KC Journey

THE STORY OF KC

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WHO WE ARE

We are a family-owned business made of people who care about creating unforgettable experiences that empower the spirit to Adventure Further®. Our mission is to illuminate life’s adventures by creating unique premium products while leaving a lasting impression and positive impact on the generations of people and communities we touch.

Richly diverse in our beliefs and perspectives, we are always united by our cause to Defy Limits and Adventure Further®. At the heart of KC is a family of adventurers who are willing to see beyond today’s limits and take ownership of tomorrow’s possibilities. We believe that limits are created by our beliefs and if we shift our beliefs then any result we seek is possible. Today, KC is a legendary story and continues to be an example of what is possible when we choose the paths less traveled.

OUR VISION (how we want to change the world)

To create unforgettable experiences that empower the spirit to Adventure Further.

OUR MISSION (how we achieve our vision every day)

To illuminate life’s adventures by creating unique premium products.

OUR CORE VALUE (what we stand for)

Quality relationships drive quality results

  • Be trusted and trust others.
  • Be respected and respectful of others.
  • Be intentional in using and receiving words.

OUR FUNDAMENTALS (the habits we practice every day)

  1. ALWAYS BE CURIOUS. Have ideas, opinions, and answers? Great, we’re curious about what they are! Come with your beliefs, truths, gut, and data with a focus on the solution. Do this by coming from a place of curiosity, not judgment; be open-minded and always ask “Why”. Listen generously with empathy and understanding, letting go of the need to agree, disagree or be right by putting the focus on what benefits the group, not just your own agenda.
  2. PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM-SOLVING. Apply your creativity and energy towards developing solutions, rather than pointing fingers and dwelling on problems. Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve so we don’t make the same mistakes again; fail forward.
  3. OWN EVERYTHING YOU DO. You are as much an owner in this company as anyone. Be ready and willing to do anything and everything, collaboratively, to push the ball forward and then some. If you drop a ball or make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and most importantly make it right. Take an ownership mindset and when you fail, always fail forward.
  4. HONOR YOUR COMMITMENTS. There’s no better way to earn people’s trust than to be true to your word. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. When you can’t, reset the expectations ahead so no one is surprised. This includes being on time for all meetings and commitments. Don’t surprise people, anticipate what you need to do to reset expectations ahead.
  5. CREATE LEGENDARY EXPERIENCES. Do the little things, as well as the big things, and blow people away. Create extraordinary experiences they’ll tell others about. Meeting expectations is for lesser companies; exceed expectations. Create loyalty by doing the unexpected.
  6. BE OBSESSIVELY ORGANIZED & DETAILED ORIENTED. Regardless of the impact of your work, if you can’t be accountable for multiple issues, tasks, or commitments, you won’t be a superstar. Use a task management system to prioritize and track your tasks. In parallel, focus on the quality of your work. From the spelling on a task to grammar in a document, the wording on a survey to the colors of a logo, details matters to us. Be a fanatic about double-checking your work. Get the details right.
  7. ASSUME POSITIVE INTENT. Work from the assumption that people are good, fair, and honest. Give them the benefit that the intent behind their actions is positive. Set aside your own judgments and preconceived notions so that you can meet everything with curiosity first.
  8. CHECK THE EGO AT THE DOOR. Our results are driven not by any single performer or accomplishment but by a collective effort of all departments and their people working together. Take pride in your work and be confident in your abilities but always stay humble and meet challenges and ugliness with humility and compassion.
  9. CELEBRATE OUR SUCCESSES. Remember that there are bigger problems than the challenges we face. Life will always have highs and lows so always keep an even perspective at the moment. Work on not taking things personally by being grateful and having fun on the journey. Celebrate past successes and regularly extend meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation – in all directions throughout our company.
  10. BE COMMITTED AND RESILIENT. A global pandemic is out of your control. People are out of your control. Financial markets are out of your control. Be committed to taking consistent actions every day and being resilient against things we can’t control. Consistent, methodical actions take you further. If we march at a consistent steady pace every day we will move forward despite the confusion, uncertainty, and even chaos happening around us.

HOW WE STARTED

Born from a thirst for adventure, KC was created out of necessity to navigate the darkest of roads, safely. Our founder Peter Kim Brown and his wife Carol, created the market for off-road lights in 1970 by retrofitting aircraft lights into sturdy housings, thus influencing off-road culture forever. KC’s name was formed from the “K” in Pete’s middle name and the “C” from Carol’s name.

Over the next few decades, Pete passed down the knowledge, traditions, and strategies to his son Michael DeHaas and the team at KC. Michael worked in the business starting in the warehouse learning and working his way to becoming KC’s sales manager. Working side by side with Pete building the brand and business until he bought the business from Pete in 2004 and became KC’s next CEO in 2005. For over 10 years Michael built key relationships and the strategic foundations across the company’s product line and infrastructure which set the company up for success in the years to come.

In 2015, after decades of a strong supply chain partnership, being long-time vendors and family friends with Pete and Michael, Mike, Alan, and Andy Wang became investors in KC and partners to Michael. By joining forces, two families become one united front with the ambition to continue preserving the legacy of the KC Brand while expanding the possibilities of off-road’s original lighting company. Today, Pete and Michael are still family friends and serve as advisors to the Wangs. The company has points of presence in Williams - Arizona, Los Angeles - California, and Taipei - Taiwan.

For over 50 years, the KC brand has been a symbol of outdoor freedom, adventure, and performance. We engineer features fit for off-road racing and infuse them into adventure products and experiences for those who prefer the paths less traveled. We are adventurers who stand to Defy Limits so we can Adventure Further by always building quality relationships that drive quality results.

Today, KC is still a story of family, quality, and innovation.

Copyright 1970 - 2022 KC HiLiTES Inc. All rights reserved.