Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

Ventura's Hammerhead Industries: Another small manufacturer doing great CA things

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Feb. 26, 2018

We're introducing a new feature to the Champions blog.  We have partnered with CompanyWeek (CW) California to share information on the state's premier small to mid size manufacturers.  CW's featured companies are part of CMTA's Champions recognition program, intended to boost the image of California manufacturing and convince policymakers that manufacturing is the single best way to grow California’s economy and create high quality jobs. 

These companies are committed to California and exemplify the high principles of economic growth, innovation, entrepreneurship, and commitment to their employees. Together the CMTA Champions program and CW's many profiles will demonstrate how California manufacturers make a positive impact on their industry sector, their employees and their communities. 

This week CW California brings you Hammerhead Industries, a Ventura-based company created by two engineers turned entrepreneurs from General Motors. They founded the company in 1995, which focuses on retractable gear products, and have grown to 23 employees.  Their determination and grit show how a small manufacturer can meet the custom demands of 21st Century markets and compete in a global economy.  

They have tremendous opportunities before them, including in the industrial safety industry, but their business environment challlenges remind us that California policies must always consider the impacts on our state's prized manufacturers' abillity to invest and grow.


Hammerhead Industries

Producing a high quality product in the US, two entrepreneurs are meeting the challenges of competing in a global economy and competition from overseas manufacturing. Hammerhead Industries and Gear Keeper products were born from two General Motors engineers looking for a better way to attach and protect their equipment while SCUBA diving. Co-founders John Salentine and Ken Collin tried a basic key retractor to hold their flashlights and gear, but it needed substantially more engineering to make it work properly and to last in salt water and sand.

"We got the product going before 1995," says Salentine. "We linked up with a distributor and put their brand on it. At that time, we operated out of our garage, and around the second year into it, we decided we’ve had to turn this into a real business or someone’s going to copy us." At that point, Salentine and Collin quit their engineering jobs and incorporated Hammerhead Industries for the purpose of designing and building Gear Keeper. ... READ MORE ON COMPANYWEEK CA


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