Even though Sigma Tek has only been around since 1983, it has a long, rich history. People such as Captain Lewis A. Yancy, Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Colonel Jimmy Dolittle and Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh have indirectly been a part of Sigma Tek's past through their association with EDO Corporation and Aircraft Radio Corporation, know to us today simply as ARC.
The actual Wichita operations started in June, 1950 by Ray Erwin who had two other employees and was known as Erwin Sales Company. Mr. Erwin incorporated on September 1, 1951 and on March 1, 1952, Erwin Sales Company, Inc. was reorganized as Garwin Inc. In the early days, Garwin was primarily engaged in re-building surplus aircraft instruments and accessories for use by the "light aircraft industry". In 1952, manufacturing capabilities were added to the Garwin operations.
The founder and president, Ray Erwin, passed away in 1961 after a brief illness.
The sixties brought about three ownership changes. In mid 1963, the majority stock interest of Garwin, Inc. was purchased by Glen H. (Red) Curruth of Dallas, Texas, a business associate and close friend of Ray Erwin. Garwin-Carruth, Inc. was sold in 1966 to Weston Instruments, Inc., a capital rich Schlumberger company.
During the next three years, an aggressive expansion program in facilities, products and market was undertaken. Weston's foreign markets were successfully expanded to include both South America and Europe.
In 1969, EDO Corporation of College Point, New York purchased the Wichita Division of the Weston Instrument Company. That same year EDO acquired the stock of Electronic Equipment Engineering, Inc. (EEE) of Dallas. EEE designed and produced radio/audio control equipment for long range aircraft. These acquisitions by EDO completed its entry into the general aviation market ("light aircraft industry"). EEE was moved to Wichita in 1970.
The next decade saw general aviation reach its pinnacle, producing over 18,000 new aircraft in 1978 alone. But due to soaring product liability costs, fuel costs, governmental actions, and other economic factors, a sharp decline in the industry started the next year. By 1987, fewer than 1600 general aviation aircraft were produced.
In late 1982, EDO made a business decision to divest itself of the EDO-Aire Group practically ending a sixty year presence in the aviation industry. In April, 1983, four key executives of EDO-Aire Wichita formed Sigma Tek, Inc. and subsequently purchased the assets of EDO-Aire Wichita from EDO Corporation on May 25, 1983 and a new era had begun.
Since its formation, Sigma Tek has continued to manufacture and distribute aviation instruments, accessories and control panels to the worldwide aviation industry. We are continuously conducting research and development for improvement of our current product line as well as for the development of new products.
On May 1, 1986, Sigma Tek moved its entire operation to a new, modern, 42,500 square foot facility in Augusta, Kansas.
On September 1, 1987, Sigma Tek purchased Aircraft Radio Corporation (ARC) from Honeywell, Inc. Prior to its purchase by Honeywell in late 1983, ARC had been a wholly owned subsidiary of Cessna Aircraft. It is interesting to note that at the time when general aviation was at its highest, ARC was by far our largest customer. Through ARC, we service and support nearly all of the avionics and flight control systems for Cessna Aircraft.
In 1990 Sigma Tek decided to delve into the development and marketing of new state-of-the-art digital radio/audio control panels for the commercial aviation market. Since then Sigma Tek has made many breakthroughs in the advancement of technology. Our plans are to continue on in this age old tradition.
Even though Sigma Tek is a small company, we are a major force in the general aviation community. In our brief history we have managed to grow and be profitable throughout the dedication and hard work of our employees. This performance was during a period in which general aviation was suffering one of the worst downturns of any industry in our nation's history.
We are proud of our heritage and hope that you will help us to continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead. As we begin in the new millennium, we are enthusiastic about our prospects.