Ag alum returns to his roots, saves company and local jobs

By MARISA MATA, Student Writer

“Ron is a mover and shaker who has traveled the world doing turn-arounds [for companies]…and came back to the Valley to turn around a manufacturing plant…and did so against all odds,” said Holly Carter, a colleague of Ron Heskett (1987).

Heskett graduated from Fresno State with a degree in mechanized agriculture and went into manufacturing, becoming the vice president of manufacturing for Oatey Company — a 500 million dollar business based in Cleveland, Ohio.

“I was responsible for facilities in California, New Jersey, Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Nogales, Mexico and Shenzen, China. I routinely flew 75,000 to 100,000 miles a year visiting the sites,” Heskett said.

A few years ago, Heskett was recruited by Prospect Capital to save Borga Steel — a manufacturing company located in Central California.

“The business had been suffering from a tough market for several years. I was living in Pleasanton, California at the time. In fact, I had not lived in the Fresno area for 25 years. I took the position and went to work. We were in the black after 18 months of hard work. At that point I requested a capital infusion from Prospect to grow the business. They were not interested so I made them an offer on the business,” Heskett said.

“[He] ended up buying the company. He saved 40 jobs and the company is on track to double very quickly,” Carter said.

Heskett has managed to do all of this while being a single father.

“I have been a single father for 10 years and have moved [my children] across the country as I followed my career,” Heskett said, “I am proud of my children.”

Heskett is also proud of the team that has developed at Borga and the work that they have done.

“Next month one of our buildings will start going up in the city of San Francisco, near Giants Stadium. My team thinks that is pretty cool. So do I.”