Tenco was incorporated on September 30, 1965 with the goal of providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
With a mere $18,000 in the bank, Tenco Workshop started back in 1965 in an old unkept building at the Ottumwa Airbase with an idea to help people with disabilities develop and maintain their independence.
After that first decade, Tenco celebrated its achievements with an $85,000 donation from Roy Parker. At the time, it was the largest single donation Tenco had received. That $85,000 would equal a $380,000 donation in today's money.
"I temporarily became the director for 18 years," said Tom Johnson, Tenco's first executive director. "We had a good time and experienced some wonderful years at Tenco -- and I thank God for them. I don't understand how we got things done. But I was the person God chose, and I am grateful. They truly were the best years of my life."
Now, over five decades later, Tenco Industries continues to diversify its business to cover the shortfalls in the state and federal funding while serving more than 300 individuals.