Our History – Humble Beginnings
Established in 1942 and working from his home, Harold Werdin began what was then, General Fire Equipment Company. Like many young entrepreneurs at the time, Harold grew his loyal customer base with old-fashioned personal contact and relationship building. At the time, the focus was primarily on simply providing fire extinguishers to fire departments and businesses or public buildings. He grew the company along with a brother to two locations, Oshkosh and Milwaukee.
In the late 1950’s Gary Kassube, Harold’s son-in-law began working for the business, which began a path of substantial growth. With Gary’s energy and insight, the company grew the product line to accommodate the growing needs of local fire departments. Items such as protective clothing and gear quickly became very popular and in demand. As fire science grew ever more sophisticated, the product lines continued to grow.
By 1985 Gary would purchase the business from Harold, and change the name to Oshkosh Police and Fire Equipment. Gary moved the business to its current location in Oshkosh and sold off his interest in General Fire Equipment Company. During this time he continued to grow the product line to not only cater to fire equipment industry, but also law enforcement.
In 2000, Gary passed away unexpectedly, and ownership of the thriving company transferred to his three daughters. What started as a family owned business continued, with one daughter responsible for managing the business along with a sales and customer service team. Recently, the managing sister determined it was time to retire, and the remaining sisters purchased her interest in the business.
Today, sisters Vicki Kassube Dittmer and Karen Kassube Moxon own Oshkosh Police and Fire Equipment. Daily operations are overseen and run by Wanda Schulz, Manager.