City Council Pays Tribute Longtime San Jose Manufacturing Leader

On June 19, the San Jose City Council paid homage to Don Mountz, founder of Mountz, Inc. a legendary manufacturer and distributor of precision torque and fastener tools used around the globe.

The Council adjourned its meeting in honor of Mountz, who died this January at the age of 90. “We are honored to have such a great longstanding family business so close to our Downtown,” said District 3 councilmember Raul Peralez, whose district includes the Mountz headquarters.

Mountz’s story parallels Silicon Valley’s evolution. Founded in 1965, the company grew with the success of its customers, a list that includes many of the Valley’s iconic companies. In 1978, Don relocated the company’s headquarters to its current 22,000 square-foot ISO 9001-certified facility in San Jose, where the company provides dozens of quality jobs in engineering, sales, and manufacturing. As Mountz’s reach grew beyond Silicon Valley it added a global distribution facility in Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Mountz’s products include a wide range of custom and standardized torque instruments that are used in precision fastening applications by companies in the aerospace, automotive, electronics, and medical device industries. These tools are often used in mission-critical or life safety settings where the consequences of a part failure can be extremely high. Many of the products that Mountz designs and manufactures are customized for specific applications, which makes them a trusted partner and prevents production from going offshore.

Newspaper photo: Don Mountz, circa 1976, after the announcement of the company becoming the first tenant of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Foreign Trade Zone.

According to Don, non-engaged employees can never fully engage their customers. For this reason, he made it a point to “put employees first,” focusing on employee wellness and success that demonstrably contribute to performance improvements within the business. Don often noted that it was the way employees treated customer that “determined if a customer is a one-time transaction or a life-long relationship.”

Don’s advocacy for global sales led to the creation of the Foreign Trade Zone of San Jose, with Mountz as the first participant. Today the Zone is utilized by many well-known companies including Tesla, Lam Research, and Space Systems Loral. He also served as an initial investor, board member, and Chairman for South Valley National Bank, now Union Bank.

Brad Mountz, who took over as CEO in 2015, shows off one of the company’s products, the Validator torque wrench tester.

For four years straight, Mountz has been rated a top workplace by the Bay Area News Group, based on employee satisfaction surveys. The company also has a long history of giving back to its employees: before the firm’s 10th anniversary, Don initiated a profit sharing plan that would later evolve into a fully-vested Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Employee stock ownership, along with a well-funded employee wellness program, are two of the reasons why the company’s valued employees tend to enjoy astonishingly long careers at Mountz.

In 2015, Don’s son Brad took over the helm as President and CEO, ushering in a second generation of the Mountz family business. Brad has continued to lead the company with a focus on employee wellbeing and happy customers.

Don is survived by Lorna Mountz, his wife of 58 years, along with his three sons and eight grandchildren. The City of San Jose is grateful that Mountz calls San Jose home and for the many contributions Don and his family continue to make in the community.