Don Kaspar has spent his life as a dedicated employer, father, and former student of Texas A&M. He graduated from Shiner High School in 1945 and from Texas A&M College in 1949 with a B.S. in Agricultural Administration by special permission of Dean Shepherdson, Dean of Agriculture. From high school through college and even after graduating from TAMC, he worked part-time factory jobs and as a Jr. Executive at Kaspar Wire Works, Inc., a company started more than 100 years ago when his grandfather, August Kaspar, made and sold his first wire basket. He joined the U.S. Army and served in the Korean Conflict as a 2nd Lt. and then as a 1st Lt. in 1950-1952, receiving a Combat Infantry’s Badge and a Bronze Star. In 1951, he was made CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kaspar Wire Works, Inc.
As a multi-decade CEO of the Kaspar Family of Companies, Don has overseen the growth of a small manufacturing company to a well-diversified and multi-national mini-conglomerate. From 18 employees to over 1,000, he has supervised the development of newspaper vending machines from a local San Antonio, TX product in the late 1950s to a national product in all 50 states, Canada, and Europe. This increase includes a number of coin mechanism patents and designs that came from his guidance. Kaspar Family of Companies has expanded to include Kaspar Wire Works, Inc.; Kaspar Ranch Hand; Kaspar Electroplating; Kaspar Die & Tool; and Sho-Rack Service Centers, with total annual sales revenues at approximately $45,000,000. Kaspar Wire Works, Inc. has twice received the Texas Industrial Commission expansion award, and Kaspar Ranch Hand received the Aggie 100 Award in 2005 with a ranking of 67. In addition, his service for TAMU organizations and Texas Association of Business is exemplary.
Don Kaspar has been a stabilizing factor or a “Rock of Gibraltar,” if you will, for the community of Shiner and Lavaca County as the largest employer for decades. As a result, the county was able to grow and prosper as compared to other rural areas in Texas. When one considers he was President of the Shiner Rotary Club, a Director of the Shiner Hospital Foundation, Scoutmaster of Troop 231, first Chairman of Shiner Youth Baseball, first Chairman of the Shiner United Fund, and Chairman of the Board of the First United Methodist Church, Shiner would just not be the same without him. In addition, his service to the business community via the Texas Association of Business and to TAMU has helped these entities to thrive and flourish.
As a young man, he was an Eagle Scout and set in motion a lifetime of accomplishment for which he has been recognized with the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America, the two-time Governor’s Expansion Award for Kaspar Wire Works, Inc. from the Texas Industrial Commission, the Aggie 100 Award in 2005 for Kaspar Ranch Hand, the Roll of Fame from Rotary District 587, and Texas Association of Business Awards.
While a student at Texas A&M, Don was in the Cadet Corps, Corps Staff Operations Officer, the Yoakum A&M Club, President of the 1949 Senior Class, Ross Volunteers, Outstanding Staff Officer, Who’s Who at Texas A&M, and on the Senior Ring and Student Life Committees. Since graduation, he has been a 1949 Class Agent from 1974 to 1984, a three year Vice-President of the Association of Former Students, a President’s Endowed Scholar Honoree, a member of the Corps Development Council, a member of the A&M College of Business Development Council, a member of the A&M Research Foundation, Past President of the Yoakum A&M Club (Lavaca/Dewitt Counties), Century Club member since 1966, and Diamond Century Club member since 1973.
His wife, Jean Welhausen Kaspar, is deceased; and all four sons have A&M degrees: David C. ‘75 – Management, Dan A. ’77 - Agricultural Economics, Douglas D.’80 - Industrial Engineering, and Dennis G.’85 - Mechanized Agriculture. Three daughters-in-law have graduated from A&M: Joanne ’76, Laura ’81, and Cordelia ’86. Several of his grandchildren also have chosen to attend Texas A&M and have received degrees or are working on them now: Jason ’05, Carli ’06, Cherise ’07, Joanna ’08, Candace ’10, Christopher’ 10, Kyle ’12, and Dennis ’13.
Don Kaspar continued his father's work and built the Wire Works into an international corporation that is one of the largest family-owned and operated businesses and one of the most prominent wire products manufacturers in the country. Though he still works at the Wire Works, he has lived to see the operation of the company transferred onto the shoulders of his four sons. The Kaspar family is dedicated to the product they produce, has continued to expand their product lines and plans to continue to pass the business down to future family generations.