When Fred Festersen was recruited to the PRIDE Industries Board of Directors in the 1970’s, the company was serving fewer than 20 families and was deeply in the red.
With a businessman’s perspective and a personal loan for $10,000, Fred helped to keep PRIDE afloat long enough to make an even greater impact. Through his own network, Fred brought contracts to PRIDE, which created jobs for many more individuals with disabilities. Pitching the Small Business Administration (SBA), and securing a loan through Farmers Bank in Lodi, he helped to secure the funding for a much-needed expansion and move to Berry Street in Roseville, CA which provided the space for more work contracts – and more jobs.
He involved Sierra College, understanding that training was the key to upward mobility and advancement. Then, in the 1980’s, he played a key role in recruiting our current President and CEO, Michael Ziegler to lead PRIDE. Today, PRIDE has grown to over $227 million in revenues and employs more than 4,700 people including more than 2,600 people with disabilities.
“I applied business practices and ethics to the organization,” Festersen said in a 2010 taped interview. “If there is anything I have ever done that justifies my existence, it’s my involvement in PRIDE.”
Fred Festersen passed away Thursday, July 12, 2012 at the age of 95. A World War II veteran, Festersen was known throughout the region for his business acumen, his civic contributions and his commitment to family and friends. He leaves behind a devoted family, a grateful community, and a legacy of PRIDE.
“Fred’s acts of generosity have had far-reaching effects over the years for people with disabilities and for PRIDE,” says Ziegler. “His passion for PRIDE’s mission to create jobs for people with disabilities lives on.”
Thank you, Fred.