Grain Processing Corp. and
Kent Feeds, Muscatine
Richard “Dick” Kautz attributed his success to “a little skill and a whole lot of luck.” Others believe it was a whole lot of skill and a little luck.
Kautz was born on August 1, 1916 in Muscatine, Iowa, the city he would champion throughout his life. After graduating from the University of Iowa in 1939, the newly married Kautz decided to take a job as an accountant with General Electric in Schenectady, New York rather than returning to Muscatine and his father’s wholesale baking operation. But in 1943 Kautz did return to Muscatine, accepting a position with a company being developed by two Muscatine men, his father-in-law Si Stein and another entrepreneur, Gage Kent. The company, Grain Processing Corporation, grew quickly. A few years later the company purchased Kent Feeds, another company started by Gage Kent in the 1920s, which grew into one of the largest feed companies in the Midwest. In 1966 Kautz became president of the company.
In an industry known for its ups and downs Kautz was a steady rock. He took the long view and it served his company well. In 1989 Varied Investments was formed as a holding company for GPC, Kent Feeds and other subsidiaries located around the country. He remained with the company for more than fifty years until finally retiring as chairman of Varied Investments in 1998.
Kautz believed it was important to develop people’s potential. He not only did this with those who worked for him, he did it in the Muscatine community, the state of Iowa and the world at large. When he served as vice-president of the World Alliance of the YMCA for eight years, he traveled the globe to increase opportunities for children.
Dick Kautz died at home in July 2003.