Proudly Celebrating 70 Years of Manufacturing in America

Each of the seven stars on our commemorative logo represents one decade in business. The beacon at the top is a nod to our original logo

2022 is a milestone year at Whelen Engineering because it marks our 70th year of manufacturing in America. We’ve grown well beyond what our founder, George W. Whelen, could have imagined when he invented a rotating “anti-collision” beacon for the tail of his plane out of his garage in Deep River, Connecticut in 1952. Who could have predicted that George’s realization of the need for better safety equipment on aircraft would grow to include over 1,000,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 1,500 employees with customers all over the world?
While a lot has changed over the past seventy years, Whelen’s commitment to innovation and safety has only grown. George recognized early on that safety was critically important to first responders and by 1953 had adapted his original beacon-design to create a model specifically for police motorcycles. And in 1956 he expanded even further with the invention of the Rota-Beam™, a rotating magnetic mounted automotive beacon, for use by Police, Fire and Public Works departments.

The development of new and better safety and warning systems has continued through the decades and still is one of our most important priorities today. You can learn more about our history and innovations in a detailed timeline by CLICKING HERE.

Vintage product literature from 1956 highlighting the Rota-Beam™

The Whelen family continues to play an integral role in the company and in fact, George’s grandson, James Whelen, leads our engineering department today. “Even as a child I was aware of my family’s commitment to safety and to our community as well,” James said when asked about what it was like to grow up with the Whelen last name. “It’s a responsibility that I take seriously,” he said. “It’s an honor to carry the torch of my grandfather’s legacy,” James added.

In 2020, 26-year veteran engineer and Chief Operating Officer, Geoff Marsh, became President and CEO of Whelen Engineering, continuing the mission of developing innovative and lifesaving products that our founder began seven decades ago. Geoff recently shared some of his thoughts about our historic anniversary.

“As we stand at our 70-year milestone, we celebrate the pioneering spirit of George W. Whelen and this idea he started,” he said. “We are proud of who we are, and we are more committed than ever to innovating and manufacturing the best safety solutions to all those who protect and serve others,” Geoff emphasized.

We are proud of the work we do, and we are especially proud to be manufactured in America. Through a longstanding commitment to our values and good ole American ingenuity, we can continue to say that nearly every part of every product we create is made right here in the United States. In fact, we never left! That means a lot to us, just like the communities we live and work in mean a lot to us. Because at Whelen, we’re proud of the work we do and where we’re from. Over the years we’ve donated time, money and our efforts to thousands of causes (you probably haven’t heard about most of them because we don’t like to brag about that kind of stuff), and we continue to look for ways to give back to the people and places we care about.

We are thankful to our customers, reps, employees, upfitters, outfitters and everyone in between for helping us reach this amazing milestone. We truly would not be here without them. We are excited about the future and look forward to the next seventy years of innovation and success!