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Our Founder | Ed McIlhon

"To whom much is given, much is expected." 

A true one in a million, API is proud to always call Ed our founder (or the big dog, as he's referred to around here). His larger than life personality created a fun work environment, loyal team and love from our stakeholders. He knew he was given much, and therefore he gave all he had.  

Ed's Story

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Ed McIlhon got his start in the fastener industry at the age of 14.  He loved to tell the story about how his father, Dan McIlhon, taught him a great lesson by having him separate some rusty old nuts and bolts.  As the founder of Iowa Industrial Products, Dan sent those piles to be cleaned, plated and returned as shiny new fasteners.  That education not only secured Ed’s lifelong commitment to the fastener industry, but crafted his philosophy that he can make anything work. 

Ed continued to learn from his Dad and was officially hired on as an outside sales associate during his junior year of college in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  Ed stayed in Cedar Falls and shortly after graduation, he expanded his Dad’s fastener distribution company, Iowa Industrial Products (IIP).  He secured an order from John Deere and spent the next 45 years learning to integrate their business into those of their customers.  As general manager and then president, he took IIP from a $3 million company in 1986 to a $56 million company in 1998.  Along the way, Ed played an integral role in negotiating a functional version of the Fastener Quality Act serving as Co-Chairman of the Public Law Task Force and testifying before Congress on behalf of the industry. Additionally, he served as president of the National Fastener Distributor Association in 1995. 

His success with IIP led to the sale of the Company to Bossard in 1999.  Ed served as president of Bossard Industrial Products until 2005 when he purchased their Kits and Bundling unit.  He took that unit and created what is today Assembled Products, Inc.  It appears Ed’s success rate will continue as API’s current customers are already acknowledging the Company’s industry excellence. 

Ed passed away in 2022, but his legacy will forever guide the direction of API. He left the reigns in the very able hands of his wife of 52 years, Joey, their son, Casey, son-in-law, Matt Ulrich and a loyal team who will work harder than any to preserve what he created. 

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