Written by Gabriel Dillard
Betts Co. is a bit of an outlier in the Central Valley manufacturing scene.
For one, as it prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year, it is very likely the oldest business located in Fresno and the entire San Joaquin Valley.
And, it is one of a growing number of businesses that were born in the Bay Area that ventured to the Central Valley in hopes of finding a more affordable place to do business and expand.
William Michael Betts I, an English steel craftsman, sailed to the U.S. in 1860 looking for new opportunities. He brought spring manufacturing west of the Mississippi with his business in 1868, locating in San Francisco.
Betts originally manufactured springs for horse drawn carriages, streetcars and wagons of every kind, and today, it is the major supplier of parts in the trucking industry.
The sixth-generation family business is helmed by CEO Mike Betts and his son President Bill Betts, 35, who himself joined the family business ten years ago. In 2008, the company moved the headquarters for its manufacturing division here to a facility on South Maple Avenue.
In a 2015 Executive Profile in The Business Journal, Bill Betts wrote about the outlook for the company’s future.
“The one constant in our nearly 150-year history has been awareness of the need to continually reshape our company to fit with its evolving marketplace,” he said. “Change is constant. Pace of change now accelerates rapidly, compounding the challenge of its management. Our future depends upon building a leadership team of passionate, skilled people to foresee market need and competitively position our company to deliver.”