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Jim Cowden worked many places in the 70’s and 80’s much of the time multiple jobs at once, but from his youth always wanted to own his own business. The late 80’s were a tough period on a personal level; it was a trying time, getting divorced and with 2 small children who were moved halfway across the country. He met and married Marsha in 1990, both working hard and bringing together their two families. In 1992 they started a business journey with their own AMWAY business. They did well enough that Marsha could leave her job and come home as a full-time mom. In 1993 they purchased a speed-timing calibration business from lifelong friend Lou Staccone and the game was on!
During the 90’s the most important thing happened for them; they began a journey with their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It was subtle, slow, and continues to grow and strengthen to this day.
Also in the 90’s, Jim and Marsha teamed up with an electrical engineer from YIS, Inc. of York PA, Rob Keough, who had an interest in designing and building speed-timing products. Only God knew where all this would lead. As it turns out, it lead to Rob and his father buying Powl’s Speedometer Service in Lancaster PA in which Jim would later buy out the fathers shares; it lead to the formation of a new corporation YIS/Cowden Group, Inc. (YCG). Rob and Jim would also help another start-up, NICHE, Inc. a truck repair business in NY. – This is a story in and of itself, but the short version is a friend of Jim’s, Mike Wyant, had an idea to build cooling and heating exchangers for semi trucks (New Innovations in Cooling & Heating Exchangers, NICHE). Rob and Jim worked with him to build on that and start the truck repair shop. In 2011 Mike and his wife Donna were able to purchase Rob and Jim’s shares and continue to grow their business to this day. – During this same time period, Rob and Jim purchased YIS, Inc. from Rob’s father, Bob Keough, so he could retire. They also took on a couple of shareholders at Powl’s, Hai Dao and Ricky Peters Jr.
In 2013, a challenge was given to YCG to find a simpler, more economical way to test AWD speedometers for police calibrations. YCG consulted with Ricky Peters Jr. at Powl’s who has a background in fabrication and building race cars. Following the design, build, testing, and patent process a plan was laid out to form a new corporation for this equipment, Accelerated Speed Dynamics. ASD was born with a group from all the businesses – Jim Cowden, Rob Keough, Ricky Peters, Jr., Jake Cowden and the addition of Dan “Smitty” Smith, Jr.!
Where will this journey end? Only the Lord knows that, but it’s been a heck of a ride and we look forward to continuing to follow his lead to where ever he wants it to go!
Thanks for the business and God Bless you! ~ Jim
Jake joined YCG in February 2007 starting out as a calibration & service technician. He quickly progressed to scheduling make-up cals, service, and planning out the yearly calibration schedule. He now handles the day-to-day operations of YCG as well as leading service and in-house repairs. He fills in on cal runs when needed.
Jake grew up with an interest in anything that had a motor, disassembling and reassembling everything he owned (sometimes with success!) always with an interest of how things worked. Growing up in Iowa, he worked from a young age in an automotive repair and machine shop and went to the local race track every Friday night helping on race teams. He worked on cars throughout school and after graduation before doing it full-time.
Jake moved to Colorado for 3 years seeking a change and worked mostly in the retail environment. After realizing this wasn’t for him, he packed up and moved back to PA to start work at YCG.
Outside of work Jake still enjoys all things with a motor. If there’s racing going on, he’s interested. He enjoys going to Arenacross and Supercross races with his wife and daughter, spending time outdoors, riding his ATV, grilling up good food and sharing laughs with friends and family.
Brad has been with YCG since January 2011 serving as a Calibration Tech and primary contact for all make up calibrations. He is a big part of the Speedometer calibrations and helps with on site service and in house repairs.Outside of work, Brad has 2 boys and spends many nights at the ball field Coaching/helping with the youth for the East Lycoming Little League. When baseball isn’t calling, Brad enjoys spending his down time in the woods hunting.
Mike has been with YCG since November 2012 serving as a Calibration Technician and more recently the Training Coordinator. Mike is the primary contact for law enforcement agencies that require training on speed-timing devices.Outside of work, Mike has devoted much of his spare time to serving his community as a volunteer firefighter, with 35 years of service as a Life Member of Independent Hose Co. #1 in Jersey Shore, PA.Mike is a father of 3 who enjoys camping and fishing along with a variety of outdoor sports and activities.
Christine joined YCG in April of 2017, as our Customer Service and Front End Representative. Virtually all of the paperwork for calibrations goes through Christine and she is the voice on the other end of the phone when you have questions about calibrations or invoicing.
She comes to the company with a 12 year Emergency Police and Fire Communications background. Along with communications, Christine worked with local Police departments to get their officers trained in using JNET and PSPortal applications, to aid them in traffic stops and background checks.
Outside of work, Christine is an avid San Francisco 49ers fan, as well as a Nittany Lions fan. She loves to travel, having spent much of 2016 doing so, from New York to Florida to Colorado. Relaxing with a book or crocheting baby blankets are hobbies.
Christine is also the proud mother of two children. Her son is an Eagle Scout, having attained that honor in September of 2016, and will be a senior in high school for the 2017-18 year. Her daughter is an artist, who loves to spend her free time painting canvases for family and friends, a cheerleader, and will be in 8th grade in 2017.
Dwayne studied Architectural Technology in college but, due to occasional setbacks in the industry, was forced to find work in other areas. He has worked in sales, customer service, product promotions, security, and a few other areas in the past 18 years before coming to YIS/Cowden Group. He stared with the company in November 2017 as a Calibration Technician.
He is married to his wonderful wife, Robyn, and they have two kids. Billy, 21, a baseball hopeful looking to start his own business and Heather, 18, studying Theatre, with minors in Dance and Mass Communications at Bloomsburg University.
In his free time Dwayne enjoys designing homes, creating anything using his imagination, and spending time with his family. He enjoys being outside, working around the house, and spending time with friends and extended family.
Dan “Smitty” Smith, Jr. is our Director of Powder Coating for Accelerated Speed Dynamics (ASD) and Building Facilitator. He joined us with over 20 years of experience in welding and metal fabrication along with years of experience in employee management and customer service. Smitty has the experience and creative mindset to conquer the most challenging of tasks.
Smitty is an asset to ASD and YCG in that he is helping with further development of the “Speedometer Testing Platform”. From design and build to onsite calibrations including motorcycles, he is a team player and leader.
Outside of work, Smitty enjoys spending time with his family. He loves traveling, motorcycle riding, old cars, bicycling, bee keeping and hunting. He is also a member of Fairlawn Community Church where he and his daughter, Arlie, volunteer their time on Wednesday nights at a youth ministry, “Kidz Club”.