Exclusive: Cooling Texans a hot business move for Big Fogg

Large events such as the ESPN X Games at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend have helped fuel a Texas-focused business boom for Big Fogg Inc., a Temeculah, California-based maker of misting tents, inflatables and other cooling devices.

The company will have its cooling equipment in use at the COTA event, which kicks off on Thursday. It’s the second-straight year that the company has snagged the lucrative contract.

Chris Miehl, the company’s president and CEO, told Austin Business Journal he relocated to Central Texas to help grow his company following the 2008 recession, with the addition of industrial and manufacturing-based cooling services as a key new segment. The company has 15 employees and reported $2 million in revenue last year, with $2.5 million expected for all of 2015.

Big Fogg’s primary sector was in the athletics realm, providing cooling stations for fans and players in most major sports and large events including 11 Super Bowls.

Miehl said Austin and Texas in general are currently growing in a fashion similar to what California experienced prior to the recession. He said he expects to add employees in the Austin area as its Texas sales continue to grow, especially with new industrial accounts in the Dallas and Houston markets.

“Our customers are more and more in that (sector) as time goes on,” said Miehl, who has partnered with Cedar Park-based Flame Technologies Inc. to tap into the industrial market and has an office in that company’s headquarters.

Miehl said Big Fogg will maintain a strong presence in California as it continues to grow, but said the manufacturing-friendly business climate of Texas presents its best growth opportunity.

“We’ll take everything one step at a time, but we understand the tax of advantag8e of being a company based in Texas,” he said. “If our headquarters were ever to move to Texas, we’d keep a large employee presence in California because we’ve worked very hard to build that.”