The History of
George Risk Industries
George Risk Industries was founded by its namesake, George Risk, in 1965 as a publicly traded parts and products design and manufacturing company. The company was originally located in Columbus, Nebraska, but was later relocated to Kimball, Nebraska—where it remains today.
The main product line when the company formed was push-button reed switches, but George developed many other products over his lifetime—including many of the standard burglar alarm switches sold today.
After George’s passing in 1989, his youngest son, Ken Risk, was appointed President and CEO by the Board of Directors.
When Ken passed in 2013, his daughter Stephanie Risk-McElroy took over as CEO and has remained at the head of the company since.
GRI continues to design new, innovative products while providing the excellent quality and customer service that have earned the business of customers for over 50 years.
Past and Present Leadership
Chief Executive Officer, President, and Board Chair since 2013
Stephanie Risk-McElroy joined the GRI accounting staff in 1999 after graduating with a degree in accounting from Hastings College. She had previously worked at Platte Valley Sales as Staff Accountant and at Kershner’s Auto Korner as Accounting Manager.
She was promoted to GRI’s Chief Financial Officer in 2012, and was appointed as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer following her father’s passing in 2013.
Stephanie oversees accounting and the day-to-day operations of George Risk Industries, while also serving on GRI’s Board of Directors.
Chief Executive Officer, President, and Board Chair from 1989 to 2013
Ken Risk attended Omaha’s Pratt Individual School of Learning and graduated in 1966. He served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam from 1969 to 1971, and married Bonnie Borer a year later. Between 1971 and 1980, Ken worked various jobs before founding Platte Valley Sales and Service, Inc.—a wholesale company specializing in residential and commercial lighting— in Hastings, Nebraska in 1981.
When George Risk died in 1989, Ken assumed his father’s duties as President and CEO of George Risk Industries, Inc. Ken maintained both businesses until 1996, when he sold Platte Valley Sales and Service to focus on George Risk Industries. Under his leadership, George Risk Industries grew from 75 employees to more than 150, added a 10,000 square foot building to the main plant and opened a satellite plant in Gering, Nebraska.
Ken was very involved in the Tom & Nancy Osborne Teammates Mentoring Program and served on the Program Board from 2003 to 2009, its Foundation Board from 2008 to 2013, and on the Kimball Area Teammates Board of Directors. Additionally, he served on the Nebraska Aeronautics Board of Directors, Kimball County Aeronautics Board of Directors, and the Greater Nebraska Work Task Force’s Board of Directors.
Founder, Chief Executive Officer, President, and Board Chair from 1965 to 1989
Born in 1912, George Risk was interested in electricity at an early age. By age 17, he was entertaining audiences in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area using transformers and Tesla coils to generate 500,000 volts, which created a man-lifting magnet and the Jacob’s Ladder phenomenon. Soon after, George owned and operated a radio shop in Wood, South Dakota.
In 1938, George moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he started Electronic Development Corporation, a company that researched perfecting war weapons and peacetime luxuries. During that time, he also operated an electronic radio-television institute to train 7,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines, and women to serve as communications clerks for World War II.
Not long after the war, in 1949, George became Executive Vice President of American TB Laboratories, a manufacturer of television tubes in Chicago.
In 1951, George and his wife, Eileen, relocated with their children to Columbus, Nebraska, where he started a new company. Named after their eldest son, Dale Electronics soon became a leading manufacturer of precision resistors, with over 2600 people employed. George later lost controlling interest before starting George Risk Industries in 1965.
LSDI Acquired by GRI
On October 10, 2017 George Risk Industries, Inc. (GRI) acquired Labor Saving Devices, Inc. (LSDI).
At the time of the acquisition, GRI President Stephanie Risk McElroy said: “We are excited about adding the LSDI line to the GRI family. Over the years, we have looked at a variety of companies, but when Roy Bowling presented the offer to acquire, the two product lines seemed to be a natural fit. The LSDI product line complements our existing product line and will allow GRI to expand into other industries, including cable, communications, etc. We are both homegrown companies with a strong commitment to quality and customer service. Mr. Bowling was an early member of the Board of Directors at GRI and an industry innovator. We look forward to expanding our product line and markets, both state-side and internationally.”
Roy Bowling, Owner and Chairman of LSDI, added: “I am pleased and proud to hand over the 35-year legacy of Labor Saving Devices, Inc. to such a high-quality company. As a former board member, I have great respect for the history and tradition of George Risk Industries, Inc. I would not have sold my business to anyone else.”
This exciting merge is another of the many ways GRI continues to offer high-quality product lines to an increasing range of industries.