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Industry Mourns Centek VP Ken Harstel

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Ken Harstel, a 40-year veteran in the marine exhaust industry and an executive with Centek Industries, died last month, the company said in a tribute yesterday. Harstel was 62.

Harstel joined the marine division of Vernay Products in 1981 and was later tasked with moving the Ohio plant to Thomasville, Ga., where it became Centek.

“Ken poured his heart and soul into Centek as the vice president of operations and, more recently, a partner and shareholder in the company,” the company stated. “Known for his lightning-fast wit and mischievous, good-natured sense of humor, Ken was a mentor of the highest order. Ken’s zeal for excellent customer service was widely known.

“In Ken’s words, if you first take care of the customer and the quality of the products, everything else will more easily fall into place. Ken also had an encyclopedic knowledge of Centek products and took great delight in helping customers solve problems and find exactly what they needed.”

Harstel died April 27, the company said. He is survived by his wife, three daughters and five grandchildren.

Harstel’s obituary can be read here.

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