Here is the entire newspaper article about our neighbor, Fred Baybarz. I think it’s helpful to analyze the subtle details of how he became successful. I don’t know the exact date of the article, but I believe it’s from the 1970s, and I believe it was published in the Lodi News Sentinel newspaper.
Lodi Industrialist is a Business Builder
First it was the Baybarz Binder plant. He sold it. Then it was Valley Tow Rite, started with a handful of workers and built up to 250 employees. He sold it. Then came Lodi Fab, started with a small force that grew to 300 full-time employees. He sold it. Now it’s Lodi Metal Technology, started in 1971, and in its first expansion. He hasn’t sold it yet.
He is Fred L. Baybarz, a dynamic, handsome man of 64 who probably singlehandedly has done more for Lodi’s economy than any other person in the past two decades. Baybarz, whose earliest trade was carpentry, loves a challenge. And when that is met, he is ready for another.
His record in Lodi industry proves it. His first little venture, Baybarz Binder, was successful, so he sold. And he followed the same procedure in his other plants. Each is still a thriving Lodi business. And each was built by meeting a need in the industrial field – supplying a product in demand. And this takes an uncanny sense and knowledge of what is going on. Baybarz has both.
He admits he could have retired after selling Lodi Fab, “But I like a challenge. And I like giving employment to people.” He likes Lodi, and he likes the people.
Baybarz’s success is built upon supplying needed items to industrial users. He has never produced for the retail market. His Valley Tow Rite, a tow hitch manufacturing firm, was built upon the growing trailer and mobile home business. Lodi Fab built metal industrial racks, pallets, and shelving. And his customers included some of the state’s biggest firms – Lockheed, Breuners, Sears, to name a few.
Some of his ideas for improving the products have been patented. He and his key associates have met the challenge of new materials and new industrial needs. At Lodi Metal Tech, steel is the primary material. Among its products are the custom trailer beds upon which big mobile homes are constructed. And a key item now is steel components for relocatable classrooms and for buildings that are constructed on the site with component parts. Lodi Metal Tech is the largest independent producer of the steel components now used in building. Equipment includes a huge 600 ton ‘brake’ which can mold a 52-foot piece of steel 1/4 of an inch thick.
Working with Baybarz in his venture is Les La Maie, who comes from San Francisco with experience in the steel industry. Lodi Metal Tech developed when the two men merged their thinking on market needs using steel to the best advantage, and using only prime structural grade steel delivered in carload lots.