Kyle Caudill of Morehead is an inventor, a businessman, a teacher, a tool designer, a machinist and a big fan of Maysville Community and Technical College.
Not only did he get his education at what is now the Rowan Campus of MCTC in machine tool technology, now called computerized manufacturing and machining, he learned how to weld and fabricate with metal, among other skills.
Kyle Caudill the machinist put that expertise and experience to work for Bluegrass Manufacturing in Lexington, locally for Morehead Machining, for Toyota in Georgetown and in a millwright apprenticeship that further broadened his skillset and intensified his interest in lean manufacturing.
“My late father, Chester Caudill, was a master carpenter and he strongly encouraged me to do that apprenticeship just in case my other plans didn’t work out,” Kyle recalls. “I am grateful for his good advice then because that experience helped me hone my blueprint skills which are so critical in what I am doing now in design, machining and fabrication.”
Today, Kyle Caudill the businessman is president of his family-owned company, 4C-Innovations, LLC. He is managing a thriving, growing enterprise that literally is on the cutting edge in agriculture for organic crops and the hemp industry through the manufacture of the “Hemp Hawk”.
Invented and sold by A-I Implements of Winchester and partially redesigned by Caudill at 4C-Innovations, the “Hawk” is pulled behind a tractor while its seated operators can cultivate up to four rows of hemp or other plants quickly and efficiently.
Caudill’s company currently is building 20 of the machines at the rate of two per week but likely will increase that pace when his firm moves into a larger facility now on the drawing board.
4C-Innovations also does machining work for several Fortune 500 companies in the automotive sector and Caudill has hired several MCTC graduates and students to develop their skills on CNC lathes, milling machines, routers, plasma cutters and other high-tech devices.
“We also are utilizing students from the MCTC welding program whenever possible to help fabricate parts of our products,” Caudill added. “That is another valuable, real-world work experience.”
He credits Mike Davis, his retired former professor at MCTC, with igniting his passion for high-tech entrepreneurship.
“Mike was always ahead of the curve in terms of new ideas in machining and that helped me to be alert to opportunities,” Caudill said. “Kenny Barnett, who replaced Mike, is doing much the same with his students today. I’m also impressed by the welding students of Nick Pecco.”
They also have patented a device for loading and unloading a pontoon boat to and from a trailer, as well as improving the design of a rubber-covered practice drumhead for young drummers.
“I just like the challenge of being innovative in finding better ways of getting things done, for work or play,” he said.
Kyle Caudill, the teacher, has taught several of his employees the basic skills of other crafts so they are cross-trained and able to step up in scheduling emergencies.
The name of 4C-Innovations, LLC, comes from the four Caudill family members involved originally – Kyle, his father Chester, his mother Imogene, and his brother Kevin.