A-dec, Incorporated
Founded1966 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersNewberg, Oregon, US
45°18′55″N 122°57′12″W / 45.3152°N 122.9534°W / 45.3152; -122.9534Coordinates: 45°18′55″N 122°57′12″W / 45.3152°N 122.9534°W / 45.3152; -122.9534
Key people
Ken and Joan Austin, Founders
Scott Parrish, CEO
Marv Nelson, President
ProductsDental chairs, lights, cabinetry and sterilization
Number of employees

A-dec (Austin Dental Equipment Company)[1] is a dental office furniture and equipment manufacturer based in Newberg, Oregon, United States. It is considered one of the largest dental equipment makers in the world,[2] and as of 2002 is Newberg's largest employer with 832 employees.[3] Founded in 1964, the company's annual revenue of $250 million comes from the sale of products such as dental chairs, stools, delivery systems, medical lighting, cabinetry, and other accessories.


In 1964, Ken Austin built an improved air-powered vacuum system known as the Air-Venturi System, which varied from the belt-drive devices in use at the time.[4][5] That same year the company released the first miniature delivery unit designed specifically for the new reclining patient chair, Dec-Et, followed by the complementary Tray-Cart, the first mobile dental assistant's work surface. The mobile equipment helped the company grow rapidly.[6] In 1966, A-dec was incorporated, and at the time the company was housed in a Quonset hut in Newberg.[4][7] They built a new plant and offices on 150 acres (0.61 km2) on the edge of Newberg in 1971. The company expanded distribution into 23 countries that year as well.

In 1977, A-dec offered a full line of instrument delivery systems. In subsequent years, the company added chairs, stools and dental lights, becoming a full service provider in the 1980s with revenues of $75 million annually by 1990.[7] They developed a dental cabinetry line in 1983 as well as building the self-contained water system, allowing dentists to have a controlled water supply to handpieces, and syringes, improving the industry's infection control. A-dec began a partnership with W&H, a family-run company based in Austria and a leading manufacturer of rotary dental instruments in 1985. The partnership positioned A-dec for new growth into the dental handpiece and ancillary equipment markets with the A-dec|W&H co-brand. In January 1990, they bought A-dec Diversified Inc., a company also in Newberg.[8] The company grew to 600 employees by 1992.[9] In 1999, the company was named as the 88th largest woman-owned company in the US.[10]

A-dec introduced new products the Cascade and Radius in the 1990s, and in 2004 introduced the A-dec 500. The chair-mounted delivery system brought new technologies together for the first time and created an integrated system. The development of A-dec 500 led to streamlining the company's production lines and staging A-dec for a quicker time-to-market for its products. They also switched from a cold press to a hot press for their wood piece production at their 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) plant.[2] The company was one of the leading contributors to a campaign to force a vote on a proposed income tax increase by the state legislature in 2003, which was defeated in 2004.[11]

By 2006 the company had grown to almost 1,000 employees and annual revenue of $250 million.[4] A-dec named Scott Parrish president of the company in 2007, replacing founder Ken Austin.[12] In 2008, the company held a contest for dentists and gave the winners new office equipment.[13] They also opened a new 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) training facility that year in Newberg.[14] This facility doubles as a showroom for visiting dental professionals to view the company's products.[15] The company introduced the A-dec 300, a fully integrated chair and delivery system with a smaller footprint in 2009. That year they also laid off 100 employees due to the worldwide economic downturn.[16] In February of that year the company was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency and then reached a $325,700 settlement for selling an unregistered pesticide.[17]


Founders, George Kenneth 'Ken' Austin, Jr. (1931-2019[18]) and Joan D. Austin (1931-2013[19]), developed the "A-dec Way", a written expression of the operating philosophy which governs all aspects of the company.[20] Introduced in 1972, the philosophy contains 15 points from a concern for people to encouraging creativity among others.[20] Employees receive profit sharing from the privately held corporation.[5][21] The company's 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus in northeast Newberg has 11 buildings with 500,000 square feet (46,000 m2).[21] As of 2003 the private company was debt free.[22] Most of the equipment built is custom ordered by dentists.[23]

The company has affiliations with the American Association of Women Dentists, American Dental Association, American Student Dental Association, Dental Trade Alliance, National Dental Association, British Dental Health Foundation, and Australian Dental Industry Association among others.

