Main Street Kansas: Derby company keeps track of time worldwide

Main Street Kansas

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – If you’re always losing track of time, a Kansas man can help. Clocks are his business!

But not just any clocks. These are very precise ones used by the White House, Pentagon and CIA.

In fact, almost every federal agency has a time display in its conference rooms that was made by BRG Precision Products of Derby, Kansas.

Several dealers around the world also sell his clocks.

“We do provide time displays for the Chinese Space program, very similar to the time displays we supply NASA,” said Bode.

BRG, or Bode Research Group, started in John Bode’s basement in 1992. He had retired from the Wichita Fire Department as a deputy chief after 26 years.

His computer software expertise helped him create wireless, synchronized clocks that could run 15 years on a common lithium battery.

And if you ever question why accuracy is so important?

“We produce the timers for the fuse duration on hand grenades so that’s really important whether it’s one second or two seconds, yknow?” said John Bode with a smile.

His clocks have even gone Hollywood! Movies, like the Transformers series, use them as props.

“Top Gun 2,” said Bode. “They used a lot of our displays for some kind of simulation.”

And if you look closely, all the clocks have a label with the company’s name and hometown on it.

“Small town Derby, with such an international company selling clocks all over the world. That’s impressive,” said Liz Ellison, one of 43 local employees.

She checks the circuit boards assembled by a machine.

“And then we place the board with the parts on it in the oven, and we bake it like a sheet of cookies,” said Bode, pointing to a machine with a conveyor belt.

The work used to be done in China until recent tariffs made it more affordable to do it in-house.

“Our quality is so much better,” said Bode. “And we don’t have to order 5,000 or 10,000 units at a time.”

BRG Precision Products also makes timers for sporting events, like rodeos, quick-draw competitions, marathons, and NASCAR.

Even many of the church bells around Wichita are actually electronic sounds set to a timer by BRG to play on the hour.

So even if you don’t see John Bode’s clocks, you can bet they’re working in many ways to keep you and the world on time!

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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