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Long live the flame: Combustion equipment manufacturer Zeeco turns 40
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Long live the flame: Combustion equipment manufacturer Zeeco turns 40

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BROKEN ARROW — As a boy, Darton Zink performed a variety of odd jobs for his father, Zeeco founder Jack Zink.

Darton Zink cut grass, cleaned restrooms, swept shop floors and removed scrap from machine tools.

At 16, he took his first spin on a forklift.

“I managed to hit a large shop door with the forks, and it temporarily trapped a colleague inside a clean room in the building,” Zink said. “… I remember meeting, probably bothering and perhaps even terrorizing some of Zeeco’s employees as a kid. It never occurred to me that I would see them retire or even pass on.”

Before hundreds of his workers, Darton Zink, 8 years old when Zeeco was established, relived memories of the company Friday at a celebration of its 40th anniversary as a global manufacturer of combustion and environmental equipment. A total of 600 of Zeeco’s 1,000-plus employees are based in Broken Arrow.

A former McDonald’s franchisee, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., noted the milestone, saying “it’s especially gratifying being a business guy, myself, for the last 30-plus years, starting out small businesses, growing businesses. It’s no easy feat. It’s certainly no easy feat today with all the regulatory requirements and just the pressures that are on business folks today.

“In the last 40 years, you guys have been an integral part of what’s happened in the Tulsa area, the Broken Arrow community, and it’s really great to see what you’ve done around the globe and how many lives and how many businesses you’ve impacted doing just that.”

After Zink and other officials addressed company team leaders, some of the audience watched the demonstration of a multipoint refinery flare at an adjacent facility.

“You’re constantly pushing the boundaries and growing your industry,” Hern said. “…It is great companies and great people like you that make that happen…”

A world leader in the design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of combustion and vapor recovery equipment, Zeeco has equipment in use in more than 100 countries.

“I know how hard it is,” said Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who founded Gateway Mortgage in 2000. “I started my company there in Tulsa. It’s just really a testament to all the team members in this room. I know that you can’t do anything by yourself. I can tell he’s not only a great leader, but we have some fantastic people out here that are moving the needle.

“I’m just so excited that we have a world headquarters right here in Broken Arrow. It’s such a fantastic thing for our state.”

Zeeco has the largest combustion research and test facility in the world.

“We, you, all of us working here together, each in our own important role at Zeeco, have built this tremendous success story, and we’re not even close to being done, yet,” Zink said. “I absolutely know that Zeeco’s best days, our greatest successes lie ahead.”

Rhett Morgan

918-581-8395

rhett.morgan@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @RhettMorganTW

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