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., now known as YCG, Inc. 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 shareholder at Powl’s, 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!
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 & UTV, grilling up good food and sharing laughs with friends and family.
Dan “Smitty” Smith, Jr. is our Director of Powder Coating and Building Facilitator for Accelerated Speed Dynamics (ASD). He came to ASD at the start of May 2016 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 on-site calibrations, 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”.
Lou was a police officer for over 35 years retiring as a Chief of Police. He has been involved in RADAR sales, service and training for over 40 years. He has trained officers in the use of Time/Distance speed-timing devices for over 25 years. He’s company, Targetron, was the manufacturer of the ESP TK-100 IR that is a PA approved device.
Lou is currently an intricate person at YCG, involved in sales, manufacturing, equipment refurbishing, training, & repair of all timing devices including RADAR.
Jonathan is originally from the Frederick, MD area, but left after graduating from high school in 1999 to attend Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. He graduated from college in 2003 with a B.S. degree in Computer Management Information Systems.
Jonathan quickly realized that his heart was meant to serve others so in 2005 he began his career in Law Enforcement for the city of Lynchburg, VA. He was following his late father’s footsteps who served for over 30 years in Arlington County, Va.
In 2010, Jonathan, his wife and two young sons decided to relocate to the Williamsport area to be closer to family, where he continued working in law enforcement for the city of Williamsport until 2014. Since their move to Williamsport their family welcomed a baby girl. Jonathan and his wife spend the best part of their day, away from work, taking their three young children to various sporting practices and school events.
Chris has been in the electrical field since the age of seventeen. During his time in the U.S. Army he was a Communications Specialist where he worked in Tactical Communications, Information Management, and Communication Security. After leaving active duty of the Military, Chris entered into the Security Industry where he was hired by a company in western Washington to design and install an FM Communication Network on new and existing Security and Fire Alarm Controls. During that time he made it a point to begin learning everything he could about security and fire alarm systems. Chris has spent the rest of his time since then continuing his education in the Electronic Notification Industry, where he has been recognized as the “go-to guy” for Burglar Alarms, Fire Alarms, Surveillance Systems, Commercial Audio, Automation Systems, Access Control Systems, and Structured Cabling.
Now Chris is thrilled to be a part of YCG where he not only utilizes his current skills, but has been made a part of a team that is second to none in the speed-timing industry, and much, much more.
Brad has been with YCG since Jaunary 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 to spend his down time in the woods hunting.
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 YCG. He stared with the company in November 2017 as a Calibration Technician and is now involved with our online sales.
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.
Bob comes to YCG as a calibration technician after retiring from a 27 year career with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He enjoys working in the close team environment and is excited about the future of YCG and his contribution to it.
He is married to his wonderful wife Shelley. They have two adult children, a son and a daughter. They are active members of the First United Methodist Church of Muncy and enjoy volunteering in various ministries.
Outside of work Bob enjoys spending time with his family which usually involves some kind of outdoor activity. They enjoy camping, boating, skiing, kayaking and hiking. Bob has also been involved in some sort of motorsports racing his entire life. Most recently he can found competing at SCCA Autocross events around the state.
Amber came to YCG in January 2018 as our Front End Assistant and Shipping and Receiving person. She brings with her qualifications and experience from college and previous work experience.
After joining the U.S. Army at 17, Amber has studied Pre-Med at Slippery Rock and Lock Haven Universities, Business at Ohio State University, and Architectural Drafting and Design at Penn State University. She plans on finishing her Architectural Engineering degree in the next few years, after spending time remodeling her home and watching her kids grow.
Outside of work, Amber enjoys reading, running, music, building, and learning. Amber is a Washington Redskins, Seattle Mariners, and Pittsburgh Penguins fan. She has two children, and spends time attending their sporting events and in Clearfield with the rest of her family.