Covington resident retires from 50-year career at Hartzell Propeller


By Haylee Pence

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PIQUA – Richard “Rich” Hess of Covington retired following a 50-year career at Hartzell Propeller, on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Hess began working at Hartzell in 1972 when he was just 18 years old as a janitor. During his 50 years there, Hess has worked his way up the chain and currently works as a “jack-of-all-trades.” He helps on “special projects, service center work, inspection, machining parts,” and other duties.

Hess said, “Hartzell has always been a good place to work, but since the Brown family bought it, it’s become a great place to work.”

Hartzell has been Hess’s place of employment for so long because it “parallels with my personality.”

“They treat their employees so well and are community-minded. They are flexible with my outside interests,” such as farming, which is one of Hess’ passions, he said.

Hess has been a leader in Hartzell’s “Farm Day” Program for fifth graders at Piqua Elementary School for 25 years.

After 50 years of work, Hess plans to spend more of his time farming his 135 acres, which include his cattle, as well as helping his son-in-law with his organic farm. Hess does plan to work part-time at Hartzell as a trainer. He said he is most looking forward to his “personal freedom, more time with family, and some traveling.”

“I will definitely miss working here,” Hess said. “It took me a year to consider retirement.”

Hess would like to thank Jim Brown Jr. for “being a strong mentor.” Brown “inspired the partnership with the school for Farm Day,” which taught Hess “the value of giving to others,” he said.

Hess would also like to thank Hartzell Propeller for “everything and their helpfulness.”

“I’m going to miss them,” Hess said in reference to his co-workers. “I’ve made life-long friends.”

Lastly, Hess wants to thank his wife, Karen Hess, for “being very, very supportive of all my adventures and ideas, including my work on Farm Day.”

President J.J. Frigge wanted to thank Hess for his many years of service, and stated, “Rich has been more than just an employee, he’s been a great ambassador for the company and exemplifies what we strive to achieve in terms of giving back to the community.“

Frigge went on to say, “He’s a trusted and valued co-worker, role model, and friend. We want to wish Rich luck on the next chapter of his life.”

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