Kirby's Way: How Kirby and Caroline Risk Built Their Company on Kitchen-Table Values

Kirby's Way: How Kirby and Caroline Risk Built Their Company on Kitchen-Table Values

by Angie Klink


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The late J. Kirby Risk II called himself a small-town businessman from the banks of the Wabash.—He was much more. The fastidious, dapper man from Lafayette, Indiana, exuded philanthropy and free enterprise. Like a sheepdog, he tended the flock, rounded up strays, darted to key places to close up stragglers, and nudged everyone toward a common goal. Sometimes his stubborn persistence caused clashes. His demanding behavior was for good, no matter what others thought. That was Kirby's way. Kirby's integrity was the basis for his two occupations. His first career was compassion, and his second career was the building of the battery company he cofounded in 1926 with $500 borrowed from his father. Today, Kirby Risk Corporation is a multimillion-dollar electrical products and services industry headquartered in Lafayette, Indiana, and led by Kirby's son, Jim. Kirby's Way captures the essence of this imitable gentleman, who with his wife of fifty-five years, Caroline, raised four children, gave time, money, and meals to strangers, refugees, Purdue University students, and their beloved community, while building from their kitchen table a successful Midwest corporation. He believed in sacrificial service.—Kirby noticed people. He recognized their importance. In turn, they loved him and wanted to help him. He dwelled on his favorite song, Mankind is My Business.—Relationships shaped his success. Kirby was quiet about his deeds. He lived the Bible passage, Matthew 6:3”But when you do a kindness to someone, do it secretly”do not tell your left hand what your right hand is doing.—Kirby Risk may not have wanted this book. Yet he would have esteemed it as a parable, a spiritual truth that compels readers to discover certainties for themselves. From heaven, he tends the flock and rounds up strays, so more people might live Kirby's Way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781557536143
Publisher: Purdue University Press
Publication date: 07/01/2012
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Angie Klink is the author of the inspiring biography Divided Paths, Common Ground: The Story of Mary Matthews and Lella Gaddis, Pioneering Purdue Women Who Introduced Science into the Home. She also authored two lift-the-flap children's books, Purdue Pete Finds His Hammer (about Purdue University)and I Found U (about Indiana University). Her writing has been published in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Klink writes advertising copy, personal essays, and profiles. She has won forty American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards and an honorable mention in the 2007 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Klink has a BA in communication from Purdue University.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface xiii

From the Banks of the Wabash 1

Common Denominator 15

Girl from Oat Fields 29

Kirby's Charge 37

World's Fair Wedding 43

Off to Work They Go 59

Florida Circus 77

Surplus Man 93

When Prefab Was Fab 107

Camp Kirby 121

God in Us 141

Open-Door Policy 153

Just Desserts 169

Wedded Bliss 179

Junior Achievement 195

Taking Risks 217

New Directions 231

Building 253

Distance Run 271

Without the Gentleman 275

Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come 289

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Kirby's Way: How Kirby and Caroline Risk Built their Company on Kitchen-Table Values 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MarkT154 More than 1 year ago
I just finished Angie Klink’s book “ Kirby’s Way” – What a wonderful tribute to the Kirby Risk organization and the Risk family – Having moved to the Lafayette area in 1953 and in my youth attending “Central Presbyterian Church” as well as participating in “Junior Achievement” - we’re familiar with many of the names and stories in your book - Thank you very much for prompting me to take a trip down memory lane where I was able to reminisce and laugh at the stories from years gone by – Thanks for a job well done – Mark T.