Indianapolis, IN–For Klipsch maintenance technician Tommy Peckwho will celebrate 34 years of employment with the speaker company’s Hope, Arkansas-based manufacturing facility on September 27being a loyal employee means everything. Perhaps that’s how the 61-year-old managed to become the company’s longest-standing worker.
“Loyalty is such a rarity these days, so I take pride in the fact that Tommy has given us his talent and support all of these years,” said Mike Klipsch, president of Klipsch Audio Technologies. “And Tommy isn’t the only one in Hope to carry such devotion. Currently, we have 21 other employees who have worked there over 20 years. I truly admire and appreciate their ongoing commitment as their diligence and support have greatly contributed to our company’s success.”
A skilled carpenter and 40-year Hope resident, Peck vividly remembers the day he was hired. “I was so excited as I had put an application in two years prior,” he recalled. “Back then, you had to know someone to get into Klipsch and for me, it was my next-door neighbor. Because it was so hard to get into Klipsch, I made a promise to myself that by getting in; it was going to be that much harder for the company to get me to leave. And look; I have been here over three decades.”
Peck considers himself a “jack of all trades” as he is charged with keeping the Hope factory in tip-top shape. It is at this location where the company assembles and tests its top-of-the-line Reference Series products, legendary Heritage Series speakers as well as the soon-to-launch flagship Palladium floorstander. At one point, Peck was even responsible for insulating the facility’s anechoic chamber (echo-free room) where the products are carefully evaluated. “That was certainly a different experience. I had never done anything like that before, and once the chamber was finished, it was eerie standing inside as I could hear my heart beating,” he said.
Talking with Peck, you’ll find that he speaks very highly of the company’s late founder and audio legend Paul W. Klipsch.
“When he was alive, Paul Klipsch treated me and everyone else here with the up most respect. He treated you like family and his office door was always open. He was a great listener and even though he was a proven genius, he was a down-to-earth guy who didn’t act like he knew more than you.”
Paul Klipsch was also known for his many eccentricities, and Peck bared witness to those traits as well. Peck said he’ll never forget when Paul Klipsch would go to town and swing his leg over every parking meter. When he came across one that was taller than the rest, he reported the inconsistency to the mayor.
While most folks don’t pay attention to such variances, Peck admired Paul Klipsch for taking great pride in everything he did. He said Paul Klipsch would call monthly meetings and often tell everyone they should treat each and every speaker “like a peach.” Meaning, the products had to be handled with extreme care so they wouldn’t bruise.
Peck also remembers that for every 1,000th Klipschorn that was made at the factory, Paul Klipsch would get a case of champagne to celebrate. Plus, everyone who worked on the milestone speaker got to write their name inside the cabinet.
More recently, when the 60th Anniversary Klipschorn was launched in 2006, Peck and Karen Joy, another longtime Hope employee, proudly presented the company’s current owner Fred Klipsch with the limited-edition design as well as a certificate of authenticity. “It was an amazing feeling being able to present something so special to the owner of the company,” he said. “At first, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to say, but I was told to just be myself.”
To this day, Peck still loves his job and does everything he can to keep the factory running smoothly. However, the company can’t rely on Peck forever as he hopes to retire on his 35th anniversary. “I’m ready to spend more time fishing on the Mississippi river and tending to the cattle on my 60-acre farm,” he said.