Road to One Million
Milestones are meant to be celebrated, and the one-millionth of just about anything makes for a real milestone. An employee of Kustom Calls, the PRADCO Outdoor Brands company that produces all of Knight & Hale Game Call's turkey diaphragm calls and many other types of turkey calls, has reached that one millionth milestone.
Gary Phillips, of Mexico, Mo., recently hit that one million milestone when he created a Turkey Tech Boss Beard diaphragm call – the one millionth call he's made since becoming the first employee of Kustom Calls in the summer of 1995. He made the call, a Turkey Tech Boss Beard, on Feb. 15, 2007. It was laser engraved with "Gary's 1 Millionth Call" and it now resides in a special place at Phillips' home.
"In the early days Chris and I worked in his parent's basement, then in a shop behind their home," Phillips said. "This was a part-time job then. When the time came, the big thing was telling my parents and my ex-wife's parents that I was going to leave my job at a company that had been in business since 1906 to build turkey calls for a start-up business."
Parrish met his future wife, Kathleen, in 1996 and became the second full-time employee, or rather, "the boss," as Phillips called her during his toast to the couple as best man at their wedding.
There have been many changes and expansions at Kustom Calls since those humble beginnings, but one thing has remained the same, according to Phillips. That is a small-company attitude, one in which every employee must perform at a top level.
"Everyone here has that attitude - you can't have a weak link," Phillips said.
PRADCO Outdoor Brands acquired Kustom Calls in 2002 and retained Chris, Kathleen and the rest to oversee and manage the facility. The company now employs six and continues to grow.
"Gary was my first employee and one thing that always impressed me about him is that he always prides himself in manufacturing first class products," Parrish said. "I knew that his future would be bright here, and he'll be with the company until the end."