LEKTRO History
1945
LEKTRO founded as Willamette Aircraft & Engine Company in Beaverton, Oregon. more
LEKTRO was founded by Wilt and Violet Paulson as Willamette Aircraft and Engine Company in Beaverton, Oregon. Lektro first conducted aircraft maintenance and converted military training aircraft to civilian use. close
1948
Company relocated to Astoria, Oregon. more
LEKTRO relocated to Wilt and Violet's home town, Astoria, occupying one of two hangars at the Port of Astoria Airport vacated by the Navy. In addition, Wilt Paulson was instrumental in the development of the first cable tv system in America. Inventor Ed Parsons brought the first television signal to the county to please his wife, asking Wilt to construct an antenna which was positioned atop the Astoria Hotel and from there via coaxial cable across the street to Ed Parsons’ apartment. close
1949
First portable wind machine for slash burns. more
LEKTRO produced a portable wind machine for controlling slash burns for local loggers and construction companies, using surplus aircraft engines. close
1950
First battery-driven vehicle to feed mink. more
LEKTRO developed its first battery-driven vehicle, an electric cart to feed mink. This was developed with a local area mink farmer, Paul Autio. The Mink Cart was such a success that Wilt Paulson and Autio worked together marketing the product. The Mink Cart was produced and sold until 1985. close
1954
First electric golf cart. more
LEKTRO produced one of the first electric Golf Carts in the world. LEKTRO’s Golf Cart became known as the "Cadillac" in the industry, using rust-free aluminum as the frame and a fiberglass shell. LEKTRO pioneered the Golf Cart market, which was a difficult market since golfers weren't used to riding, and many golf courses did not allow golf carts on the course. After considerable effort, LEKTRO was able to convince the industry to use Golf Carts, paving the way for the success of (larger manufacturers like) Yamaha and Harley Davidson. close
1955
Constructed antenna for first cable TV transmission in the world. more
In addition Wilt Paulson lead the community effort for construction of the first Fort Clatsop Replica. In fact, the replica was originally constructed inside the LEKTRO hangar, located at the Astoria Regional airport. As Wilt was building his company, he was also helping establish a foundation for our community. close
1960
First electric sauna bath in the United States. more
With Finnish native Ed Lundholm, LEKTRO produced the first electric Sauna Bath in the United States. Violet Paulson is of Finnish descent, so saunas were a logical product. Mr. Lundholm and LEKTRO continued building and selling Sauna Baths until the mid 1970s. close
1965
Modified mink feeder to produce a chicken feeder. more
LEKTRO modified the Mink Feeder and produced a Chicken Feeder. This was a successful product through the late 1970s leading into the automation of the entire poultry industry. close
1967
First electric towbarless aircraft tug. more
LEKTRO produced a small electric aircraft tug using the Mink Feeder Chassis. This was built for a local Fixed Base Operator in Portland, Oregon. Little did they know in 1967, but this tug would become LEKTRO’s main product in the mid 80s to today. close
1969
LEKTRO transformed a Mink Cart into a small electric forklift. more
The LEKTRO Forklift was designed for small warehouses and industries that could not use large combustion engine forklifts. close
1972
Developed lightweight paper clamp attachment for forklift. more
LEKTRO developed a lightweight paper clamp attachment that mounted on the front of its forklift for local newspaper, The Daily Astorian. This combination provided an excellent alternative for small town newspapers which did not have the room nor budget for large clamp trucks. LEKTRO became the leader in the clamp-truck industry into the 1980s. close
1983
Produced first custom warehouse vehicle for General Motors. more
LEKTRO successfully designed and produced a custom warehouse vehicle for General Motors. This product gave LEKTRO the working capital to develop a long-term product line to replace the forklift. close
1984
LEKTRO redesigned the "Airporter" and began an extensive marketing campaign. more
LEKTRO’s unique combination of electricity and towbarless design permitted the safest, most efficient and most maneuverable method of towing aircraft. Once operators and aircraft manufacturers saw how superior LEKTRO’s concept was compared to the old tug and towbar method, LEKTRO became the standard in the industry and now markets to nearly every developed country in the world and has nearly 50% of the corporate towing market. close
1985
Eric Paulson became president of LEKTRO, Inc. more
Eric Paulson, Wilt and Vi's son, took over reins as president. At age 23, Eric was one of the youngest corporate presidents in the State of Oregon. close
1986
LEKTRO began providing assistance to the National Business Aviation Association and became the organization’s official tow vehicle. more
LEKTRO began providing assistance to the NBAA in setting up and handling static display aircraft. NBAA subsequently named LEKTRO as their Official Tow Vehicle, an honor it holds today. close
1989
Developed a special chassis for major theme parks. more
LEKTRO developed a special chassis for Disneyland and has become Disney's main supplier for float chassis. In 1996, LEKTRO was selected by Disney to produce the next generation float chassis. close
1990
Designed and produced 50,000 lb. capacity tow geared to handle mid-range corporate aircraft. more
LEKTRO designed and produced its 50,000 lb. capacity tow, the AP8700, geared to handle medium weight corporate aircraft such as Canadair Challenger and lighter Gulfstreams. close
1992
Designed and produced 100,000 lb. capacity tow with feedback from Gulfstream. more
LEKTRO designed and produced its 100,000 lb. capacity tow, the AP8800SD. This unit was built with feedback from Gulfstream to handle their soon-to-be-released G-5. close
1993
LEKTRO designed and produced its 8,000 lb. capacity tow. more
The AP8300SD airplane tug, designed for individuals and corporations needing to handle light twins and smaller turboprops. close
1995
All GM facilities convert to LEKTRO pick vehicles. more
Management concluded that the LEKTRO Pick Vehicle,custom produced for GM in 1983, was the most cost-effective and most efficient. It required the least maintenance and was the least expensive to acquire: It was the best built product they had in their fleet. As a result, GM's headquarters issued a mandate requiring all warehouse facilities convert to LEKTRO Pick Vehicles. The first phase consisted of approximately 160 vehicles for 3 main facilities in1996. close
1996
Completed record year with sales reaching $6 million. more
LEKTRO completed its best year on record with sales reaching $6.0 million, nearly double that of 1995. LEKTRO’s success in 1996 resulted from its years of marketing and extensive efforts finally coming together. Besides the $2.0 million GM contract and the major new contract from Disneyland to design a new float chassis, LEKTRO’s aircraft tug sales reached record levels. Sales of tugs were made to such organizations as the Finnish Air Force, Malaysian Air Force, British Royal Air Force and Montana Air National Guard. Major sales also included several units to Cessna Aircraft, Raytheon Aircraft, Bombardier Aircraft and Piper Aircraft.

