As you walk through California Fine Wire (CFW), awe-inspiring machinery is at every turn. Robots, pulleys, metal wheels, chemical baths. It’s a factory you would expect in a big industrial city. But CFW is located blocks from the ocean in Grover Beach, and all the massive equipment is actually producing something quite small: ultra-fine metal and alloy wire products. Some so thin they’re barely visible. Yet their impact is highly evident.

“Our wires are on Mars right now,” said Rodney Greenelsh, a Cuesta College alum and current CEO of California Fine Wire.

“It’s in equipment currently on Mars, in probes exploring the planets of our solar system, and in deep space probes exploring the universe. And our wire is in medical equipment - pace makers, defibrillators. It’s in the pace maker of one of our very own employees, in fact. It’s pretty cool.”

Born and raised on the Central Coast, Greenelsh now heads up the family business. His late father, an Army veteran trained in rocket guidance systems electronics, opened the custom-order wire business from his Santa Maria garage in 1961.

“Since the beginning, we’ve prided ourselves on giving the client exactly what they need,” said Greenelsh. “Other companies around the world won’t do custom orders, but we will. We’ve created a niche in the wire industry, right here on the Central Coast.”

Greenelsh attended Cuesta College in the 1990s and although he transferred to Cal Poly to study industrial technology, he credits Cuesta for providing him with foundational skills.

“I consider myself lucky; I had a destined career given to me and I chose it. At Cuesta College, I was able to enjoy the path I was on; it was slower-paced than Cal Poly. I was able to digest all that I was learning and retain it. It helped tremendously.”

Greenelsh continued, “The chemistry course I took at Cuesta College still impacts my life today. At work, we talk about chemical reactions, we talk about metallurgy, and to understand those conversations, I draw on the basic chemistry knowledge that I received at Cuesta. I am not a chemistry major – but I tell you what, I learned enough in that class that I can have a conversation now with a true chemist.”

Heading up a business that helps doctors save lives, astronauts explore planets, and scientists understand the universe takes someone wired to absorb information.

“Cuesta College gave me the time to think and make sense of what I was learning, and why I was learning it.”

Cuesta College is proud to have provided that platform.