Wells Engberg History
The company was founded by Bill Engberg, whose life was drastically changed during World War II. While serving in the army in France alongside Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated combat soldiers of the war, Bill was wounded by friendly fire and became a paraplegic. After spending a year at the VA hospital in Battle Creek, Michigan, he returned to his life back in Rockford, Illinois.
While trying to adjust to his disability, Bill discovered that the limited hand control market was inadequate to serve his needs. He found work as a draftsman and soon teamed up with Bill Wells, a fellow employee, to design and build a hand control that was easier to use than those available at the time. In 1952, the two men formed the company to sell their new design. The hand control components were fabricated at various machine shops in Rockford, and sales and assembly were done in the Engberg home and garage until the early 1970s. It was a total family affair. What Bill wasn’t able to do, his wife, Norma, and son and daughter, Dale and Sue, took over. Many evenings were spent in front of the television, putting together subassemblies, folding boxes, crinkling newspaper, doing final assembly, and wrapping up parts for shipping.
Around 1970, Bill and Norma decided to move full-time to their home in Phelps, Wisconsin, and Dale Engberg and his wife Jan moved into the family home in Rockford to carry on the business. They took over all the physical aspects of the business, while Bill continued to handle the accounting. When Bill passed away in 1973 at the age of 54, Dale and Jan took over the business completely and shortly after moved it from their home to an industrial facility. Over the years, the business continued to grow.
In 2013, Dale and Jan decided they were ready to retire. After a two year search for the right new owners, they found Matt and Jacky Alles. Matt and Jacky are both mechanical engineers with a strong background including designing handlebars, and clutch and brake controls for a major motorcycle manufacturer. After working side by side with Dale and Jan, Matt and Jacky assumed control of the company in early 2015.