Visionary Leader of BendPak Don Henthorn Passes Away at 85

Henthorn grew the business under the ethos: "We outwork everybody."


Don Henthorn, founder and visionary leader of BendPak Inc., passed away peacefully at his home on March 28 at the age of 85. His departure marks the end of an era for BendPak, a company that, under his guidance, evolved from a modest machine shop into a global powerhouse in the automotive service equipment sector.

Henthorn's strategic foresight and leadership steered BendPak through decades of growth and innovation, establishing it as a leading name in the manufacturing of car lifts and automotive service equipment.

"Don's visionary leadership and unwavering dedication have been the cornerstone of BendPak's success," said BendPak President and CEO Jeff Kritzer. "His legacy lives on through the values and principles he instilled in our company."

Henthorn's journey began in the U.S. Army, after which he ventured into the aerospace industry, acquiring skills that would lay the foundation for his future entrepreneurial success. His early venture, Quality Machine & Associates, laid the groundwork for what would become BendPak, as Henthorn transitioned from aerospace to automotive, responding to the needs of the muffler shop industry with innovative products.

Throughout the years, BendPak expanded its reach and product line, now boasting manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide and employing more than 275 people. The company's growth culminated in the move to a new LEED Platinum certified headquarters in Agoura Hills, CA, and the development of the BendPak Industrial Complex in Alabama.

Henthorn's philosophy was simple yet profound: "We outwork everybody." This ethos, coupled with a commitment to excellence and innovation, drove BendPak's success and industry leadership. His approach to business and product development ensured that BendPak's commitment to quality and customer satisfaction remained paramount.

Henthorn's influence extended beyond the boardroom and factory floor. He was a beloved figure, known for his hands-on involvement in product development and his personal connection with employees and customers alike. His dedication to the BendPak family and the broader automotive service industry was evident in his daily presence at the office and his direct communication with stakeholders.

Henthorn is survived by his wife, Ginger, daughter, Susan, and grandchildren, who, along with the entire BendPak community, mourn the loss of a true pioneer.

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