Keysight Technologies forced to evacuate
SANTA ROSA » Keysight Technologies, Sonoma County’s largest publicly owned company, was forced to vacate its head offices as one of the Wine Country fires bore down on the area, but Keysight’s topboss saidThursday theheadquarters is intact despite some damage.
Keysight employees working Sunday night were evacuated from the Santa Rosa headquarters. Themillion-squarefoot, 200-acre campus remained emptied out Thursday, days after flames first roared through tinder-dry Sonoma and Napa counties.
“Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our employees, not only our employees, but our employees’ families— those are priorities one, two and three,” said Ronald Nersesian, chief executive officer of Keysight Technologies, which makes instruments, systems and software for electronic measurements and is descended from the original HewlettPackard operations in the Bay Area.
Yet plenty remains up in the air on that score for Keysight, which produced $232 million in profits on revenue of $3.06 billion over a 12-month period through July.
The company has 1,500workers who typically work at its Santa Rosa headquarters, including 1,100 full-time employees. At least 49 of those employees
lost their homes in the firestorm. And while Keysight has reached out to every one of its workers, the company as of Thursday afternoon still hadn’t heard back from a few of them.
Some modular buildings on the edges of the campus have burned to the ground. They contained a preschool that Keysight had donated to Santa Rosa as well as a credit union. But the main campus remains largely untouched by the fire.
“We have officially said the site is closed this week,” Nersesian said. “There are some minor areas where there may have been some water damage. We are going through this bit by bit. There is no questionwewill be fine.”
One technology industry expert, Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Campbell- based Creative Strat- egies, said it appears Keysight could be back in its head offices sooner than later.
“If the fire has skirted them and they haven’t had any structural damage, the amount of time they will be away from that facility is probably less than two weeks,” Bajarin said.
Keysight, which had a market value of $7.92 billion on Thursday, operates in about 100 worldwide locations, including a major operation in Colorado. It has 12,300 workers globally.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but the downtime will be weeks, and not months,” Bajarin said.
Keysight has begun to help its displaced employees, directly and indirectly.
The company has offered $10,000 of assistance — which doesn’t have to be repaid — for any employee who has lost a home.
Keysight Technologies smolders after a portion of it burned in the Tubbs Fire on Monday in Santa Rosa. Typically, 1,500 of their employees work in Santa Rosa.