Hardcover pub. date
January 2015
ISBN 9780870717741 (hardcover)
5.5 x 8.5, 144 pages. B&W photographs.

American Dreamers

How Two Oregon Farm Kids Transformed an Industry, a Community, and a University

Ken Austin
Published by the Oregon State University Alumni Association with Kerry Tymchuk

Ken Austin rose from humble roots in rural Oregon to build a multi-million dollar international business, guided by a core set of principles and the tireless support of his wife and partner, Joan. Together they grew A-dec from a kitchen table operation into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of dental equipment, with markets in over 100 countries.

In American Dreamers, Ken Austin details the inventions, decisions, and guiding principles that gained A-dec worldwide respect and admiration. First introduced in 1975, and frequently imitated, the “A-dec Way” presents a 15-point operating philosophy governing all aspects of the company. With values such as showing respect for others and encouraging creativity, the “A-dec Way” provides a blueprint for quality, innovation, and compassion in the business world.

More than a conventional accounting of business, American Dreamers tells of personal adventures and obstacles along the way. From Joan’s conjuring of The Allison—a world-class resort spa—in the middle of Yamhill County, to his own long battle with alcoholism, Austin relates their struggles as well as their triumphs with courage, honesty, and grace.
This is the story of one of Oregon’s most important companies, a moving portrait of a marriage, and an inspiring look at the heart and mind of a remarkable man. Long-known for his philanthropy and contributions to Oregon’s cultural life, Ken Austin continues to give back with American Dreamers.

About the author

Ken Austin is co-founder of A-dec. A graduate of Oregon State University, Ken is named on forty U.S. patents and an additional thirty-three patents in countries outside the United States.

Read more about this author

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