Monthly Archives: March 2014

McWane Honors World Water Day by Joining the U.S. Water Partnership

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McWane President Ruffner Page and the President’s Science Advisor Tout New Technologies For Delivering Safe, Potable Water To Those In Need

McWane, Inc., a leading global company in water infrastructure development, is proud to honor World Water Day by joining the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP), a public-private partnership committed to addressing water challenges around the world. McWane President Ruffner Page, Jr., took part in a symposium this month on water issues at the U.S. State Department that drew senior government and private sector officials, including  the President’s Science Advisor Dr. John Holdren and U.S. exemplar water technology developers. The group addressed new technologies U.S. companies are developing to overcome the challenges of clean, potable water access around the world, among other topics.

World Water Day is the annual, global commemoration of responsible water resources management and water stewardship. In addition to the event at the State Department, dubbed “USTech H2.O,” Page and others participated in a “Water and Security” meeting at the U.S. Institute of Peace as well. 

“The companies here…are bringing forward groundbreaking techniques for getting the most out of the water we’ve got and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about endorsing that idea,” said Dr. John Holdren, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

On display at the tech event were twenty-eight featured products selected by an independent panel of experts. The products address global water challenges in developed and developing country contexts, from water data management and desalination to economical pumping systems. The tech event attracted hundreds of attendees from the U.S. water sector and the diplomatic community.

Developing new technologies is important, but ensuring they work for those who need it most is just as vital, noted Page. “We are pleased to link water infrastructure and the need for long lasting reliable products with one small example…of how new technologies can take many, many steps to improve the efficiency of water systems.”

The U.S. Water Partnership was launched on World Water Day 2012, and seeks to mobilize U.S.-based knowledge, expertise and resources to improve water security around the world – particularly in those countries most in need. The Partnership currently consists of 87 members who focus on four main objectives: improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) access; advancing integrated water resources management; increasing efficiency and productivity of water and improving governance. For more information, please visit

Winners of the 2014 McWane Scholarship

The Community Foundation has announced that the following students have been selected to receive the 2014 McWane Scholarships:

Hourly Team Scholarship Winners

Monserrath Lopez (Pacific States team member Daniel Lopez)
Qua China Carmichael (M&H Valve team member Kendrick Carmichael)
Alex Schultz (Clow Valve team member Guy Schultz)
Emely Sandoval (Tyler Pipe team member Juan Sandoval)

Salaried Team Scholarship Winners

Michaela Heys (Tyler Union Team member Jennifer Heys)
Lena Barrett (Corporate team member Kyle Barrett)
Amanda Jeren (Clow Water team member Kimberly McNany)
Maureen Stephen (Atlantic States team member Maryann Stephen)
Christine Henderson (Amerex team member Jeffrey Henderson)
Evan Braun (Canada Pipe team member John Braun)

Congratulations to this year’s winners!  For those students that submitted an application and were not selected, please reapply next year for another opportunity to win one of the scholarships.

Manchester Tank Elkhart Wins 2014 Ergo Cup

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We are so proud and thrilled to announce that the Manchester Tank Elkhart (MTE) team entry was chosen as the winner of the 2014 Ergo Cup award at the National Ergo Cup Competition held in Orlando, Florida! MTE’s project for the competition was a new two piece paint hook system that significantly reduced the risk of a repeat injury and reduced thread leaks during the washing process by more than 69%. This new process eliminated the need to triple handle 570 cylinders, 42,750 pounds over a nine month period.

Over 40 companies nationwide participated in this year’s competition.

This is McWane’s second first place winner at the National Ergo Cup Competition. Clow Valve won in 2008 for their innovative entry that required them to re-think how fire hydrants were assembled.

Congratulations to the MTE Team!!

McWane Boasts Seven Plants in the VPP Program

VPP Flag No other company in the waterworks foundry industry has a single plant in the VPP program.  McWane has seven. Clow Valve, Metal Casting Facility (Oskaloosa, Iowa), Clow Water (Coshocton, Ohio), Manchester Tank (Elkhart, Indiana), Manchester Tank (Petersburg, Virginia), Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Company (Provo, Utah), and Tyler Pipe (Marshfield, Mississippi) are all VPP Star facilities with Pacific States being the latest as of September 2013. Clow Valve, Machine Shop (Oskaloosa, Iowa) has earned VPP Merit accreditation – an effective stepping stone to achieving Star status.

In order to receive this accreditation, a facility has to successfully pass certification by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to become a Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) Star Facility. According to the VPP website, “The VPP recognize employers and workers in the private industry and federal agencies who have implemented effective safety and health management systems and maintain injury and illness rates below national Bureau of Labor Statistics averages for their respective industries. To participate, employers must submit an application to OSHA and undergo a rigorous onsite evaluation by a team of safety and health professionals.”

