In 1986, when the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States was 86 cents, Arnie Sallaberry and his wife, Harriet, with their three children, relocated from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington.

At that time, Sallaberry was in his first year as general manager of Zero Manufacturing Company, which was located in Washington, and which Clemco Industries had recently acquired.

Prior to that, he had been vice president of Clemco International Sales Company.

Under Sallaberry’s guidance, Clemco and Zero were in the beginning of the consolidation of manufacturing and other operations located in Memphis and San Francisco to Washington, where a new plant was being built.

The plant opened in spring of 1991, and eight years later Sallaberry became president of Clemco Industries, where for nearly two decades he was instrumental in steering the company to where it is today — one of the most respected names in the abrasive blasting industry.

In November 2019, Sallaberry “officially” retired from Clemco. Tom LaMantia, who came on as Clemco’s new president in May 2018, worked hand-in-hand with Sallaberry for a year-and-a-half as Sallaberry shifted his responsibilities to him.

Sallaberry is remaining in the role he began in late 2017 as chairman of the board of Clementina Clemco Holdings, Inc., the holding company for the entire Clemco group of companies.

Just as importantly, Sallaberry still drops in at Clemco from time to time. Officials said his visits are a reminder of how much his comradery and kind spirit are missed, and of how much his guidance of Clemco and stewardship of its values helped further the company’s leadership in the abrasive blasting industry.

Clemco Industries and Clemco International officials said they wish Sallaberry and his family the best for the future.

Clemco Industries, with nearly 150 employees, has been operating in Washington for nearly three decades. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of air-powered abrasive blast equipment used to clean, deburr, shot peen, remove coatings from, finish, or otherwise improve surfaces being blasted.

Since the mid-1940s, Clemco Industries has built industrial-grade blast equipment for contractors, facility owners, metal fabricators, and manufacturers around the globe, and also offered safety and protection accessories.

In 2018, the Washington office became Clemco’s global headquarters for all domestic and international operations.