From humble beginnings to nationwide recognition and success, Midwest Founder and CEO Byron Godbersen has led a life that truly reflects the American dream.
Byron was born in a small farmhouse outside of Mapleton, Iowa, on January 19, 1925. After graduating from high school, he left the family farm to serve as a paratrooper in the Pacific during World War II. When his tour of duty was completed Byron returned home and married his sweetheart of several years, LaJune Erickson, in 1946.
Years of farming and plenty of experience unloading wagons full of corn led Byron to begin work on a hydraulic hoist for farm wagons. His invention, the Bolster Hoist, was a hit with grain farmers across America and out of this success Midwest Industries was born.
In 1954 Midwest Industries was incorporated, and during the early years production centered around the Bolster Hoist. In the years to come Midwest would expand its Ag product line to include a variety of tillage equipment and other products for the farm.
By the late 1950’s Byron had developed a passion for boating. At his Minnesota lake home he drew up plans for what would become the first ShoreStation Boat Hoist. Byron’s new hoist debuted in 1959 and ShoreStation quickly became the industry standard.
The 1960’s were a time of significant growth at Midwest and Byron took it all in stride, making major contributions to the local community and continuing to develop ideas for new products. The focus at Midwest had begun to shift toward more marine products and by 1971 ShoreLand'r Boat Trailers debuted on the roadways of America.
In 1976, Byron became interested in remote-controlled model airplanes. Dissatisfied with the quality of model planes available on the market, he designed and began manufacturing his own line of remote control planes appropriately name "Byron Originals." To help promote his new line of high quality airplanes Byron began to hold demonstrations and annual shows for modelers. As interest grew so did the show and in 1982 Byron's Aviation Expo was born, a 5 day extravaganza dubbed "the world's most unique aviation event."
Over the years Byron has won a number of awards, including the Iowa Small Businessman of the Year and the National Small Businessman of the Year, both in 1973. His numerous community contributions and growing business success earned him more national recognition in 1974 as he became the first recipient of the Albert Gallatin award. More recently, Byron was inducted into the Iowa Inventors’ Hall of Fame and recognized for holding more patents than any other individual in the State of Iowa. In 1999, the National Marine Manufacturers Association awarded Byron the prestigious Alan J. Freedman Award for his life-long contributions to the marine industry.
In later years, Byron's passion for boating was stronger then ever. Throughout the 80’s, 90’s and into the 21st century, he served as CEO for both Midwest Industries and Byron Originals. With more than fifty patents to his name, he spent much of his time in R&D, developing innovative products.
Byron Godbersen passed away in May of 2003. His wife LaJune, their son and four daughters who, along with their husbands, wives, children and grandchildren carry the Godbersen spirit into the 21st century.
For more information on Byron Godbersen, view the pdf version of the "Godbersen Style
" book. It can be viewed and printed using Adobe Acrobat Reader version 5.0 or later