Jessee Machine Works was established by John Jessee in the early 1940s. John originally opened the business as a machine shop. His son Bill joined the family business in the mid-1960s. At that time there was a growing demand for orchard equipment as more and more farmers started growing walnuts and almonds in the Chico area. The Jessee's decided to transition from a machine shop to a fabrication shop to meet this growing demand.
In 1989 the current owner, Garth Laughridge, joined the business as half-owner with Bill Jessee. Garth had begun working for the Jessee's in 1970 when he graduated from Chico High School. He had worked at the shop for 5 years and then moved to North Dakota to farm and raise cattle with the help of his brother. It was there that he met his wife Susan. Garth and Susan farmed in North Dakota for 10 years before deciding to move back to Chico, California to resume building orchard equipment.
When Bill Jessee retired in 1992 Garth bought out his half of the business and is now the sole owner. Jessee Machine Works is still run as a family business today. Garth is the general manager and his wife Susan is the bookkeeper. Their son Evan is the shop foreman and his wife Heidi is the office assistant. The goal of Jessee Machine Works is to maintain a family-run business atmosphere.
Garth believes in building quality equipment that is easy to operate. He has had the opportunity to be on both the farming and the manufacturing side and brings his experience into every project and piece of equipment the shop produces. Garth believes in taking pride in your work and building equipment as though you were going to be the one using it yourself.