Our leaders come from varied backgrounds but share a common goal: to help Central McGowan and our team members thrive.  We lead and make decisions that reflect our core values of Success, Trust, Innovation, Collaboration and Culture.

Our organization is structured into three strategic business units: automation, distribution and CO2 solutions with a strategic services group that supports them and the company overall.


that's shared
& lasting

in our words
& actions

that drives
excellence & growth

that delivers value-added
services & solutions

centered on people,
safety, family & fun

Our Leadership Team

I often refer to Central McGowan as a nearly 75-year-old startup. Because the key to sustaining a strong future is being open to continuous change and transforming the organization.

Joe Francis

President/CEO & Third Generation Owner (Visionary)
Joe's passion for Central McGowan is unmatched; his direction clear, his excitement contagious. He knew at a young age that Central McGowan would become his home. Founded in 1947 and purchased in 1954 by his Grandfather, Leo Henkemeyer, Joe is the 3rd generation owner.

Beginning his career in 2005, Joe was hired to do a variety of jobs including assisting in our fill plant, inside sales and customer service. After the sudden and unfortunate passing of his father and CEO/CFO in 2011, Joe took on the role of VP and CFO. He focused his attention on the financial side of things, and with the management team led the company through succession planning and a new leadership structure/company re-organization.

Joe is currently President & CEO, and majority owner of Central McGowan along with his mother Cynthia Francis. Maintaining an aggressive growth approach and family ownership with employee focus are some of his top priorities.

Bob Crew

VP & GM, CO2 Solutions
Bob was hired in 2016 with 25 years of experience in the welding and gas industry. Bob heads up our CO2 Solutions business, using his diverse set of skills including Accounting & Finance, Sales, and Division Management to aid in the strategic growth and direction of his busness unit and Central McGowan.
Pete Rogers

Pete Rogers

President of Automation
Pete joined us in 2019, and came to us from Acieta—another leading automation technology integrator with over 4,500 installed FANUC robots used for a variety of manufacturing applications. Pete possesses the strong mix of technical and leadership skills to drive our growing automation division.
Mike Muenzer

Mike Muenzer

VP & GM, Distribution
Mike joined us in 2020 to lead day-to-day Distribution Sales, using his 20+ years of industrial sales experience to manage daily sales activities; establish sales structure and strategy; and strengthen our sales team, sales skills and customer relationships. He's charged with the oversight of Branch, Route & Field Sales, and Sales Specialists and general Distribution operations.
Dean JR Kiffmeyer3

Dean "JR" Kiffmeyer

VP, Business Development
Dean has been with us since 1996. He has extensive experience in and enthusiasm for the business and industries we serve. Dean has held just about every position at Central McGowan which makes him an integral part of Central McGowan's leadership, and key to our continued growth and expansion.
Chris Babich

Chris Babich

VP, Finance & IT
Chris has a true passion for the manufacturing industry, having spent his entire life and career in it. Chris joined Central McGowan in 2019 to use his broad base of internal operations experience to help guide our company’s expansion and growth, while driving excellence and discipline in our financial and IT areas.

Julie Berling

VP, Marketing & Communications
Julie has 30+ years experience as a marketer, working as a strategist, marketing researcher, PR specialist, blogger, copywriter, journalist, and thought leader. She joined us in 2018, and shortly thereafter became part of our leadership team--focused on taking our marketing strategy to the next level.