One of a company’s greatest assets is its people. Kice Industries is very fortunate to have gifted, dedicated, and customer-focused employees. We would like you to learn a little bit more about our people of Kice, both professionally and personally.
Meet Les Brin
Senior Controls Specialist
How long have you been with Kice and Tell me a little bit about your day-to-day job/responsibilities/role you play with customers?
I have been with Kice for 25 Years. The first five years were in the Drafting Department, where I started out doing drawing database entry and running/delivering hard copies of drawings to the shop foremen. I graduated to doing drawings and, eventually, system layout. When I started, we did not have an Automation Department in-house; all electrical/Automation was farmed out to 3rd parties. When we began our Automation department with my boss Syed, we needed someone to help with the electrical schematics, so I moved to that position. The two of us worked together for several years until that part of the business started to grow. Our department currently consists of 15 people.
My day-to-day can have a wide variance. I may be specifying a $100 sensor or designing a multi-million-dollar automated system, writing PLC/HMI Code, or hand sketching control circuit schematics. I work with our in-house engineers/designers to specify standard electrical components for our equipment, and I work directly with customers to provide customized control solutions.
Working at Kice
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the problem-solving aspects of my job. I enjoy digging into “problem” situations and trying to figure out a new/better way to solve the problem. It seems every customer has a different challenge area, and I take pride in helping solve those challenges.
Can you share one of the things that are unique about working at Kice?
Kice has always truly been a “People First” company. From helping our own to helping our community and customers, there’s always been a personal touch and a willingness to help folks out.
What have been some of your most rewarding on-the-job experiences?
I have had the pleasure of working with many great customers throughout the years; one of my favorites has been about 15 years’ worth of projects and expansions at the Grain Craft facility in Ogden, UT. We started with a facility that was barely automated at all, and over those years, we have upgraded nearly every system from grain receiving to flour shipping. I’ve worked with at least four facility managers and four mill superintendents (all great people). There is an added benefit of being a pretty nice place to visit once or twice a year.
The most rewarding experience, though, has been watching our department grow from its humble beginnings of just Syed to the dozen or so employees that we have added throughout the years. We’ve become a respected name for Automation in the industries we serve, and I’m proud to be a part of that.
Personal Side of Les
Tell us a little bit about your family
I am the youngest of three (two sisters). I grew up in a tiny town in Northwest Kansas and have lived in Kansas all my life. In 2005 my wife, Julie, and I were married. She is from Indiana but transplanted to attend Kansas University and volunteer in the local non-profit community. We do not have any human children, but we enjoy spending time with our Rhodesian Ridgeback fur babies, Mocha & Latte`.
Fill in the blank: The famous person I would most like to meet is…
Mike Rowe. He seems to be an honest down to Earth-type, and I’ll bet he’s got some great stories.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
When someone wastes my time, oh, and when they empty the coffee pot and don’t make more.
What was the first job you had growing up?
I come from a rural background, so I did a fair amount of farm type work. The first real (W2) job was at the local grain elevator, cleaning up after a storage bin caught fire internally. I smelled so bad of burnt then waterlogged grain, and Mom would not even let me in the house when I got off work. I had to undress in the garage and head straight for the shower.
Three things you enjoy:
Hot-Rods, Baseball/Softball, Reading.
Three things you don’t:
Lines, Breakdowns, Dentist Appointments.
What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing this?
Hard to say. As a kid, I wanted to be a race car driver; that still sounds fun.
What’s the one movie you will always stop and watch when channel surfing?
What is the first concert you attended?
I think it was Ronnie Milsap, at the Rooks County Fair, with my folks. The first one I attended by choice was Joan Jett & the Blackhearts at the Ellis Country Fair.
When you get in your car, what music will we hear?
Most likely Clutch or Tool.
Pineapple pizza Yah or Nay?
I worked at Pizza Hut, so I am a professional. Pineapple does not belong anywhere near a pizza!
What’s your weirdest habit?
My wife would have to answer that; I don’t consider any of mine to be weird.
How would you spend a million dollars in 24 hours?
Big garage, a full spread of tools and lots of toys to work on.
What skill do you think everyone should learn?
Managing personal finances.