K’NEX Brands

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Michael Araten
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Location: Hatfield, PA
Founded: 1990

K’NEX Brands

Michael Araten
President and CEO

K’NEX Brands is known for its K’NEX building system, exported to 40 countries around the world. The company has developed K’NEX Education, an entirely new line of hands-on collaborative learning tools designed to be used in STEM/STEAM classes. “We have a team of innovative product development managers, marketing managers, teachers and advisors who help us develop and work with the curriculum needs in schools around the country to develop the sets in our education line,” says Michael Araten, president and CEO of K’NEX. The company’s robotics set will allow children as young as five or six to build their own robot. 

WORDS OF WISDOM: “If you want to succeed, plan your work and work your plan.” – Brian Roberts, Comcast

“Our education product is not only made in the U.S., but it also is the only line that has drag-and-drop software. Not only can you use the instructions and programs we’ve given you, but you can create your own programs over time,” says Araten. “The curriculum in our education line gives teachers the ability to download lesson plans and teach STEM or STEAM concepts.” In addition, he notes, introducing young children to these concepts early in life and in playful ways can help close the STEM/STEAM skills gap in the future.