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First News Fall 2006

Made in the USA
 


JoVonne and Jerry Fitzgerald
   What started as an experiment in rural economic development in 1985 has gradually grown into one of Huerfano County’s largest private employers. Quest Enterprises, Inc., with a 40-45 member workforce, manufactures protective clothing for firefighting in the old Walsenburg Mercantile building at 408 Russell. The owners, Jerry and JoVonne Fitzgerald, purchased and relocated a small Denver-based company, Mountain View Manufacturing, whose primary product was industrial rain wear. Recognizing the potential for growth in structural firefighting clothing, the Fitzgeralds focused on that product. Today, this specialized safety clothing, also known as “turnouts” marketed as Quest™, is the only product designed, cut, sewn, and shipped from the local factory.
   The gear protects many fire service personnel in Colorado, but the majority of Quest™ turnouts will end up in fire departments in other states. Over twenty-five fire equipment companies make up their distribution network. Among the large fire departments across the U.S. and around the globe whose “turnouts” were “made in Walsenburg” are: Birmingham, Little Rock, Denver, Savannah, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Tulsa, Salem, Providence, Austin, Taiwan, and Peru.

Mila Keith

Jack Martinez

   
   The minimum requirements for structural firefighting clothing were first developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) at the time Quest Enterprises came on the scene. In the two decades since, this NFPA “standard” became more stringent, requiring 3rd party certification of products. Quest™ garments are tested and certified by Underwriters Labs (UL). In 2000, the company’s quality management system became perhaps the first in southern Colorado to be registered under the International Standards Organization (ISO) 9001 standard.

   Another first claimed by Quest Enterprises was the adoption of a group health insurance plan combined with a Health Savings Account. A portion of the approximately $500 per month for benefits goes into a tax-free account owned by individual employees to be used for medical expenses or retirement.

   

Quest Enterprises, Inc.
408 Russell
Walsenburg, CO 81089
(719) 738-2345
www.questhq.com

 

 

Newsletter photography by Michael Babnick Photography

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