About Cascade Gasket & Manufacturing Company
Franklin Marshall Terry, was born in Watkins Glenn, New York in 1915 to parents
Claude and Martha Terry. He never liked
the names Franklin or Frank, so was known as Mart to his family and
friends. His father was the town barber
and provided his family with a modest income.
Mart's mother was an active member of her church and local chapter of
The Eastern Star. The family moved to
Painted Post NY in the early 1920's and rumor has it that they ran a numbers
racket out of the barbershop. This
claim, however, will not be confirmed or denied. Mart and his younger brother Bob helped
contribute to the family income by picking beans and strawberries during the
summer. A budding entrepreneur, Mart
would fill buckets with water and wait at the bottom of a local steep hill for
Model T's to come down with their brakes smoking. Drivers would pay him 5 cents to put out the
fire! Mart worked hard as a teenager and
had an early respect for a job done well.
One of the experiences he liked to talk about was when he worked as a
mail carrier for the town of Painted Post.
Each day he retrieved the mail being thrown off the DL&W train as it
roared through town. This train traveled
about 60 MPH, and that bag could be a mile either way next to the tracks. Rain, snow or sunshine, he was there to find
the mail and deliver it.
from Painted Post High School, Mart attended the University of Michigan as an
engineering major. To put himself
through school he had a number of jobs around campus. While at the U of M he met his future wife,
Mildred. They married in November
1938. Mart worked for a while at the
Ford Motor Company but his favorite job was at Detroit Gasket, where he worked
as a rubber chemist. Compounding black
rubber (e.g. neoprene, SBR, and nitriles) seemed to be a natural vocation for
him. During WWII he continued at Detroit
Gasket supporting the war effort.
When WWII ended,
Mart, Mil and their children, son Marshall and daughter Carol, traveled
west. He knew that Boeing was looking
for suppliers, and with his experience making gaskets from rubber and
rubber-like materials; he knew he could support his family. They moved to Seattle where he would start
his new business. They chose the name
Northwest Rubber Company, but that name had already been taken. Instead, Franklin M. Terry's dream, Cascade
Gasket & Mfg. Co. Inc., was incorporated in January 1946.
started out on East Marginal Way in Seattle, in a building that had been used
as a chicken coop. It was the only
property they could afford. They started
with just three employees: Mart, Lewis
Castle (his father-in-law) and Frank Dean, all formerly with Detroit Gasket. Mart bought some sheet stock, converted an
old printing press into a gasket press, and they were in business.
customers was not as easy as he thought.
There were many months of putting more money into the business than
bringing dollars home for his family, which had grown to five with the birth of
daughter, Lee. During the first years of
business he established credit with the local banks and was able to borrow when
needed. He made a habit of paying off
all loans quickly. As the gasket
business grew with the help of the Port of Seattle, PAC CAR, and The Boeing
Company, Cascade Gasket was able to move to a larger location, afford more
people and, of course, more gasket presses.
brought another addition to the Terry family, daughter Allison. The 50's also brought a chance for Cascade
Gasket to expand their product line to include compression rubber molding. Mr. Terry's plan had always been to keep as
much business in-house as possible, so he designed and then built the rubber
presses they would need. All tooling was
made in-house to meet the unique requirements of the compression rubber molding
One little known
fact was that Cascade Gasket was the first manufacturer of shim stock in the
northwest. The process involved painting
adhesive on to very thin aluminum sheets (about eighteen inches square),
layering these sheets, and then pressing the heck out of them. Buckets were placed beneath the press to
catch the run-off adhesive. Needless to
say it was a pretty messy process, but it was just like Mr. Terry to try new
ideas. One of his favorite things to
tell employees was, "Don't tell me it won't work unless you've tried
In the years
that followed, Franklin Terry and his wife Mildred created a business that was
based upon quality, on-time deliveries, and communication with their customers
and suppliers. The company's reputation
grew and the business expanded. In 1965
Cascade Gasket moved to its current location in Kent, Washington. The new facility was a 2000 sq. ft.
cinderblock building with a flat roof.
There were 20 employees by now and business was good.
The 1960's were
a turning point in the product line of Cascade Gasket. Mr. Terry realized the company needed to
expand and diversify. He started to
shift from primarily a gasket cutting shop and the molding of carbon-based
materials, to compression molded silicone gaskets and seals. The niche he had found in the aerospace
industry was working well for the company.
testing materials was a requirement of the aerospace industry and in 1974
Franklin Terry hired Robert Walker to run the Quality Control department. Bob's father, Bill, worked for Boeing
Material Technology and he was pleased that Bob chose to follow in his
footsteps. Bob Walker was instrumental
in developing Cascade Gasket's new silicone compounds to the standards required
by Boeing and revamping our EPDM rubber compound. Today after 36 years, he is still known as
the "Mad Scientist of Cascade Gasket".
The business was
still growing and by the 1980's there were 35 employees. In 1983, Mart hired his daughter Lee Terry to
run the front office. She had worked for
The Boeing Company for 17 years. During
that time Lee had received a well-rounded education in customer service,
shipping, receiving, and finance from Boeing.
It was at this time that Cascade Gasket started to delve into the
fabric-coated seal world. Cascade Gasket's product line would again shift to
include this intricate handcrafted manufacturing process. The business was growing, and in 1987 a new
office was built to house the customer support staff.
manager Mac Groby left the company in early 1989, Lee took over that
position. Mr. Terry was still active and
remained President of the Corporation, but Lee took over the day-to-day
operations. The 1990's were years full of new QA requirements, computer
installations, and increasing business; again, some hard decisions had to be
made. In 1993 the QA department was
upgraded, and a new 4015 sq. ft. facility was built behind the original
passed away in December of 1999 and Mart took the death of his beloved wife
very hard. He took the title of CEO and
Lee stepped up to the position of President.
The company had grown to 45 employees.
With the new ISO requirements, the onset of Lean Manufacturing
Principles, and the overall potential of new business, Lee realized that again
things needed to change. A decision had
to be made: to stay with about 50 employees and maintain the status quo, or for
the company to become a driving force in the world of aerospace seals and rubber
technology. It was decided that Cascade
Gasket would continue to grow and to meet the increasing demands of its
IIn 2004, after
an extensive search, a local Lean Manufacturing guru, Mike Moran was hired as
General Manager. Mike immediately and aggressively implemented Lean
Manufacturing while putting in place a progressive improvement program that
involved every department. This resulted in our obtaining third party
certification as an ISO: 9001 and AS9100 company in January 2005. We are proud to announce the we received a
100% on our audit the very first time!
& Mfg. Co., Inc. Celebrated its 65th year in 2011. It has been quite a ride for the Terry
family, stockholders since the company's incorporation in 1946. We have grown from a humble beginning of
three employees to over one hundred, with a 22,000 sq. ft. manufacturing
AND...we are still