Kello-Bilt, started out as a small family owned business who wanted their equipment to be better. What it became is an international organization with over fifty years experience that has adapted to the needs of its customers in the agricultural and construction industries. In the 1950’s, Fred and Margaret Kellough began a small gravel crushing and concrete business in central Alberta. Joined by his sons Vic and Hugh in the early sixties, the Kelloughs found that extra work clearing land for farmers during the cold season. This expanded into clearing brush and breaking up land to prepare it for seeding in the spring using equipment that wasn’t made to stand the test of harsh working conditions. This became a bigger part of their business year-round, but the discs they were using weren’t standing up to their working environment.
“That equipment didn’t really stand up to the conditions they were dealing with in Northern Alberta,” says Rob Kellough, President of Kello-Bilt. “They went back to the manufacturers and said ‘Can you improve on this and make it stronger?’ They weren’t really interested in that, so they started repairing and making the equipment stronger themselves and manufactured their own equipment based on past experiences based on what didn’t work. 'That’s basically where the company got started.” The Kellough family designed the first Kello-Bilt disc in 1964 with one goal in mind – to build a strong, heavy disc that could withstand the punishment of rocks and tree stumps as they cleared and broke land.
By 1968, the manufacturing of Kello-Bilt discs was in full swing in a tiny shop in Stettler. The intention was never to sell the Kello-Bilt discs commercially, but before long people started to take notice. “They started asking ‘Well, where did you get that from?’ They went from having them for their own use into building them for sale.” The Kelloughs decided to manufacture their discs full-time, but realizing the existing facility wasn’t suitable to manage the workload a new 8000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility was built in 1971. “There was no turning back from that point!” says Rob. Not much has changed about the products themselves over the years, Rob mentions. “We’ve redesigned existing products, but just little things to make them better.”
Kello-Bilt has achieved many milestones in its history, but one of the most notable is the introduction of its innovative, self-lubricating oil bath bearings. These bearings were first unveiled in Western Canada in 1982 and were completely new to the marketplace, far superior to traditional grease bearings.
As word spread about the durability and quality of the Kello-Bilt brand, a dealer network was established that expanded outside of Alberta into Western Canada. This dealer networked continued to grow into the 1980’s with dealers in the Pacific Northwest and Australia. By 1994, Hugh established a separate sales and parts dealership to continue to serve Western Canada. Vic took over the manufacturing side of the company, and was soon joined by his partners, Rob Kellough, and long time production foreman, Ken Steinwand. Fast forward to 2001, when Kello-Bilt expanded into a larger, 10,000 sq. ft. facility in Red Deer County. Kello-Bilt can now be found in all of the Westerner United States and internationally from Australia and Central America to Eastern Europe and Africa.
Though Fred Kellough passed on in 1987, the tradition and vision of Kello-Bilt has remained the same. His sons continued to run the business, ensuring the Kello-Bilt name continued to stand for superior quality, world-class technology, and reliability. “My grandfather was a hard-working guy, a very entrepreneurial guy, and I think that spirit will always stick with the company.” The business has remained in the family for three generations. Rob, who joined the company in 1994, knows this is impressive for any business. “It’s one thing we’re very proud of – the fact that we’re still family owned and our name is on the side of the equipment.”