August 26, 2022 – Osborne, Kansas USA – On August 16, 2022, the employee owners of Osborne Industries, Inc., celebrated the 44-year career of Vicki (Fogo) Corbett, long-time company Vice President and Customer Service Manager. Corbett’s legacy with Osborne Industries will live on for years, as she was a positive and humble role model for all those who had the pleasure of working with her. She was a mentor to countless employees over a career that spanned more than four decades, and she retires with the longest tenure of any employee to have worked at Osborne Industries since its beginning in 1973.
Corbett started her career as the receptionist in the company’s early years when the facility was a fraction of what it is today. Over the years, she was an integral piece in the company’s success and expansion which included exporting products to over 45 countries and a headquarters which includes more than 240,000 sq. ft. of warehouse, production and office space. As the company grew, so did Corbett’s roles and responsibilities. These roles grew to managing the customer service, warehouse, sales, and marketing departments, and she was named the company’s Vice President in 2014. She has been a member of the company’s Board of Directors since 2011.
In those early years, when Osborne Industries employed only a handful of employees, Corbett fondly remembered feeling her coworkers were like family. “When I started, most of my coworkers were around my age, and working in a small space made it easy to become friends with everyone. We played in softball tournaments and often attended social events around the area together,” Corbett recalled.
When she began working directly with customers, Corbett recalled how everything – literally everything – was done manually. Customer invoices were typed on a typewriter and inventory was all manually tracked with paper and pencil. Orders came through over the phone, and as the “information age” took shape and e-mail became the dominant mode of communication, Corbett came to miss the one-on-one contact she had in the early years with customers and dealers, when everything was done over the phone.
Upon the release of the Big Wheel® hog feeder, Osborne Industries became a nationally-recognized livestock equipment supplier, and at its peak, processed several hundred orders monthly. Corbett’s calm demeanor, and attention to detail in the midst of rapid expansion, helped propel Osborne Industries into a multi-million-dollar company. “The Big Wheel feeder gave us national recognition, and at one point, we operated seven sales centers around the country to supply farmers with our livestock feeding, weighing, and ventilation equipment,” Corbett stated. “A local trucking company even incorporated an Osborne Industries logo on the side of a couple trucks because they hauled load after load of our feeders across the country for several years.”
Inevitably, Corbett witnessed countless changes to Osborne Industries’ business over her decades-long career. She remembered the first computerized central business system the company operated, traveling to Kansas City to trial the computer system that did nothing but offer order entry, invoicing, purchasing, accounts payable/receivable, payroll, and inventory processing for manufacturers. She remembered the transition from the “hand-layup” process of fiberglass-reinforced composite molding to the Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process that is still a huge part of the company’s business today. She was involved in the release of several Osborne-branded products that are marketed globally, including the company’s first export order to Japan in the late 1970s. Corbett was instrumental in the company’s export business, being essential to the success of several multi-million-dollar sales of livestock equipment in Russia, Australia, Canada, and Brazil, to name a few. When Osborne began custom molding composite components for other companies across the country, Corbett gained experience in working with customers in a wide array of industries beyond agriculture, including transportation, construction and heavy machinery, and much more.
Over the span of a 44-year career, Corbett witnessed a lot of change at Osborne Industries, and expressed her sincere gratitude to her coworkers, especially those who continue to work hard in the various production areas. “It is their efforts – and I hope they realize that – that have made our business what it is today. The quality and excellent workmanship of our products is what Osborne Industries was built upon.”
A native of rural Esbon, Kan., Corbett resides in Osborne with her husband, Brad. Together they have four children: Niki, Clint, Ross and Casey; seven grandchildren: Jerid, Jayden, Logan, Jaycie, Olive, Sophia, and Delilah; and one great-grandson, Nicklaus.
The employee owners of Osborne Industries, Inc., and the entire community of Osborne thank Vicki for her contributions to the company and community, and wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement.