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James Stephenson

Lockport, Illinois

b. 1936


KineticSystems � beginning and end


By Jim Stephenson
April 18th, 2013

Recently, while delivering Meals on Wheels, I drove by KineticSystems and discovered that the sign had changed from �KineticSystems� to �Dynamic Signals.� For me, that represented the end of the KineticSystems that between 1971 and 1999 employed, at one time or another, nearly 800 people who lived in or near Lockport---a sad day, to say the least. But I rejoice in this success story that turned dreams, investment and risk into useful products, employment, community involvement and lives changed for the better.

In 1971 my friend Bob Cleary and I started KineticSystems Corporation and located it within the city limits of Lockport. The company�s product line was high-performance data acquisition equipment. I became the company�s first employee when I resigned from my engineering position at Fermi National Laboratory and reported to work in my basement on May 3rd, 1971. By 1981 the company had 150 employees, annual sales of $8 million, and customers around the world. The Lockport Texaco refinery closed in in 1981, and KineticSystems overnight became Lockport�s largest private employer. Most of the company's employees lived in Lockport. Bob and I managed and guided the company for 28 years before selling it in 1999 to two investors who wanted to run a high-tech company with a global marketplace. I retired from the company; Bob continued on and died suddenly from a heart attack while at work on August 23, 2001.

The workforce at KineticSystems has declined over the past decade to about a dozen employees. Prior to 1999, the company motto was: �We are the data acquisition experts.� In September, 1999, the new owners changed the motto to: �A new direction in data acquisition.� Hmmm...

YouTube links to compositions by James M. Stephenson, III.

"So one day in February, 2010 you write a trumpet etude, reflecting about your father's (James Stephenson's) melodic piano playing. And then later you add a piano accompaniment. Then, 5 years later, your good friend Scott Moore plays it with organ, and it sounds lovely!
Thanks, Scott!! Beautiful playing." Jim Stephenson, III, Sept. 30, 2015 - Scott Moore, trumpet; Kristin Lensch, organ; Calvary Episcopal Church, Memphis      Reflections

A composition in tribute to Adolph 'Bud' Herseth, longtime principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony. Performance at ITG 2013 features Chris Martin, current principal trumpet of the Chicago Symphony; Sally Stephenson, violin; Racheal Kerr, piano; and Barbara Butler, off-stage trumpet.      The Storyteller

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