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.
So how have we ended up now at ASD? Well, 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. 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
Dan “Smitty” Smith, Jr. is our Director of Powder Coating and Building Facilitator. 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 YIS/Cowden Group (YCG) in that he is helping with further development of the “Speedometer Testing Platform”. From design and build to onsite 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”.
Brad is a recent addition to the ASD team, learning the ropes and helping Smitty when he’s not on the road doing calibrations.
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 for YCG.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.
Jake is our Communication Director at ASD and helps with different jobs in the shop as needed. He joined YIS/Cowden Group (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.