Katun Founder, Mike Clarke Dies, 71

T. Michael Clarke, (best known as Mike), founding co-partner of Katun Corporation, passed away on April 26 at his Fort Myers home in Florida. He was 71. Mike had suffered from Multiple Myeloma for the last ten years.

Together with partner David Jorgensen, he co-founded Katun Corporation in 1979 and pioneered the legitimate imaging aftermarket industry as a result. Mike’s vision, hard work and leadership led Katun from a small start-up in Minnesota to become a multi-national corporation with revenues in the region of $350 million and subsidiaries and distribution centers on all continents.  Katun quickly expanded and acquired Bedford International in 1983 gaining international relationships, which soon prompted Katun’s direct presence in Europe with operations in UK, France and Germany.  Further European expansion also included Italy, Spain, Portugal and Sweden where Katun established direct subsidiaries in the mid 90’s. He also pioneered a joint venture in China in 1989 and a sales and warehouse operation in Singapore for the Asian market.

Further expansion included the creation of Minco Manufacturing LLC, in Colorado, a new European distribution center in Gorinchem, Netherlands and a new North American distribution hub based in Davenport. Iowa. Further acquisitions included D&R Products a high-speed printer parts company and EBS a well-known fax products provider, prior to the company being sold to private equity groups in 2002.

Katun’s success was and continues to be, 36 years later, heavily influenced by the vision and direction pursued by Mike Clarke as its founding CEO. He was able to create a powerful and arguably the best-known global brand within the imaging aftermarket.

Many industry leaders have expressed surprise and shock at Clarke’s passing. At times he was controversial and outspoken, but always highly intelligent and successful with unequaled generosity.

Many individuals who spent tenure at Katun Corporation owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Clark for giving them the chance to join what became a very dynamic and successful organization.

German-based Delacamp’s Thomas Spicker told Recycling Times “Mike Clarke was not only a personal friend, he was a mentor, leader, visionary and an exceptional human being. It was a very sad day when Mike left Katun in 2000 and it is a very sad day today to see Mike Clarke leave Earth so early, too early!”

Industry consultant Steve Weedon was stunned when he heard the news. “I have travelled and moved around with Mike quite a bit in my Katun days. He was the original after-marketer. He will be remembered for a long time”

We extend our thoughts and prayers to his immediate family: Kicki, Jeff and Cheryl who plan a celebration of his life, shortly, in Florida. “Thank you for all of your support and friendship over the years,” they said. “Mike was so lucky to have such a wide circle of family, friends and colleagues all over the world.”

We offer you our sincere condolences.

T. Michael Clarke 1944-2015 Rest in Peace.

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