Tempco Custom Heater Manufacturing

Tempco Distributor Spotlight:
Big Chief Inc.

November 23, 2021

Big Chief Inc. Logo

Big Chief was founded in 1962 by James Howe, Sr. He was a letterman for the University of Kentucky in both football and basketball, playing for Bear Bryant and Adolph Rupp. After college, he was offered a contract by the Green Bay Packers. The contract was for $4,500 - a good amount at the time - but Mr. Howe held doubts regarding the long-term “staying power” of this relatively new National Football League! Instead, he elected to utilize his engineering degree and go into the process heating industry. He believed he could earn a better living and support his growing family in manufacturing.

He first worked for The Smysor Company before heading out on his own to start The J.R. Howe Company as a manufacturer’s representative. After a few years in that business Mr. Howe saw the potential in distribution and started Big Chief, Inc. The company is now headed by his sons, Bob, Terry, and Jeff Howe. From a foundation of modest beginnings in a home basement office, Big Chief built its business in facilities throughout the Tri-State area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Today, Big Chief has grown into one of the largest process heating distributors in the country with clients in all 50 states as well as 12 countries.

James Howe Sr. Football Player James Howe Sr. Football Player

James Howe, Sr. - Football Player

Products and Service

Big Chief supplies a wide range of custom electrical process heaters and products:

  • cartridge heaters
  • mica band heaters
  • ceramic heaters
  • strip/channel heaters
  • cast-in heaters
  • complete line of custom temperature and pressure sensors
  • pressure and temperature controller systems

Big Chief focuses on the automotive, aerospace, medical, food packaging/manufacturing and building materials industries. The company uses its team of outside sales reps as well as its inside sales teams to provide on-site support, map critical equipment parts and plan coverage needs in facilities, as well as provide custom stocking for critical, emergent parts.

Big Chief Inc. Building

Big Chief Inc.

Partnering with Tempco

Big Chief has had a relationship with Tempco for over 30 years. Tempco is a valued partner for the quality of their products, their technical support and their experience when working on challenging projects. As a custom-focused firm, Big Chief can literally take your paper napkin drawing or idea, and turn it into a fully functional, just-the-way-you-need-it, process heater or sensor.

Big Chief continues to evolve and meet the needs of a changing industry while never compromising on our core principles: Serve. Solve. Simplify.

Phone: 800-835-4328

Big Chief Inc.

Tempco Distributor


Tempco logo


607 North Central Avenue
Wood Dale, IL 60191-1452 USA
Phone: 630.350.2252   Toll Free: 888.268.6396
Fax: 630.350.0232   Email: info@tempco.com

We have Branch Offices located across the United States.

Authorized SA3 Distributor Log-In

ISO 9001:2015 Certified Company


Phone: 52.55.2451.4070
Fax: 52.55.5561.6889
Email: info@tempcomexico.com
Website: www.tempcomexico.com

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