Receiving a VPP Star ranking is no small honor as only .03% of all American companies qualify – putting those facilities awarded with the certification in an elite club for sure. For example, in the entire state of Utah – where Pacific States is located – only eight other facilities are considered VPP Star! Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health programs.

“The VPP designation indicates a true commitment from management and team members in working together, with everyone taking personal responsibility for safety and health,” said Barbara Wisniewski, Vice President of Health and Safety, McWane. Inc.

Brian Lichtenfels, Safety Manager at Pacific States, gave several words of advice for facilities preparing for an upcoming audit.

“If I could give someone three learned lessons to focus on in an upcoming audit, they would be: prepare, prepare, prepare. Make sure the whole facility is on the same page and do not be defensive with OSHA. Take a cooperative and open approach.”

Congratulations to every team member at all of our VPP Star facilities, and especially those at our latest – Pacific States, all of whom demonstrated their supreme commitment to the best safety practices and VPP principles! This is more proof that the McWane Way is about being the best by doing our very best.

Our own Andy Boise, a melting foreman at Clow Water Systems, composed lyrics and music to create a VPP Song, Everyone Goes Home From Here. Take a listen!

55 Years and Counting…

As written by Rod Burrus for the Tyler Pipe March 2014 Monthly Newsletter…

James Madison

James Madison

“I asked Mr. James Madison why he worked out here at Tyler Pipe for 55 years. To which he replied back, ‘That’s the question, huh?’ He said, ‘I guess I just like what I am doing. Every morning for the last 55 years I got out of bed and came to work, I never thought about how long I would be here.’ I asked how he got to Tyler Pipe back in 1959. This is his story.

It was early in the summer of 1959 and he and three of his friends were out riding in a car and they decided that they needed to find some work. The first stop that they made was out at Western Foundry. ‘There were all of these big guys out there pushing iron and we didn’t like it much. So we came on down the road to Tyler Pipe. We just drove up and went and looked inside of the foundry. Everything was open back then. You could walk right up and see where they were pouring iron. Well there was this fellow named Jack Sheffield and he kind of interviewed us. Out of the four of us he offered two of us jobs. Mr. Sheffield said that he sure needed us to come to work and so we started right then and there. I didn’t even get to go home. I called my mama from the office and told her I got a job and would be home sometime. They put us to work immediately and my buddy Jasper, he told me he couldn’t deal with it so at lunch time he was gone.

‘They put me on the piggin machine. Use to, we would pig our own iron because if there was still iron running at shift change, we would start up the pig machine and that iron would just run off into it. I was using a pick to drop those pigs out of the machine. It was hot. John Warner, President of Tyler Pipe came up there and he said, “You’ve been at it for quite a while, have you had a break?” I told him no, I hadn’t had a break. He told me to go take a 45 minute break. He rolled up his sleeves and started knocking those pigs for 45 minutes until I got back. Well evidently Mr. Warner talked to my supervisor because I never missed a lunch again.’

I guess some of my best memories are running that cupola bucket. It was a different time back then and we had a bucket that was hooked to a jib line and we filled that bucket with scrap. If the cupola was too full the jib line would come loose from the bucket. Well we needed to get our bucket out of there and since I was the smallest, they would tie a rope around my waist and lower me into the bucket that was inside the cupola so I could hook up the line. The fellas use to make fun of me because I would kind of wonder around aimlessly afterwards. Come to find out the gas was getting to me.’ Mr. Madison smiled and said, ‘Those were the good old days.’

I asked Mr. Madison what job he did that he disliked the most. He said, ‘There was a big boss out here, Bo Jackson, VP of the company. He wanted to go on top of the scrap pile and I was a running the crane. He brought some woman with him and he wanted to show her what it looked like on top of that pile of scrap. Mr. Jackson came over to my crane and told me to lift them up and put them on top of the scrap. I tell you, it was mighty cold that day, but I was sweating bullets. And I thought to myself, “I sure will be glad when they leave.”‘

Mr. Madison thought for a while and said, These folks out here are like extended family. My supervisor at one time was J.W. Buckner, that’s Greg Buckner’s dad. For some reason Mr. Buckner called me “Muscle.” I have been known as “Junior,” “Puny,” “Muscle,” “Jivin’ Horse Man” and of course, “Hoss” is what they call me now. There have been people that have worked with for years and I never knew their real name. My wife called out here one time and asked for James Madison. They didn’t know who she wanted. She said, “They call him ‘Junior.’” They came and got me immediately; they didn’t know my name. We had a fellows out here like “Reverend Star”, ole Melvin Hampton, Hampton was the “Lemon Drop Kid,” Wayne Walker was called “the Mayor,” that’s Tommy Walker’s dad. They said that Tommy learned a lot from Wayne. I don’t know if it was true but I would like to think so. Joe Wilson was called “City Man.”‘ Mr. Madison mentioned numerous names like Turner Morris, or “lead belly,” Uncle Roy, Leroy Anderson, Chester Moon, TC Porter and Big George Richardson. ‘Bo Johnson gave us our names. They were all good friends, just like family.’

