On the Fresno flag, one part of it is agriculture, another sunshine, and the other part shown is industry. I didn't think it would be fair to that very important side of Fresno to make it 31 days without giving a nod to the cool stuff that is made here.
Pelco is the obvious company to mention first- you can find Pelco's systems all over the world, and you also see license plates all over Fresno that read PLCO. Its pretty huge, and even with the lay offs and hits that the economy has given it, it is still one of the most recognizable brands out of Fresno.
That said, I want to talk about a company that isn't as well known (which I can't understand why...* ) Keiser Sports and Health Equipment. Keiser manufactures fitness equipment, and the whole process from engineering to shipping the pieces out is done here in Fresno. Keiser was started in 1976 by brothers Dennis and Randy Keiser, and if you wanna talk about real smarties, well, I can't even seem to make my own breakfast but every year it seems like there is a new piece of pneumatic-awesomeness, or an addition to the pre-existing awesomeness that the duo and their engineering team come up with.
Worldwide Keiser is becoming a major force in the fitness world (force... that's funny because they sell a force machine.) and being recognized for its merits- being able to train consistently because there are no weights, its all pneumatic, the minimal equipment needed because, well its all pneumatic, and gosh golly gee, the inherent safety of using it because its... okay you get the picture, pneumatic. No weights dropping on your foot!
Keiser has been putting Fresno on the map in fitness equipment, LT uses Keiser equipment** (That's right, I know enough sports lingo to know that LT isn't just a sandwich missing its most important ingredient...) and the M3 bikes are selling like (lowfat) hotcakes because it does one thing so many other stationary bikes don't do- it S'sTFU! Its quiet, its smooth, its like riding a bike through butter (Margarine? Olive Oil?) and its just plain pretty. And, hot damn, its all Fresno. Also interesting, Keiser hasn't fared too poorly during the recession, a lot of their business is overseas in Spain and China.
I worked for Keiser for a year, and it was just so cool to see the process of manufacturing these things and becoming aware of the fact that everything we use is somehow part of someone's livelihood. I had never considered that side of things even though my dad has worked in the field his whole life. I really started to appreciate all of the small locally run businesses that operate out of downtown Fresno and how they work together and help each other out.
I think that this is one thing I love the most about industrial Fresno, they buy each others products, they support one another, and they take care of Fresno by using those downtown buildings. Fresno Tent and Awning operates out of the first brewery in Fresno, and they are so proud of that fact and of their place.
I was only a receptionist, so you know, my real knowledge of the manufacturing of stuff is pretty limited (as proven by my use of the technical term "stuff"- I put warning stickers on parts for machines when the phones weren't busy- that's how I got my hands in.) but it is one thing that Fresno can and should recognize. We have so many men and women working behind the scenes on things that people the world over can appreciate and use- Fresno plays a major part in protecting important places and also in training elite athletes in major sports***, among the thousands of other businesses in Fresno with equally important and wide reaching work, which I think we should really take immense pride in.
(Picture from Keiser's web site.)
*Seriously... come ON local gyms- this is top notch equipment with great customer service and like, the best bearded guy to supervise the assembly aspect, like, ever. I can testify that there is a lot of care and attention put into this stuff, but would you expect any less from a Fresno company? We're hard workers. Buy local!
**11 seconds into the video you can see some hot Fresno-made action.
*** DREW BREES. Major, like superflippinbowlmajor.
Super PS- this was mostly typed with a sleeping 1 year old in my left arm, so please excuse any glaring errors, I'll fix 'em as soon as I've regained use of all of my typing appendages.