication and tireless work ethic influenced the products he made and the business relationships he developed. He travelled the world developing a network of dealers, and forged relationships based on handshakes and on the strength of his character. He attributed much of his success to his loyal customers and dealers across the globe.
His ability to understand the needs of the inspection community and to make instruments that were rugged and easy to use set Frank apart from his peers. Under his leadership, DeFelsko pioneered many technologies, including hand-held ultrasonic coating thickness gages, auto switching ferrous/non-ferrous coating thickness gages, and unique self-aligning adhesion testers.
Through his vision and the team he inspired, Frank’s company evolved from a one-man operation to a world leader in the design and production of quality, hand-held test equipment. Today, the company he started employs more than 50 people in Ogdensburg, N.Y., and houses research, manufacturing, sales, shipping and service departments.
Frank’s son-in-law, David Beamish, has assumed the responsibilities as president of the company. Frank’s daughter (and David’s wife), Linda Koch Beamish, retains her role as vice president. Both David and Linda had the privilege of working with Frank for almost 25 years and together with the entire DeFelsko family are committed to carrying his legacy forward.