|Founded in 1948 by Arthur Warn, Warn
Industries began producing locking hubs for surplus World War II Jeeps, converting
thousands into useful, on-road vehicles. Originally based in Seattle, Washington, Warn
Industries' innovation revolutionized the hub industry. The WARN winch, developed
in 1959, was the first recreational winch. With pioneering features such as a
rugged drive train, the WARN winch quickly became the leading brand for off-road
racers, avid four wheelers, weekend adventurers and hard working ranchers.
Warn Industries added to its product family throughout the 1970s with manual
and automatic hubs for all 4WD vehicles, new electric and hydraulic winches, severe duty
winches and new winch mounting systems. By the end of the decade, the company
began its long-standing relationship with Ford Motor Company, established worldwide
product distribution capabilities and opened manufacturing operations near Portland,
Oregon. The WARN severe duty winches have since become the "winch of choice" for
manufacturers such as AM General, manufacturer of the Hummer.
Warn Industries introduced more new products to the winch market in the 1980s, including the industry's first 3-stage planetary gear train and free-spooling
clutch, a new utility model, and the industry's first all terrain vehicle (ATV) winch.
Continuing to diversify its product line the company also added fender flares and
off-road accessory products.
Also in the late 80's the ATV market was emerging, and WARN introduced the
industry's first ATV winch and was issued at patent in 1988. By 1986, the company
had moved its headquarters to Portland, Oregon and Michael Warn, Arthur Warn's
grandson, became Warn Industries' new Chairman of the Board and CEO.
1991 to 1999 were pivotal years for Warn Industries. The company
moved to just-in-time manufacturing, implemented Total Quality Control practices and
received ISO 9001/QS-9000 certification. The
company also created an industrial division, building winches and accessories for the
towing and recovery market. In the mid-90's, WARN's ATV division grew as fast as the
Powersports industry, and WARN established relationships with OEM's such as Polaris,
Yamaha, and Bombardier. In 1997, Warn Industries opened its state-of-the-art world
headquarters, a 200,000 sq. ft. manufacturing and distribution facility. This helped it to
become the dominant winch manufacturer in the ATV market segment and the number
one supplier of wheel-end disconnect technology to OEM customers.
Mike Warn decided to step away from the business in 2000, selling 100% of the
company in a management buyout led by Jon Kreitz, Endeavour Capital (Portland, Oregon)
and Norwest Equity Partners (Minneapolis, Minnesota). This transaction brought a new
infusion of capital into Warn Industries, allowing the company to pursue
commercialization of its proprietary wheel-end technology with automotive OEMs, continued
rapid expansion of its strong ATV business and support for marketing its leading core
In 2002, Warn Industries introduced WARN Works, a new product line
designed for the professional workers and do-it-yourselfers who need a powerful tool to
assist them. The WARN Works line is developing new distribution channels for
WARN, and expanding its product offering to include utility winches, hoists and accessories.
During 2001 - 2004, WARN's Senior Management Team implemented numerous
process improvements that have resulted in improved productivity, cost
reductions and improved safety for workers. WARN also successfully implemented a full
suite of JD Edwards software, which replaced all the legacy information systems.
WARN has also extended its manufacturing certificates to include the ISO 14001
environmental management system certificate for both Oregon facilities and
WARN's Human Resources team implemented a performance based compensation
system that includes formal performance reviews and career development
discussions for team members.
WARN implemented a Red Letter dealer program, comprising of
over 200 elite members of WARN authorized retail outlets that help provide
consumers with the highest level of WARN brand product information, availability and
The WARN Team Members have a long tradition of sponsoring food drives and
charitable events and volunteering to help the local community. In 2002 that
generosity evolved into a formalized giving program called the WARN Employee
Community Impact Project which assists our neighbors in the Milwaukie and
In October 2003, WARN extended its manufacturing certificates to include the
upgrade of the QS9000 to ISO/TS16949:2002 and the 2000 revision of the ISO9001. Also
in October 2003, Warn Industries joined Dover Corporation, a multi-billion
dollar, global manufacturer of diversified products. Dover is (DOV) on the New
York Stock Exchange. (www.dovercorporation.com)
To comply with the latest automotive industry standard ISO/TS 16949:2002 Warn
Industries obtained certification in 2004.
In 2005, WARN opened a sales office in the Netherlands, added a Distribution
Center in Clackamas, Oregon, a distribution facility in Gahanna, Ohio and expanded
its manufacturing capability by opening a new production plant in Saltillo, Mexico. Also
in 2005, Jon Kreitz retired from WARN, and Thomas Giacomini was selected and
promoted as WARN's CEO and President
In 2005 and 2006, WARN brought several innovative new products to the
market, including the PowerPlant compressor winch and the PullzAll tool, a hand-held
electric pulling tool.
In late 2007, Thomas Giacomini was promoted to President of
the Dover Industrial Products/Material Handling, and John
McCalla was promoted to Warn's CEO and President. In 2007,
Warn developed the 18,000 lb. winch for the tow/recovery,
severe duty, and trailer/equipment markets and was selected to
provide all the vehicle self recovery winches for the U.S.
military's MRAP program.
In 2008, Warn celebrated its 60th anniversary by releasing the
XL product line of 20,000 and 30,000 lb. winches for use on
trailers, roll back carriers, and the tow/recovery market; plus a 60th anniversary edition of our iconic 8274 winch; and we
introduced the off-road industries first fan cooled electric
winch, the Endurance 12.
In 2009, WARN was selected to provide the self recovery winch
for the U.S. military's M-ATV program; launched our all new
ProVantage plow system for ATVs and UTVs; and announced an
all new line of off-road lighting products for both our Truck/Auto
segment and our Powersports segment.
In 2011, John Stransky was named President of Warn. The revolutionary new Olympus winch was released,
showcasing Warn's legendary engineering capabilities. Also in 2011, Warn released the VR winch line, targeted at the
entry level consumer. In 2012, Warn released a new entry level powersports winch line (Vantage), as well as a new
premium line (ProVantage) and an all new premium truck winch line (ZEON). Warn also introduced the Warn Authorized Retail Network program, to ensure that WARN products are sold to consumers through Authorized Retailers and dealers, that can provide a high level of customer service, product knowledge and a positive selling experience
In 2014, Warn launched the ZEON Platinum winch line - the most technically advanced winch on the market, with the industryss first remote clutch, using an advanced wireless remote. The aftermarket premium locking hubs were launched for 2005+ Ford SuperDuty trucks that offer new styling, and a more robust design that allows for easier installation and maintenance. Also introduced were a full line of replacement synthetic ropes and rope extensions, LED lights for truck and Powersports applications, and the innovative drill-powered portable winch.
Read about more major milestones in the history of Warn Industries