Whether he's working in his woodshop, renovating his house, or riding dirt bikes in the desert, Ken Hefley brings a high-octane blend of craft, passion, and competitiveness to everything he does. His job as Makita USA's senior VP of marketing is no exception. "I've competed in sports all my life," he says. "There's a fiber of that in everything I do."

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Ken Hefley

Credit: Photo: Dave Feiling Photography

He's also a fourth-generation tool hound. After a boyhood spent figuring out how to fix all the things he'd broken, he ended up in his grandfather's shop. "My grandfather was a builder and I was captivated by his shop," says Hefley. "In high school I bought a cabinet saw instead of a car, and since then, cutting, grinding, and welding have been my passions."

Technology is high on his list, too. As Hefley points out, Makita is laser-focused on engineering and technology, constantly refining its products' performance and designs. The high-powered trade-dress that you've been seeing on the company's previously blue-on-blue tools over the last four to five years comes from Hefley's vision and understanding that, to make a real market impact, innovative performance features need to be matched by exciting designs.

And he's definitely hands-on. His fingerprints are all over Makita's new compact LS1016 10-inch miter saw, which has the cutting capacity found in larger saws. Above all – even beyond his obvious expertise and love for his work – it's Hefley's "game-on" attitude that's put some of the industry's best new tools in your hands year after year.

– Mark Clement