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Pitsco quality passes the test of time

Company’s products, service, and values consistent for 50 years . . . and counting

Published March 5, 2021

By Tom Farmer, Editor

A 2016 report revealed the average lifespan of US companies had slipped to just 18 years, a number expected to dip even lower due to advancements in technology and an evolving economy. The report’s author, McKinsey & Company, projected that 75 percent of companies quoted in the S&P 500 at the time would have disappeared by 2027.

Not all the news is bad though. Outliers to this dismal trend are small businesses that find their niche and consistently deliver high-quality products and superior customer service. Take, for example, the story of Pitsco Education.

Pitsco was founded by three educators in a basement in Pittsburg, Kansas, on March 6, 1971, when they vowed to give teachers and students the hands-on materials and kits they desperately wanted and needed. Fifty years later, still under the guidance of cofounder and CEO Dr. Harvey Dean, Pitsco remains true to its enduring roots delivering quality educational products and service, just on a much grander scale and always while capitalizing on advances in technology and trends in education.

The number of products we offer has grown a bit – going from the original four kits to more than 3,000 hands-on STEM products and curriculum programs – and, more importantly, our reach has gone from primarily middle school to span the full pre-K to Grade 12 spectrum.

In recent years, Pitsco has strategically grown its pre-K to Grade 6 product line, covering subjects from coding to robotics to engineering to full STEAM programs and customized professional development. Explore this issue of Network to get the full picture of our sharpened focus on the evolving needs of the youngest students, who thirst for hands-on experiences in the classroom, at home, or anywhere that learning takes place.


The same report detailing the lifespan of US companies also cited a company’s values and how it practices them as indicators of longevity. Pitsco’s core values for its employees – customer centric, self-starter, growth oriented, excellence driven, integrity based, and servant leader – are referenced regularly and practiced daily by employees who develop, market, ship, and service every one of the items that ends up in the hands of an eager student.

These six employee core values underpin Pitsco’s four corporate pillars – purpose driven, student engagement, industry-leading customer service, and quality/innovative curriculum and products – which stem from our original and enduring vision to lead education that positively affects learners. It’s this deep commitment and promise to our customers that yields only the highest-quality products and service.

We know whether our vision, corporate pillars, and core values are hitting the mark because we are a results-driven company. And the results speak for themselves. Half a century after its humble beginning and more than 280 million students served into its journey, Pitsco remains a leading STEM education company nationally and abroad with sales into more than 60 countries.

Numbers aren’t everything, but they can be revealing and serve as a good indicator of things to come. Naturally, we’re most proud of the number 50 this year, and we look forward to continuing to buck that national trend for business longevity and to logging another 50 years serving teachers and meeting the needs of all students.

Employees pick favorite products

Students and teachers aren’t the only ones who have Pitsco favorites. We asked a few Pitsco employees which products they most enjoy, and here’s what we discovered:


“As the person who oversees product development, I view the Straw Rocket Launcher as the ideal product. It has uses for all ages from K-12 to adults; teaches and reinforces concepts in math, science, engineering, and technology; and is at a price point that most customers can easily afford to buy. And last, but not least, it’s highly engaging!”
– Vice President of Education Matt Frankenbery


“I like AP Bottle Racers because of the ease of use and how easy it is to implement for the teacher. With a little help, the students can create their racer, but they can also paint, color, and add their personality into it. That’s why I like it for elementary: because it helps encourage some art concepts as well.”
– Education Advisor Preston Frazier


“I like it because it provides a really fun, low-cost, and super approachable introduction to coding.”
– Senior Inbound Marketing Manager Pam Scifers


“As a former elementary teacher, I would have LOVED to have this program. It is interdisciplinary – combining reading and writing with science and math application through collaborative lessons – and it engages all types of learners. We have seen so much success in all students – particularly students who didn’t fare well in the traditional classroom. I’ve always known it was a great program for all types of learners, but when I watched my autistic nephew love school again and thrive in his fifth-grade Missions classroom, that was all the proof I needed.”
– Senior Outbound Marketing Manager Ruthie Muller

“One student was carrying his structures project home when he met his mom. He explained what he did and what we would be doing all week. Then, he said, ‘Mom, this was so fun. I can’t wait to come back to school tomorrow.’ In all my 15 years of teaching summer school, I’ve never heard that.”

– Mario Dicarlo, Taylor Elementary, Santa Maria, California

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