During their weekly meeting on Thursday, the Carmi Kiwanis Club heard from Carmi’s own Curt Kessler, Light Duty Plant Manager at
Champion Laboratories. The plant was founded in 1955 in West Salem by Howard Gaither under the name Kleen Pak. Filters were made in a garage and delivered throughout the region. It expanded in 1966 to Albion. After many changes in ownership over the years, since 2011 Champion Laboratories has been owed by Black Rock, JP Morgan and Credit Swiss banks.
There are two facilities in Albion producing oil and air filters. Albion is also home to a test lab. The company also has a location in Michigan that makes fuel filters. The corporate office is located in Toledo, OH with satellite offices in Chicago and Albion.
The Albion location makes 120 million filters a year, accounting for one third of all US oil changes. In addition, the Albion facility stamps out over 1 billion parts per year. They have 7 primary lines and have 1166 employees. They sell to several companies including GM, Ford and Chrysler.
In club business, the club welcomed several guests including two Key Club members. The club is also continuing to make plans for the October Corn Day celebration.