Rob Brown is #MadeForKnoxville.
Hurling, boats, and military cables… who knew these three things would be the kickstart to a new business endeavor! When Rob moved to Knoxville with his wife in search of a hurling team, they met Scott. Rob’s background in starting a military cable manufacturing company and Scott’s experience making wire harnesses for boats caused the two to create their business, Knox Wire Harnesses.
Rob moved to Knoxville from Charleston after having started a military cable manufacturing company with a business partner. As he and his wife settled into their new home, Rob began discussing a potential business venture with a new friend, Scott, who worked for a major boat manufacturer. Thinking wire harnesses and military cables were basically the same, they decided to start a new company for the commercial side of wiring harnesses. They’ve since learned that these two businesses are vastly different; but that hasn’t stopped them from putting their heads together to continue learning and growing. Their business launched in November 2019, right before the COVID-19 pandemic reached the states. Though it was difficult starting a business without knowing exactly what was going on, Rob continued moving forward. Knox Wire Harnesses’ biggest customer actually came from their supplier being shut down because their entire shop got sick. Rob worked an estimated 100+ hours that week to get the customer what they needed; from there, they have just kept growing.
“We have employees that give everything they can–they give good advice and are invested in our company. I just want to make sure that what we grow is sustainable by giving returns to our employees so that they stay with us.”
In Their Own Words…
I am Rob Brown, co-founding partner of Knox Wire Harnesses. We are sort of the nervous system for moving vehicles. When you push a button, how does that button tell the motor to crank up? We provide the nervous system that connects that button to the motor. I moved up to Knoxville from Charleston, where I had started a business with my partner to make military cables. When my wife and I wanted to try something different, we first moved to North Carolina to teach for a while. Then, we began looking for a place that had a hurling team (an ancient Gaelic sport), and found that Knoxville had a team! Our move to Knoxville led us to meet Scott, (now the CEO of Knox Wire Harnesses). He worked for a major boat company and designed the wire harnesses for them. We decided that military cables and wire harnesses were similar–we were completely wrong–and with that started a wire harness company. Within forty-five minutes of where I’m sitting, are three of the five biggest tow boat manufacturers. I didn’t come to Knoxville to manufacture boats, but Knoxville is a great place to grow and do this business.
What we’ve always tried to do is create a high quality product. I would rather someone come to us because of our name and quality than for us to reach out to them. We get a lot of new business coming to us, so growth is an organic thing. My initial drive has been my family and my original business partner, Will. I want to give back to them what I feel like they have given to me. That has grown to my new business partners, Scott and Mark, and all of our employees. They have worked so hard, given a lot, and they deserve a lot. I want to grow this company to repay them for everything they have put in. We have employees that give everything they can–they give good advice and are invested in our company. I just want to make sure that what we grow is sustainable by giving returns to our employees so that they stay with us.
Interested in sharing your “Made for Knoxville” story? Submit here!