Area manufacturers known for quality equipment |

Area manufacturers known for quality equipment

When rain begins to fill Nevada County’s high mountain reservoirs near Truckee, it’s only a matter of time before rivers swell over their banks downstream in Sparks, Nev.

Tracking those floodwaters for the city is a Nevada County company: High Sierra Electronics.

Rain measurement technology manufactured at the Grass Valley firm alerts emergency personnel in Sparks to prepare the floodwater’s crest well ahead of its arrival.

The company is one of a handful of high-end manufacturers in western Nevada County, an area known nationally and internationally for its high quality technology, business leaders said.

“One of the things we’re good at is manufacturing fairly high-end products,” said Gil Mathew, CEO of the Nevada County Economic Resource Council. High-volume, low quality products don’t fit into the area’s economy, he added.

On Thursday, about 100 county political and business leaders took an economic tour of western Nevada County, visiting High Sierra, AJA Video, Cranmer Engineering, Mini Mania and Eigen Video.

“If you made something like paper clips, you wouldn’t fit here with how high the wages are,” said High Sierra Vice President Jim Slouber. “But when you make higher value products, you can find a place here.”

The manufacturers serve as both employment centers and they bring new, out-of-area wealth into the county, Mathew said.

High Sierra sells its weather detection systems both domestically and internationally, doing business in locales as far-flung as Thailand and Djibouti.

Its systems detect rainfall or snow on roadways and trigger warning signals to alert drivers to slow down. High Sierra also works with large cities, such as Pittsburgh, Pa., to provide equipment that alerts city officials to potential flooding issues.

“It is pretty fascinating to think of what kind of influence we have around the country,” said Sue Swenor, the company’s marketing manager.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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