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Wine Country inferno singes Keysight Technologies Santa Rosa HQ, but complex still viable

SANTA ROSA — Keysight Technologies, a $3 billion firm that is Sonoma County’s largest publicly owned company, was forced to vacate its head offices because of one of the wine country fires, but Keysight’s top boss said Thursday the headquarters complex is intact despite some damage.
The million-square-foot, 200-acre campus remained emptied out on Thursday following its evacuation Sunday night while flames roared through the tinder-dry Sonoma and Napa wine countries and adjacent areas. A shift that was working that night had to be evacuated.
“Our number one 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 with Keysight Technologies, which makes instruments, systems and software for electronic measurements and is descended from the original Hewlett-Packard operations in the Bay Area.
Yet plenty remains up in the air on that score for Keysight, which over the 12 months that ended in July produced $232 million in profits on revenue of $3.06 billion.
The company has 1,500 workers at the Santa Rosa headquarters campus, including 1,100 full-time employees. At least 49 of those employees lost their residences in the firestorm disaster. 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. The contained a pre-school 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 question we will be fine.”
One technology industry expert, Tim Bajarin, principal analyst with Campbell-based Creative Strategies, 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.
Plus, Keysight, which had a market value of $7.92 billion on Thursday, operates in numerous locations. The company has about 100 worldwide locations, including major operation in Colorado, and 12,300 workers globally.
“It’s going to be a challenge, but the downtime will be weeks, and not months,” Bajarin said.

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