LEKTRO has established an excellent relationship with all business aircraft manufacturers who endorse, use, and, in even some cases, sell as optional equipment LEKTRO Tugs. Representatives from LEKTRO travel around the world attending trade shows and assisting the aircraft manufacturers in parking and positioning their aircraft. This practice has gained tremendous exposure as well as appreciation amongst the aircraft manufacturing community, resulting in their public support of LEKTRO and its products. LEKTRO is one of the only tow vehicles many manufacturers officially endorse. LEKTRO was named the Official Tug of the National Business Aviation Association and the European Business Aviation Association. LEKTRO has also served as the official tug for the Australian Air Show, FIDAE '96 - Santiago Chile, Air Show Canada - Abbotsford, BC, and the Lima Air Show, Langkawi - Malaysia. close
1997
Introduced tug for the U.S. military and the commercial airline industry.  Plus, president Eric Paulson was named Oregon’s Small Business Person of the Year by the SBA. more
LEKTRO continued a strong relationship with Disney and GM. In addition, LEKTRO introduced two new tugs, one for the U. S. military market and one for the commercial airline industry to open a vast market virtually untapped for LEKTRO’s type of products. With the emphasis on electric powered vehicles, LEKTRO’s leadership expects strong sales demand for its current line of aircraft support vehicles well into the next century.

