Washington Evening Journal
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The Nelson Company featured at Carnegie Museum
FAIRFIELD — The Nelson Company in Fairfield is the subject of a new display at the Carnegie Historical Museum.
Carnegie Historical Museum Assistant Director Jake Schmidt said the museum is devoting a section of its third floor to a rotating exhibit that will change every three months. The current exhibit is dedicated to The Nelson Company, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.
The exhibit contains several manufactured items from the company’s rich history, such as the castings it has manufactured for agricultural equipment, washers, dryers and boat trailers, among many others. It contains photographs of the company’s board of directors including its founder, Pete Nelson, as well as numerous photographs of employees hard at work on their machines.
Nelson said some of the items on display were built by the Fairfield firm FALCO, such as a large transmission cover for John Deere that sits on a table next to the exhibit. FALCO made the cover at its foundry, and The Nelson Company refined it with its machines, such as adding screw holes and removing excess material.
Nelson said he started the company in his garage in 1972. In the early days, the company was mostly a family-run business, consisting of Nelson’s family members such as his wife, Susan, who was the secretary, and two brothers-in-law, Ron Holt and Ernie McCreedy, who were vice presidents. Other employees in that first year in business included Ted Chapman, Charle Ball and Gerald Waggoner.
After starting the company, Nelson remained president until 2003, when he handed the reins to Holt, who held the title for eight years. John Weissheier, an early employee hired in 1974, became president in 2011 and spent seven years at the helm.
Tim Bower presided over the company from 2018-2020, and was succeeded by Bob Bowman, who remains president. Bowman was fresh out of high school when he joined the company as a machine operator. He would go on to fulfill roles such as inspector and later quality control manager before becoming the sales manager and now the president.
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