Like father, like son

Jamie DeSmet has taken over the family business, representing the third generation of DeSmets to operate the longtime Tracy business. Photo / Per Peterson

Jamie DeSmet is third generation to run family welding business in Tracy

By Per Peterson

The DeSmet name has been a mainstay on the highway for more than 50 years, and Jamie DeSmet is making sure that tradition will continue well into the future.

DeSmet earlier this month officially grabbed the reigns of DeSmet Weldors and Machine Co. from his father, Duane, who like his boy, started out sweeping floors at his dad Ed’s place across the road.

“I helped my dad for 12 years — it was after school, summers, weekends,” Duane said.

Ed bought the welding business from Merrill Firebaugh on April 1, 1970. Ed had been employed by the Rust Welding & Machine Co., of Marshall, and brought with him 28 years of welding experience. He named the business DeSmet Weldors & Machine Co. Twelve years later, Sept. 1, 1982, Duane and his wife, Gail, purchased the business from Ed and his wife, Rose.

“I was only 13 when I started helping him,” said Duane, who graduated from Tracy High School in 1975. “Until I was until probably, oh, a freshman, sophomore in high school — that’s when I started really thinking about staying in the business. When I graduated I knew I wanted to stay and take over someday.”

Duane said working for his father was a challenge, in that Ed was a my-way-or-no-way kind of businessman.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.