NAM President John Engler is a basketball fan, and he led off his remarks Thursday at the Economic Club of Indiana’s meeting in Fort Wayne by recalling that the city was the birthplace of the NBA team that became the Detroit Pistons.
The Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons were owned by Fred Zollner, the piston manufacturer, and after playing most of the ’40s in the NBL, the Pistons became a charter member of the National Basketball Association in 1948 (as just the plain-old Fort Wayne Pistons). The team moved to Detroit after the ’56-57 season.
Engler noted that the Piston’s long-time owner and NBA Hall of Famer, Bill Davidson, died in 2009, and his widow, Karen, has put the team up for sale. Time for a homecoming to Fort Wayne?
Davidson was chairman and president of Guardian Industries Corp., a major manufacturer of glass products for the construction and automotive industries and fiberglass insulation products. He also was an honored philanthropist, giving away more than $80 million in the 1990s alone.
The manufacturing ties go even deeper with the Pistons. One of the great Fort Wayne players was George Yardley, a scoring machine and six-time All Star. In the team’s first season in Detroit, 1957-58, he smashed the 2,000 points-in-a-season mark, average 27.8 points a year.
Yardley cut his career short to go into business. Today, his company is the George Yardley Co. of Santa Ana, Calif.
The George Yardley Company was founded in 1960 with the goal of providing superior products to industrial and commercial concerns in Southern California. Since that time, we have expanded to serve Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and West Texas with engineered solutions for HVAC, plumbing, and process piping applications. With support from our warehouse we are able to provide the best solution for many facility and process requirements.
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