LEKTRO’s president Eric Paulson was named Oregon's Small Business Person of the year by the Small Business Administration and represented Oregon in Washington, D.C. during SBA week. close
1998
Introduced a new model tug capable of towing aircraft up to 180,000 lbs. more
LEKTRO introduced a new model tug, the AP8950SD, capable of towing aircraft up to 180,000 lbs., the largest electric towbarless aircraft tug ever produced. LEKTRO markets this product to airlines flying mainly narrow bodied jets and to corporations flying the larger corporate jets such as Boeing Business Jet. Horizon Airlines selected LEKTRO as their primary pushback tractor, becoming one of the first major regional airline customers exclusively using LEKTRO tugs. close
1999
LEKTRO named Oregon’s Exporter of the Year, plus became preferred tow vehicle for nearly every regional airline in North America. Tug sales increased by almost 50%. more
LEKTRO was named Oregon's Exporter of the Year. LEKTRO also became the preferred tow vehicle for nearly every regional airline in North America. Sales for the aircraft tug product line increased by nearly 50%. Overall sales increased 25% over 1998 sales. close
2000
Largest single order ever received from GM for nearly 250 custom warehouse vehicles and American Eagle and ASA selected LEKTRO Inc. as their tow vehicle. First contract with U.S. Navy. Sales exceed $10 million. more
LEKTRO received an order from General Motors to produce nearly 250 custom warehouse vehicles, the largest single order ever received by LEKTRO. Fulfillment of this order was completed in 2002. More regional airlines selected LEKTRO as their tow vehicle including the American Eagle and ASA. LEKTRO landed its first contract with the U. S. Navy for its tow vehicle and has successfully completed analysis by the Canadian Armed Forces. Sales exceed $10.0 million. close
2004 LEKTRO named Preferred Vendor of the Year by American Eagle and sales reach over $12 million.
2005
LEKTRO delivered its 2,500th unit to satisfied customer United Airlines and celebrates 60 years in business, plus plant-expansion groundbreaking ceremony with Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski. more
LEKTRO delivered its 2,500th unit to satisfied customer, United Airlines. LEKTRO celebrates 60 years of operation with a $3.5 million expansion project that will enable us to double our workforce and quadruple production capabilities. On June 30, Oregon's governor Ted Kulongoski was on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking of the expansion. close
2006 February 24, LEKTRO hosted the dedication of the expanded facility, complete with remarks from Congressman David Wu, Oregon Senator Betsy Johnson and many community leaders. The LEKTRO factory now encompasses 92,100 feet and employs 50 part-time and full-time workers.

LEKTRO announced the new model AP8350 designed specifically to accommodate the emerging fleet of Very Light Jets being introduced in the aviation industry.

Annual sales exceed $15 million.
2007
April 19, LEKTRO representatives installed the 3,000th LEKTRO tug, an AP8750CAL for American Eagle Airlines of Fort Worth, Texas. The AP8750CAL is capable of towing up to 75,000 lbs. and will be aiding with the more than 1,300 daily jet flights currently offered by the airline.
more
April 19, LEKTRO representatives installed the 3,000th LEKTRO tug, an AP8750CAL for American Eagle Airlines of Fort Worth, Texas. The AP8750CAL is capable of towing up to 75,000 lbs. and will be aiding with the more than 1,300 daily jet flights currently offered by the airline.

May 8 - 10, A record number of LEKTRO owners from around the nation attend the 7th annual Maintenance Symposium in Warrenton to learn about electric SCR theory and troubleshooting, mechanical oversight, preventive maintenance as well as routine maintenance procedures for motor, battery, chargers and the mechanical, hydraulic and brake systems. close

LEKTRO, Inc.: Where We Lead, Others Follow

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