Blog Archives

Announcing the Winners of the 2018 McWane Scholarship!

McWane awards ten scholarships ($2,000 x 4 years) annually to children of McWane team members to assist them as they pursue a college education.  The scholarship program is administrated by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and students can apply online.  We are pleased to report that there were 60 eligible applicants this year.

The winners of the 2018 McWane Scholarship are:

Hannah Frank (Duane Frank, Sales Manager McWane Ductile, Coshocton, Ohio)

Tianna Voelkert (Camilla Voelkert, Sales Coordinator Amerex, Trussville, Alabama)

Isabella Zornes (Rodney Zornes, Electrical Engineer McWane Ductile. Coshocton, Ohio)

Taylor Thorington (John Thorington, Chief Technology Officer Synapse, Huntsville, Alabama)

Alyssa Tedrow (William Tedrow, Supervisor Manchester Tank, Bedford, Indiana)

Dolores Ortiz-Rodriguez (Delores Martinez, Labor Tyler Union, Anniston, Alabama)

Danica Butler (Brett Butler, Maintenance Electrician McWane Ductile, Provo, Utah)

Juliana Ortega (Juan Ortega, Pipe Processor Tyler Pipe Company, Tyler, Texas)

Calee Cameron (Joshua Cameron, Master Electrician Tyler Pipe Company. Tyler, Texas)

Adriana Rabearivelo (Reddy Rabearivelo, Bibby Ste. Croix, Ste. Croix, Quebec, Canada)


Congratulations to this year’s winners!  We wish you the best of luck as you continue your education.

John Bennett Joins McWane Corporate HR Team

We are pleased to announce that John Bennett has joined the Corporate HR team as the new Benefit Specialist! In this role, John will be supporting all divisions with their benefit information and analysis as needed.  John will report directly to Leslie Mawhorter.

Prior to joining McWane, John worked 17+ years at UAB as the primary contact for benefit related issues at all levels including the university and hospital.  John earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree in Health Care Organization from The University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Biology from Birmingham-Southern College Madison.

Welcome to McWane, John!

John Bennett 2

McWane, Inc. Announces New Executive Leadership at Amerex

Harrison Bishop, formerly president of The Solberg Companies, has been appointed  president of Amerex Corporation effective January 1, 2018.

Bishop_Harrison_original-240x300In addition to his responsibilities at Solberg, Bishop has served on the Amerex executive committee as vice president, strategic initiatives. Prior to entering the fire suppression industry, Harrison practiced law for more than a decade, focusing on mergers, acquisitions and general corporate law, as a partner at Maynard, Cooper and Gale, P.C., in Birmingham, Alabama.

Bishop will be working alongside the newly appointed chief executive officer of Amerex, Larry Whitehead, who has served in a variety of capacities within McWane, Inc., including president of Manchester Tank & Equipment Company.

In addition, Andy Payant has been appointed as the executive vice president-finance for Amerex Corporation with the same effective date.  Andy has served as vice president and international controller of McWane, Inc. since 2012. Previously, Payant served as McWane’s vice president and controller from 1998 until 2012. Prior to joining McWane, Inc. Payant held senior management positions at Compass Bank and Molton, Allen & Williams.

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Who Has the Ugliest Christmas Sweater?

The ladies on the second floor corporate team in Birmingham, Alabama held their annual Christmas luncheon and ugly Christmas sweater contest yesterday.  They catered the food from Taco Mama and enjoyed lively Christmas music during the luncheon.  This year Leslie Mawhorter won the award for ugliest Christmas sweater and Gretchen Easton won the award for the most creative sweater with her Green Bay Packers sweater.  Teri Lavette won for the “most flammable” sweater with lots of colorful lights.

As in previous years, they had a lively game of dirty Santa, but everyone left with a smile on their face and a gift for Christmas.

MCW 2017 Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.jpg

Workshops, Inc. Names McWane “Philanthropic Partner of the Year”

 L to R: WI President Martha Anne Rich, McWane President Ruffner Page, and WI Executive Director Susan Crow

L to R: WI President Martha Anne Rich, McWane President Ruffner Page, and WI Executive Director Susan Crow

McWane, Inc. has been a strong supporter of Workshops, Inc. (WI) for many years and is proud to be named their Philanthropic Partner of the Year. WI recruits people with various disabilities, provides them with on-the-job training, and then helps them find a job. They partner with local businesses for services such as assembly, packaging, mailing, and order fulfillment, which is all done at their facility located in the Avondale neighborhood of Birmingham.

Running an operation like this can be a challenge because WI relies almost completely on the generosity of the community to support the program. This year, WI came up with a new concept, Comedy for a Cause, and McWane was happy to be a title sponsor for the event which drew nearly 300 people and raised $28,000. It featured a nationally-known comedian with disabilities who put on a hilarious show while also challenging the stereotype of what people with disabilities can achieve.

The proceeds from the Comedy for a Cause event will enable WI to hire an additional on-staff Employment Specialist whose primary responsibility will be placing people with disabilities into community-based employment.

Celebrate Arbor Day by Paying a Visit to Greenwood Park

Now that spring is here and summer is approaching, it’s time to have fun in the sun! And what better way to do that than spending time at the park? With today being Arbor Day, it is the perfect time to get outside, enjoy some fresh air, and take sight of all the beautiful trees, plants, and other scenery around us!

In 2012, McWane celebrated the transformation of a once vacant, dusty lot into a dynamic green space for the residents of Birmingham, and Mother Nature, to enjoy. A long time in the planning, Greenwood Park is the culmination of a lot of dreams and dedication by the McWane Team. Where once stood a 34-acre tract of weeds, now lies a vibrant park that provides recreation and fun for the entire community.

At one time, the land held rows of single-family homes and apartment buildings, but because of constant flooding and noisy aircraft, the city relocated the community. Buildings were demolished and the area swiftly deteriorated. To McWane, this was the ideal location to create a beautiful park. Working closely with a wide coalition of groups, including the EPA, Birmingham’s Parks and Recreation Board, the Birmingham Airport Authority, the Federal Aviation Administration, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and several neighborhood groups, McWane left no stone unturned to build the best possible park for Birmingham. On November 17, 2012, city leaders, neighbors, and McWane representatives unveiled Greenwood Park with a ribbon cutting ceremony. It was the joyous culmination of months and years of planning, and work.

The park has all the right stuff: a playground, picnic shelter, two basketball courts, and a large field that can be used for baseball, football or soccer games. There are restrooms, parking spaces and a 3,600-foot-long walking trail that encourages visitors to pay attention to the park’s delicate ecology. Because we want Greenwood to represent the best qualities of McWane—durability, safety and respect for the environment, the park features an innovative bioremediation facility that naturally collects and filters contaminated rainwater before it enters Village Creek. Community leaders know the water quality isn’t all that has improved since Greenwood opened. Quality of life is improving too.

“They have the ball fields and the courts where they can play and they have the walking trails,” said Birmingham City Councilwoman Maxine Parker. “This will encourage our youth and seniors to get outdoors and be more active.”

The idea for Greenwood Park came after a settlement was reached in United States, et al. vs. McWane, Inc. McWane requested that a portion of any fine be redirected into the city of Birmingham through the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Supplemental Environmental Projects program. McWane worked with the Birmingham Community Advisory Panel, Clarus Consulting Group, and a group of volunteer citizens to come up with a list of potential park locations and how best to develop the park. It’s this commitment to team work and community that makes Greenwood such a success — and McWane is proud to be part of this process.

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.