Cronkhite Farm is also a place committed to habitat management, as Greg takes the stewardship of his land seriously. Creating a place where wild bird flourish and will continue to flourish for decades to come is at the heart of his daily activities. But, while dog kennel manufacturing and habitat work are the currently focus of Greg’s time and energy, it’s not where the story started.
In 1998, Greg and Jane established a custom rotational molding company called Sterling Technologies. Early in the company’s history, they started with the manufacturing of military cases for defense contracts. It was (and always will be) a Mom and Pop operation and, in those days, both would wear the a towering pile of hats. As the business grew, the payroll grew along with it so as to maintain a high standard of product quality and customer service.
“Defense contractors are very demanding. They have to be as they are in the business to deploy at a moment’s notice into very difficult situations. Our engineers worked closely with these companies in developing and testing military cases and protection systems for these assets. There were thousands of cases developed and molded and we have been able to refine the designs over the years to increase our ability to protect what is inside the case. We use this same forethought when we develop products for Dakota 283.” He glanced into the rearview mirror to the dogs crated in the bed of the truck and smiled. “And I think we would all agree that dogs are an even more important asset than anything in a military case.”
The relationship between humans and dogs is a bit primal. Something ingrained in us from our hunting and gathering days. Humans have found tremendous meaning in our relationships with our dogs and the Cronkhite family — maybe without knowing it — is still looking out for humanity’s first and favorite domesticated animal.
“The first dog that I personally owned was named Walter. I know, corny, my last name is Cronkhite,” he said with a chuckle. “He was a Hungarian Vizsla and I bought him when I moved to my first job out of college in Atlanta, GA. I have been a Lab guy for quite some time now. I had a chocolate named Wrigley (I am a huge Cubs fan) and a Black named Gumbo (my wife went to LSU). We now own two other Labs, Ramsey, a chocolate Lab, and Gilley our yellow Lab. Ramsey is getting older now, 10 to be exact.”
After beginning with storage vaults for the back of trucks that were designed to deliver payloads safely and securely on road trips, it was the natural progression for a pair of passionate dog lovers to design and construct a dog kennel to the same standards. The first kennel — the G1 with pin-locking door — has evolved into the Dakota 283 options we love today.