"Anybody can be successful if they really want to be. But you just don't sit in a chair and say 'I'm going to be successful.' You've got to get your hands in the dirt."
Man smiling
-Kenneth F. Mans
Founder, Industrial Oils Unlimited

In 1970, a base oil salesman named Kenneth F. Mans decided to take a leap of faith and strike out on his own. “I thought that if I could make money selling oil for them, I could do it for myself,” recounts Mans.

The entrepreneur started formulating industrial lubricants in his garage in Tulsa each evening and selling it to local industry six days a week. After ten years of being a one-man production, delivery, sales, customer service, and accounting team, Mr. Mans hired his first employee. The company began to experience more success as Industrial Oils Unlimited built a solid reputation for its wealth of technical expertise and habit of going above and beyond to meet customer needs.

Over the following decades, IOU grew to offer more products, hire more staff, and provide even greater levels of customer support. The company then moved to a larger production plant and built new warehouses. Tank wagons were acquired to move product more efficiently. As technology progressed, a strong commitment to honesty and high quality standards remained constant.

Vintage photograph of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Industrial Oils Unlimited building

Mr. Mans is now 93 years old and still comes into the office several times a week to take care of customers that are his primary responsibility. In 2011, Charles R. Stinson, after nearly 30 years in the lubrication industry, took over as President and CEO. Under his leadership, Industrial Oils Unlimited has continued to expand and grow by building on the strong foundation laid during the early years. In addition, Mr. Stinson has worked diligently to further develop and fine tune a corporate culture based on the importance of integrity, the immense value of relationships, and a commitment to work/life balance.

Today, what started as one man’s dream has grown to become a respected industry leader with seven locations and nearly 200 employees. As we prepare to commemorate 50 years of IOU, we reflect back on the milestones that shaped our success story- and the values we’ll take into the future.