Fresno-based Betts Company named its seventh president earlier this month — and like the first six, his last name is Betts.
Bill Betts, 33, was named president and chief operating officer of the 147-year-old company April 7. He takes over the president’s job from his father, Mike Betts, who will remain active in the business as chairman of the board of directors and CEO.
The company started in San Francisco making springs for horse-drawn carriages. Obviously, it’s evolved over the years — and not just because its original headquarters crumbled to the ground in the 1906 earthquake — and relocated to Fresno in 2007. Betts has now has three divisions: Betts Spring Manufacturing makes springs as aftermarket automotive parts and for industrial uses. Betts HD makes the metal hangers that hold mud flaps on big rigs. And Betts Truck Parts & Service distributes all kinds of truck parts.
The long line of presidents includes a woman at a surprising time. Emmeline Betts ran the company during the Depression after her husband died and her sons weren’t old enough to take over the business.
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Bill Betts says people always ask him if he felt pressured to join the family business.
“Not really,” he says. “It just never occurred to me not to want to come in.”
He worked at Protiviti Inc., an international risk and business consulting firm, before coming back to the company. He first worked at Betts doing odd jobs as a middle schooler.
Betts has a bachelor’s in accounting and entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business and recently earned a Master of Business Administration from Fresno State.
It’s too soon to ask if any family members will take over his position when he retires. Betts has two sisters who don’t work in the business and the oldest of his four children is 5. The youngest isn’t even here to ask yet — the child is due to be born in November.