When asked about the future, Mr. Madison said that he intended to keep working as long as his health would let him. Mr. Madison said, ‘I talked to an awful lot of guys that retired. They had nothing to do. I need a reason to wake up in the morning, someplace to go.’ Every day James Madison arrives out at Tyler Pipe at 6:00am or 7:00am, depending on the day of the week. He takes his lunch and his coffee and heads up the flight of stairs to the crane at the Cupola. He says he takes everything up there because it is too far to come down. He said it makes you plan your day. He has come a long way since he and his three friends went for a drive in the summer of 1959.

Tyler Pipe is honored and proud to have Mr. James Madison work here and is appreciative to the 55 years of service that he has provided. We would like to mark the month of May as “Madison Month” [and would like to celebrate] Mr. James Madison for passing his 55th year milestone at Tyler Pipe on May 25, 2014.”

We always love to see employees who have put it years and years of work and truly enjoy what they do. We commend Mr. James Madison on his hard work and devotion and look forward to his contributions in the coming years. Congratulations, Mr. Madison!

Atlantic States Community Advisory Panel (CAP) Receives Letter of Appreciation

Atlantic States CAP Thank You Letter

In 2004, McWane recognized the need to form community advisory panels (CAPs) at several of their facilities comprised of a cross-section of community representatives and company stakeholders which could address issues that affect our interests, including environmental, social and economic impacts. In addition to representatives from our facilities, panel members include local community leaders, public officials, educators, union members, regulators, members of the clergy, residents and business leaders.

Since that time, the CAPs have successfully coordinated the charitable giving and community projects at Atlantic States, Pacific States, Tyler Union, M&H Valve, Clow Water and Kennedy Valve.

For example, the Atlantic States CAP (ASCAP) commits a tremendous amount of time, effort and money toward helping the residents, businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Phillipsburg, NJ. The ASCAP has been involved with and supported numerous community programs, events and local organizations, including the annual Polar Express. At Christmas, the ASCAP provides tickets to local residents to ride on the Polar Express train during the annual Christmas parade. After the 2013 parade, they received a letter of appreciation from Amy Vaughn who received tickets for her son and niece, Blake and Ashlyn, both 4-years-old.

In her note to the ASCAP, Amy said, “When I found out we were given these tickets, I sat and cried as I was so excited knowing how much they would enjoy this experience.”

Blake and Ashlyn will remember the train ride for years to come, but we at McWane and Atlantic States will remember their big beautiful smiles as they rode the train while feasting on cookies and hot chocolate. Check out Amy’s letter above!

Three Generations of McWane Inducted into the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame

After more than a century helping to build Birmingham – and the nation – three generations of the McWane family have won a spot in The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham’s Business Hall of Fame.

L to R: Anna McWane (Phillip's sister), Laura McWane, Heather McWane, Phillip McWane, Katie McWane Gaston and Michael Gaston)

L to R: Anna McWane (Phillip’s sister), Laura McWane, Heather McWane, Phillip McWane, Katie McWane Gaston and Michael Gaston

The honor was bestowed on McWane Cast Iron Pipe founder, J.R. McWane, his son William McWane and William’s son James Ransom McWane, and marks not only three men’s contribution to Birmingham, but a legacy that continues to be upheld by each of us.

“I am accepting this award on behalf of the McWane family and the McWane team members, both past and present,” said Phillip McWane, J.R.’s great-grandson and the chairman of the board for McWane, at the Business Hall of Fame event earlier in the year. “This company would not still be here without all of them and their contributions to the company over the decades.”

The Hall of Fame selects only a handful of new members each year, choosing Birmingham business leaders who exemplified strong leadership or made extraordinary contributions to the Greater Birmingham area. J.R., William and James Ransom McWane all qualify on both counts.

J.R. McWane loved working with metal and passed this love on to his sons. In 1904, J.R. moved to Birmingham to work at the Birmingham Steel and Iron Company. One of J.R.’s earliest commissions was the casting of Moretti’s statue of Vulcan, the great Roman god of fire and forge, for the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition. From its perch nearly 600 feet above the city of Birmingham, the statue still celebrates the region’s foundry heritage. Nearly 100 years later, J.R.’s namesake company led the way in restoring and returning the Birmingham icon to its original glory atop Red Mountain.

