The last time I saw Aaron Fechter he was working in the basement of Creative Engineering painting some latex and fiberglass on the inside of Fats Geronimo's mask. A Japanese company was considering buying one of the last "Rick-afire Explosion" animatronic bands. Aaron was reinforcing the rubber. The oppressive heat tended to weaken and in some cases even melt the rubber masks. Stacked on the wooden shelves there were large plaster molds for the characters heads and hands. The area where Aaron was working was once the painting station. Large canisters lined the wall filled with different colored paints. So work continues to keep the Rock-afire Explosion dream alive. He has also started selling animatronic kits to help people who aspire to one day build their own characters.
Aaron is still dreaming big. Perhaps he will someday invent a way to produce an alternative fuel source by harnessing the sun's energy. This factory was built from the ground up and was a huge financial success story in the early 80's. I keep thinking that this factory space is just waiting to spring alive again. All that is needed is the right application. For me the company's story mimicked the Orlando Florida Disney Feature Animation story. I was there in the idealistic days when a new studio was built and the films were all hugely successful. But with every rise came a fall and the studio was shut down. The trick is to find the next wave and ride it out. For Creative Engineering that wave may be just on the horizon.