A-dec has won many award including being named as one of Oregon's Most Admired Companies by the Portland Business Journal in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Other awards include those from Dentaltown Magazine, Volunteers of America, the American Dental Education Association, Association of Fundraising Professionals, American Dental Association, and Oregon Business magazine.

See also


  1. ^ "CNC punch press aids group-technology team.; computer numerical control". Tooling & Production. Nelson Publishing. 55 (7): 105(2). October 1, 1989. ISSN 0040-9243.
  2. ^ a b "AWFS Vegas Fair Technology Tour; A-dec is on deck with new hot press". Wood & Wood Products. 112 (7): 134(1). June 1, 2007. ISSN 0043-7662.
  3. ^ "Newberg Community Profile". Oregon Economic & Community Development Department. Archived from the original on 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  4. ^ a b c Tims, Dana (December 21, 2006). "Joan Austin brings a quiet boom to Newberg". The Oregonian. pp. A1.
  5. ^ a b Edmonston Jr., George P. (September 2002). "Building a Better Mousetrap". Oregon Stater. Oregon State Alumni Association. Archived from the original on 2006-08-31.
  6. ^ Colby, Richard (November 14, 1988). "A-DEC built on dental equipment". The Oregonian. pp. D8.
  7. ^ a b Khermouch, Gerry (March 19, 1990). "A-dec finds success in thinking small; dental equipment producer is being run like family shop". Metalworking News. 17 (777): 4(2). ISSN 0891-4036.
  8. ^ "Two A-DECS become one". The Oregonian. January 25, 1990. pp. D11.
  9. ^ Blackmun, Maya (April 10, 1992). "Pacific Metal bows to quirks of customer". The Oregonian. pp. B6.
  10. ^ Duryee, Tricia (May 4, 1999). "Five Oregon Companies Make Top 500 List of Women-Owned Businesses". The Oregonian.
  11. ^ Steves, David (December 11, 2003). "Big donors give tax petition a push; Ballot Measures; Nearly half of the $600,000 it cost to put it on the ballot came from five companies". The Register-Guard. p. D1.
  12. ^ Tims, Dana (January 4, 2007). "Northwest: Ken Austin, co-founder of A-dec, steps down". The Oregonian. p. C2.
  13. ^ "Two Dental Practices Win Big to Help Patients". dentistryiq.com. 2008-08-31. Retrieved 2022-02-04.
  14. ^ Staff (April 17, 2008). "Metro Southwest Neighbors: In Brief - SW-Tigard". The Oregonian. p. 9.
  15. ^ Moody, Robin J. (April 4, 2008). "A-dec opens a new showroom". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  16. ^ Tims, Dana (February 13, 2009). "Dental supplier A-dec jettisons 100 employees". The Oregonian.
  17. ^ Learn, Scott (February 7, 2009). "Dental supply firm, EPA settle dispute". The Oregonian.
  18. ^ "George Kenneth "Ken" Austin Jr". The Oregonian. May 20, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  19. ^ "Joan D. Austin". The Oregonian. June 13, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Quality Management; Quality leadership 100: Quality's survey reveals that these companies know quality makes a difference". Quality. 44: 48(10). September 1, 2005. ISSN 0360-9936.
  21. ^ a b Brinckman, Jonathan (June 10, 2004). "Inside Oregon Business: A weekly look at businesses' strategic decisions details keep A-dec lean". The Oregonian. p. B1.
  22. ^ Harrington, Cynthia (August 1, 2003). "The new accounting environment: companies face a paradigm shift in how they conduct business". Journal of Accountancy. 196 (2): 28(6). ISSN 0021-8448.
  23. ^ Hall, Mark (June 24, 2002). "Web ServicesOpenPortalDoors; Industry standards make for easier access and application integration". Computerworld: 28.