Performance Meter in Banning manufacturers and sells water meters throughout the world and has been in business since 1964. However, right now at its assembly and testing facility it’s down to 30 employees. Over the last year with orders down the company was forced to hand out 70 pink slips.
“Some of them with us 25 years. It’s personal, you’re godfather to their children and you have to lay them off,” said Art Hendey, the founder of Performance Meter.
Business isn’t as brisk at it used to be thanks in big part to the housing construction bust. Yet Hendey believes the layoffs could have been avoided if more water districts in the state kept their business within the state. It just so happens Performance Meter is the only water meter manufacturer in California.
“Now these taxed based utilities could be buying products from us rather than from foreign owned out of state companies,” said Hendey. “They could be supporting a company that’s based here in California; Amercian owned and really employs a lot of people. We could hire a lot of people back.”
Hendey can’t figure out why more water agencies in the state aren’t buying his patented state of the art meters. After all they measure every drop and his prices are competitive if not lower than many out of state manufacturers.
When Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley recently heard what was going on and the jobs lost he sent a letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger asking him to step in and urge state agencies in the market for water meters to at least allow Performance Meter to place bids.
“I know the governor is a strong advocate of buying local and trying to rebuild California business and traveling all over the state to promote new business and we’d like his support,” said Ashley. “I am sure when he understands the impact of it he’ll give our folks in Banning a chance.”