Ken Achs & The Mid-West Group Through The Years

  • 1964

    1964

    21 year old Ken Achs opens his first business: Mid-West Automotive, an automotive parts, speed and customer parts shop, located at 732 Broadway Avenue.

  • 1965

    1965

    To diversify Mid-West Automotive’s business, Ken expands the company into the paint and auto body business. A full paint job for a Volkswagen was worth $29.95.

  • 1965

    1965

    Mid-West purchased its first piece of residential real estate, an apartment building located at 1612 Main Street in Saskatoon.

  • 1966

    1966

    Ken took a road trip to California and saw drag racing and came back and built a dragster, a “C-Gas” dragster with an injected 327cid small block Chevy engine.  Ken raced the car in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg and was also the first car to go down the new Saskatoon dragstrip, Southwind’s Dragway (now Saskatchewan International Raceway). He was hooked on racing.

  • 1967

    1967

    With a desire to go much faster, Ken bought a Top Fuel car from Ed Norton of Seattle. This was the first Top Fuel car in Saskatchewan and he won virtually every race he entered across the prairies that year, competing against U.S. drivers.

  • 1968

    1968

    Ken bought a Top Fuel chassis from Tom Hoover in Minneapolis and built himself a Top Fuel Dragster, the Mid-West Express. The car was powered by a blown, nitromethane burning 354 Chrysler.  Ken turned the top fuel car into a business venture, charging $700 a weekend to race locally against famous American top fuel drivers, making a name for himself.  Ken ran this car for for three years, sweeping every race he entered in Canada. He set the low elapsed time and top miles-per-hour marks at the Canadian Nationals in 1968.

  • 1968

    1968-1971

    Ken raced his Top Fuel car and Funny Car along many stops in the Western US including in Seattle, Spokane, Yakima, and Walla Walla in Washington, Eugene, Oregon and Long Beach, Orange County and Fresno in California.  His weekends were occupied by hauling his car halfway through the continent to race. Between work, racing and watching his kids grow there was never a dull moment.

  • 1969

    1969

    Mid-West diversifies its business and opens a muffler shop to complement its auto parts and auto body businesses.

  • 1970

    1970

    With newfound business from the muffler shop, Ken determined that he needed more room and hired a contractor to build him a new building on 8th Street.  The contractor was “no good” and Ken fired him and had no choice but to build the building himself which he completed in 30 days.

  • 1971

    1971

    Ken purchased a Top Fuel Funny Car chassis from Ed Norton, which he covered with a 1971 Dodge Challenger body and powered with a 426 Hemi.

  • 1971

    1970s

    Mid-West built many buildings, some for its commercial portfolio and some as a contractor. Mid-West still owns many of the original buildings Ken built in these early days.

  • 1972

    1972

    Ken and several other body shop owners joined together and formed their own supply company, Auto Body Specialties, a company that Mid-West now has a majority share in today.

  • 1977

    1977

    Needing to expand his body shop operations, in 1977 Ken constructed a new body shop, the largest in Saskatoon. The building is still operating as a successful body shop, some 40 years later, as “Midwest Meidl” as a result of a business venture with Honda dealer Randy Meidl.

  • 1980

    1980s

    Mid-West continued to operate its automotive companies as well continue to build, renovate and manage commercial real estate in a growing Saskatoon portfolio.

  • 1980

    1980s

    Mid-West ventured south and started to do business in Phoenix, building a mall and several housing developments.

  • 1989

    1989

    As a result of slow Saskatoon market, Ken sought out other opportunities for Mid-West and found a joint-venture opportunity in Vancouver. By 1990 they began building houses built more houses in the Vancouver area than there were residential permits issued for all of Saskatoon.

  • 1992

    1992

    In an effort to further expand Mid-West, Ken put together a deal with Sundquist Homes in the Seattle area whereby the two companies would partner to develop residential real estate. Over the next 25 years, the companies would come together to build many single-family residential developments, apartment buildings and commercial buildings in the greater Seattle area.

  • 2002

    2002

    Ken and Colleen formed a new company, Meridian Development, with Karl Miller. Meridan started with infill residential projects but quickly garnered respect in Saskatoon for larger scale projects such as the redevelopment of the King George Hotel, the University of Saskatchewan student housing and Luthercare Village seniors’ center in Stonebridge.

  • 2003

    2000s

    Mid-West undertakes several successful ventures in the Palm Springs, Seattle, Edmonton and Phoenix.

  • 2008

    2008

    Ken Achs was honoured with the Fraser-Gatrell Memorial Award for a distinguished contribution to planning by the Association of Professional Community Planners of Saskatchewan (APCPS).This award is presented to a person who is a non-member of APCPS, that has made significant contribution to the promotion of planning and who has directly enhanced the planning profession.

  • 2010

    2010

    Ken Achs was personally honoured with the prestigious Saskatchewan Architectural Heritage Society’s President’s Award, an honour rarely bestowed in the long history of the organization.

  • 2011

    2011

    Ken Achs, with Saskatchewan’s new found reputation as the place to do business in Canada, was asked to chair the Inaugural Saskatchewan Real Estate Forum attended by the ‘Who’s Who’ of Western Canadian real estate.


  • 2012

    2012

    In recognition of his overall achievement in business excellence, in Ken Achs was inducted to the SABEX Business Hall of Fame. His commitment to paying it forward with his exceptional efforts in promoting entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan.


  • 2012

    2012

    Saskatoon’s first AA classed office building, the Nexus Building is completed.

  • 2014

    2014

    Ken Achs was honoured in with the Raj Manek Mentorship Program’s Above and Beyond Award.