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Kiln Pointers

Keep Spare Kiln Parts on Hand

Todd Lokash (president of Paragon Industries), John R. Hohenshelt (company owner), and John S. Hohenshelt (Todd's predecessor).

Nancy Krug of Arcana Tileworks LLC in Winter Garden, Florida suggests that kiln owners keep a kiln repair parts kit.


Keep Spare Kiln Parts on Hand

Reader Response: There are no problems, just many solutions

Recent Q&As: Repairing a loose SC-3 kiln door latch with J. B. Weld

Memorable Quote

News: John Hohenshelt Steps Down as President of Paragon Kilns



Nancy Krug of Arcana Tileworks LLC in Winter Garden, Florida suggests that kiln owners keep a kiln repair parts kit. Nancy wrote, “The repair kit is for any kiln that you rely on. I always keep a full thermocouple plus block set. Buy new elements at the first sign of trouble and keep on hand.”

Thanks, Nancy, for the suggestion. A spare parts kit is especially important for professionals who face a busy sales season. It seems that you will need parts only during weekends when the kiln manufacturers are closed and you are rushing to prepare for a special event!

The contents of your repair kit will vary depending on the kiln brand and model. List all the repairs that you have made on your kilns in the last five years. Compile a spare parts list from those repairs.

Store your kiln parts where they will not be disturbed. Keep the labels attached to the parts so you will know what to order when you need another part. Heating elements with missing labels may be difficult to sort out, too, if you have more than one kiln or if your kiln takes more than one type of element. Some of our kilns have center elements and top/bottom elements that must be installed in the correct position.

When you replace a part, keep notes that may help you if you ever replace that same part in the future.



In the last Kiln Pointer, Tony Rodriguez of San Antonio, Texas wrote that his mother “. . . used to tell my sister and me, ‘In life there are no problems; there are just so many solutions that we have a hard time selecting the correct one!’” Bill Hosford of Lisbon, Iowa wrote, “As a science teacher and grandparent, I appreciate Tony Rodriguez’s quote from his mother. Brilliant! I will print it out, frame it, and hang it on my wall, with credits to Tony and his mother, of course.”



Q. The screw on the door latch of my SC-3 is loose. Could I use Pyrolite to fill the screw hole and reset the screw?

A. There are two ways to repair the loose latch screw. Replace the original, loose mounting screw with a larger one. Take the screw to a hardware store and find one of the same style, only slightly larger in diameter.

Or glue the latch to the door using J.B. Weld. That product can hold at the temperatures encountered at the door latch.



“Become an unshakable optimist; talk about and think about only the things you want.” --Brian Tracy



The Hohenshelt family, owners of Paragon Industries, just announced that John S. Hohenshelt is stepping down as president of Paragon. The Hohenshelts will continue to own the company. They bought Paragon Industries 31 years ago, and they look forward to building kilns well into the future.

John S. Hohenshelt has run the company for 15 years. “Leaving Paragon is the second hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life,” John said. “I’m leaving because I feel that it is time that I move on to greater challenges. It is difficult to leave, yet I am also very excited about the future.”

“I wasn’t surprised when John came to tell me that he wanted to leave,” said his father, John R. Hohenshelt, Sr. “When he came to work here full time, I had to persuade him to stay at least five years. It’s been 15 years since then, and because John is very intelligent and ambitious, I understand his need to leave us. John’s health is excellent, and he is leaving on the best of terms. My family will continue to own the company. I bought Paragon 31 years ago and want to keep the company for the long term.”

The Hohenshelt family has hired Todd Lokash as the new company president. When they approached him for an interview, he had just written his next career goal, which was to be with a family-owned, small to medium size, privately owned company. “I know the culture that comes in a family-owned business,” said Todd.

For Todd, coming to Paragon “just felt right.” Getting acquainted with the Hohenshelts “almost felt like it wasn’t an interview. I hit it off with John Sr. very fast. The family and I just sat around and got to know each other.”

In his last position, Todd was director of manufacturing for a large engineering and construction firm in Texas. “I have been put in sticky situations throughout my career,” said Todd. He once moved a construction crane factory from Mexico to Texas. He found the new plant location by searching empty Texas fields from a small plane.

Todd is familiar with kilns. He worked for a foundry that made, among other things, 24’ diameter bushings for ship engines in 30-ton furnaces.

Todd is excited about meeting the Paragon distributors and customers as soon as possible. “It is important that I talk them,” said Todd. “I want to understand their needs and listen to their thoughts on how we can better support their efforts. If there is a problem, tell me about it. If you don’t tell me, I’ll have a hard time figuring it out.”

“The technical side of the manufacturing at Paragon is going to be smooth,” added Todd. “I have a lot of experience in manufacturing. My biggest challenge is finding out the customers’ needs. Getting to know employees and customers is always interesting.”

What is Todd’s business philosophy? He follows Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership, which, according to, “enriches the lives of individuals, builds more effective organizations of all kinds and, ultimately, creates a more just and caring world.”

Servant leadership is “service above self,” said Todd. “You’re still running the ship, but you are learning and teaching. I believe in letting people do what they do without interference. It’s not the executive who makes a company money. It’s the people in the company. People will do the right thing. I rely heavily on the expertise of the people who do the jobs. I try to learn as much as possible from them.”

“It is satisfying to have a role in the personal and professional successes of others. I don’t need personal credit for successes within an organization,” he explained.

What does Todd see in Paragon’s future? “I’m happy with the way the company is run,” he said. “I see strategic growth in niche markets where we can do well. And I want us to constantly improve our designs and service. Paragon is solid. It is running smoothly. In the near future, the direction of the company will not change. This will be a seamless transition. At first I am mainly going to learn.”

John S. Hohenshelt will remain with Paragon for the next two to three months or until Todd feels that he is ready to run the company without John’s assistance.


I will miss John. I enjoy people who make me laugh, and John has made me laugh almost every day that we have been together here. I’m confident that he will do well in his career. I also believe that Todd will do an outstanding job. John Hohenshelt, Sr., who bought the company 31 years ago, said today, “I feel fortunate that we found Todd. I think he will fit in well at Paragon.”

Thank you,

With best wishes,

Arnold Howard Paragon Industries, L.P. – Better Designed Kilns 2011 South Town East Blvd., Mesquite, Texas 75149-1122 Voice: 972-288-7557 & 800-876-4328 / Fax: 972-222-0646 / / /

PRIVACY NOTICE: Under no circumstance do we share or sell your email address.

Copyright 2013, by Paragon Industries, L.P.

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