After his death in 1933, J.R.’s son William (Bill) McWane became president. Bill remained focused on keeping the business going through the good and bad times of the 1930s and World War II. In 1971, William’s son, James Ransom (Jim) McWane, took over as the President of McWane Cast Iron Pipe and later in 1975 served as chairman and chief executive officer for McWane, Inc.

That namesake company began life in 1921 as the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Company. Since then, McWane has grown into a multi-billion dollar company, employing approximately 6,000 team members with 25 manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Canada. No longer just producing the building blocks of America, McWane today is a global company with manufacturing facilities in China and, soon, in Abu Dubai and India too – casting ductile iron pipes, building wireless network switches and monitoring equipment, and delivering clean drinking water around the world.

More than 92 years later and still a family-owned business led by a fourth generation of the McWane family, Phillip McWane, McWane sets the pace for its industry. This is a key piece of the McWane legacy – one that we now share, and can take pride in.

Clow Valve and University of Northern Iowa Cast Commemorative VPP Coin

Clow Valve & UNI VPP Coin

When the Clow Valve Metal Casting Facility achieved their goal of five year VPP STAR re-certification, the VPP committee immediately started brainstorming about ways they could recognize team members for their contributions toward achieving this goal.  During the process a commemorative coin kept coming up similar to what team members saw at the Tyler Coupling VPP Forum in Marshfield, Missouri.

VPP committee member John Grahek as Chairman for the Foundry Education Foundation (FEF) Industrial Advisory Board for the University of Northern Iowa is familiar with student activities in metal casting and the fact that they had purchased a new Rapid Prototype Machine to make sand molds.  “What a great way to give the students a challenging project and help Clow out with our celebration,” Grahek thought.

The VPP committee agreed and they sent the University a CAD model that Clow engineer Kyle Huelsman created and the rest is history. The students took the drawing and created a CAD model for an eight impression mold and began production. Clow supplied the lead free alloy and the students made molds, poured them off and finished them. The students cast over 150 of the commemorative coins.

In appreciation for a job well done, Clow plans to sponsor the student chapter’s attendance at the upcoming AFS Casting Congress meeting in April so students can network and learn even more about our awesome industry on their way to becoming future leaders in metal casting.

McWane Recognized by Alabama Governor Bentley for Excellence in International Trade

Governor Robert Bentley and McWane President, Ruffner Page
Governor Robert Bentley and McWane President, G. Ruffner Page, Jr.

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Governor Robert Bentley presented the Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards to eight Alabama companies that are excelling in international trade.

The recipients are:

  • Aladdin Light Lift Inc. (Huntsville)
  • Archangel Systems Inc. (Auburn)
  • ES Robbins Corp. (Muscle Shoals)
  • Fagerman Technologies Inc. (Somerville)
  • Hornsby Steel Inc. (Cleveland)
  • McWane Inc. (Birmingham)
  • Mitternight Inc. (Satsuma)
  • PESA (Huntsville)

“The companies honored here today make up an important component of the state’s engine for growth, retention and job creation,” Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield said. “A sustained increase in exports plays a key role in Accelerate Alabama, the state’s strategic plan for economic development.”

The Governor’s Trade Excellence Awards Program was established in 2005 to recognize Alabama manufacturers and service companies for excelling in international trade. The objectives of this program include identifying Alabama’s successful exporters, promoting exporters as role models to the Alabama business community and increasing awareness of the impact of exporting on Alabama’s economy.

The awards program is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Commerce and the Export Alabama Alliance. The program recognizes small, medium, and large businesses, including new-to-export companies located throughout the state.

For the official press release, please visit:

University of Alabama Students Visit M&H Valve in Anniston, Alabama

STEM Students from the University of Alabama

STEM Students from the University of Alabama

On Friday, February 28, a group of eleven STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) students from the University of Alabama visited M&H Valve Company in Anniston, Alabama, for a plant tour. M&H will be selecting a student from this group to participate in an internship this summer.

The University of Alabama STEM Program focuses on attracting high-quality undergraduate students majoring in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The program is an innovative approach to engage students early on as undergraduates and employ nontraditional-classroom methods to allow top students to complete the MBA in one additional calendar year. The purpose of the path is to provide high-achieving students with the business knowledge needed to successfully manage businesses.

McWane is always proud to assist the younger generation in reaching their goals. We hope the STEM students from the University of Alabama enjoyed and benefited from their visit!