The Rutherford Report: RC Business Aids Space Exploration and More

 

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“Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival.”

—Neil deGrasse Tyson
 
 
RC Business Aids Space Exploration and More

Did you know there’s a business in Rancho Cucamonga that makes parts for the International Space Station?

Their story begins in a garage in Claremont in the 1950s.

Paul Mindrum—a World War II pilot—had been working at a company that manufactured dosimeters—small pens that displayed how much radiation a person had been exposed to—for the U.S. military.

When the business shut down, Paul decided to start his own business manufacturing tiny components needed for the budding aerospace and defense industries in California.

While Paul fashioned precision parts from glass and ceramics, his wife, Elsie, kept the company’s books and raised their four children: Diane, Darlene, Dan and David.

By 1956, Mindrum Precision had outgrown the garage, so Paul looked east and found a warehouse amidst the wineries and vineyards of what would later become Rancho Cucamonga so he could expand his business.

There weren’t any technical schools training people how to craft the custom-made parts Paul had been manufacturing in his garage, so he quizzed potential employees about their ability to use their hands. One of his first employees was a woman who told him she was really good at knitting.

The Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union was heating up, and Mindrum Precision was well positioned to capitalize on the need for high-precision components necessary for space exploration.

The company moved to its current location—a large warehouse on 9th Street—in 1974.

In addition to playing a role in helping the United States put men on the moon, Mindrum crafted tiny microvalves for the Curiosity Rover that explored the surface of Mars and the Juno Space Probe, which is expanding our understanding of Jupiter—the solar system’s largest planet.

The family-owned company later diversified into other markets, including medical devices. They once manufactured parts for an experimental device that aimed to allow movement of objects via brain power.

Today, Paul’s daughter, Diane, serves as the company’s CEO and as Chairman of its Board of Directors. She started working at the company in 1985 with no intention of staying more than a few years.

Paul’s son, Dan, works as the Optical Manager of the Lapping and Polishing Departments, and Paul’s grandchildren, Kurt Ponsor and Heather Mindrum, are being groomed to lead the company.

Learn more about this local business by visiting www.mindrum.com.
 
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