MSUB Alumni selected as 40 Under Forty winners

Kevin Adkins

Business Management, 1999


senior vice president, American Welding and Gas Inc.


Kevin AdkinsPerhaps you need some welding done. Maybe you’re undergoing a medical or dental procedure. Or maybe you’re simply ordering a fountain drink at your local convenience store. In all these cases there’s a pretty good chance that American Welding and Gas Inc. was involved in the transaction.


“Our customers include metal fabrication shops, hospitals, veterinary clinics and anybody who is pouring a beer or a pop,” said Kevin Adkins, who is a senior vice president for the company. “The refineries and even people who use helium for balloons are our customers.”


Welding and fabrication shops in the Billings area are part of a resurgent manufacturing sector in the Billings area. Servicing the welding industry remains an important part of the business, but many people don’t realize that American Welding and Gas has such a diverse group of clients, Adkins said.


American Welding and Gas Inc. is an employee-owned company. That form of ownership provides an extra incentive for employees to contribute and prosper.


Adkins said he sometimes welds as a hobby. It's something that many company employees do.


Describe how you got where you are in your work today: I was afforded great opportunities by the people I have worked for in this company. That started with joining our internal management training program right out of MSU Billings. It was a college job up to that point. The company has continued to give me new and challenging positions and responsibilities. They have always given the right amount of autonomy and support to allow for success in the positions. A huge amount of thanks and credit goes to those who took a chance on me. In turn, I’ve worked hard, entrenched myself in the business, and taken its success very seriously. If you take a company’s success seriously, it returns the favor.


What’s the biggest challenge you face in your job? It’s really two. 1. Keeping up and evolving with the changing needs of our customers. It is fundamentally important and I believe it’s the key to survival of any business. 2. Maintaining an environment that recruits and retains the right employees. An environment that breeds employee success is the biggest factor in our contribution to customer success.


What’s the best business advice you have received? Work smarter, not harder.


Who gave you that advice? Dad.


Here’s what I’d like to do to improve my community: I’m not yet sure how to do it, but I need to find a way to contribute to keeping our youth (beyond my own children) on a path that steers them clear of the trappings of substance abuse. This has been a struggle in many communities over the years, but it seems this struggle is becoming stronger and hitting younger people. For their health and success, and our community’s, we have to improve this situation.


Aside from profit and loss, how do you measure success in your job? The safety and success of the people who work with and for me is very important. If they are healthy, safe, successful, happy, and fulfilled in their jobs, I feel the same way. Most of the time, that solves the profit and loss.


Which living person do you most admire? My wife. I always think of my job as challenging but it doesn’t compare to the job she does raising our three children and running our household


What do you consider your greatest achievement? Helping my wife raise three healthy, happy children.


I’m happiest when I’m… Camping


Article credit: Billings Gazette
Photo credit: James Woodcock, Billings Gazette


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