Blog Archives

Clow Valve competes at 19th Annual National Ergo Cup competition

Clow Valve Ergo Cup 2016.jpg

L to R: Chris Prendergast, Chad Bollinger, Kyle Huelsman, Arturo Islas, and Chris Stanley

McWane Ergo Cup winner Clow Valve recently competed at the 19th Annual National Ergo Cup competition  held in Orlando, Florida, on March 21-24, 2016. The Clow Ergo Cup project, Hydrant Brass Torque Table, was one of 47 projects selected out of 88 applicants to compete at the national competition. Just to be selected to participate is an honor!

The Clow Team included representatives from Clow Corona (John Bouman*, Arturo Islas*, Rene Perez, and Alfonso Zamorano) and Clow Valve Oskaloosa (Chad Bollinger*, Kyle Huelsman*, Chris Prendergast*, and Chris Stanley). *Represented the team at the National Ergo-Cup Competition.

Team leader Chris Prendergast said, “The team did a great job and we received so much positive feedback all week. Based on several of the classes and other projects, I would remind everyone that simple low cost solutions are everywhere and we only need to identify a risk and then be creative to find them. We brought back several creative ideas we think we can implement and from my perspective a group of guys who were excited about finding the next improvement. Thanks for the opportunity to represent McWane at this year’s competition.”

The Disney Coronado Springs Hotel was beautiful venue, and they have announced that the 20th Conference will be held there again in March 2017.

And the winners of the 2015 McWane EHS Awards are…

Jeet & Bill Hoffman with Screaming Eagle - EHS Awards 2015.jpg

McWane Senior VP of Environmental, Safety, and Human Resources Jeet Radia and Tyler Couplings Plant Manager Bill Hoffman

We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 McWane EHS Awards:

  • Most Improved TRIR-Fabrication: Anaco / Corona, CA
  • Most Improved TRIR-Foundry: McWane Ductile-New Jersey / Phillipsburg, NJ
  • Outstanding Health & Safety Performance: Tyler Couplings / Marshfield, MO
  • Outstanding Environmental Performance-Fabrication: Manchester Tank / Crossville, TN
  • Outstanding Environmental Performance-Foundry: Clow Valve / Oskaloosa, IA and AB&I Foundry / Oakland, CA
  • Outstanding Environmental Progress-Foundry: Tyler Xianxian / Cangzhou, China
  • EHS Excellence (Screaming Eagle): Tyler Couplings / Marshfield, MO

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Governor Mike Huckabee Tours Clow Valve Machine Shop

Governor Mike Huckabee Visits Clow Valve

L to R: Leon McCullough and Governor Mike Huckabee

Clow Valve hosted a visit from Governor Mike Huckabee this week as part of his “Factories, Farms and Freedom” tour through Iowa. Governor Huckabee also did an interview with CNN for the show “The Lead” with Jake Tapper from inside the machine shop which aired at 4:00p.m. on May 6. Governor Huckabee has announced that he will be running for President in the next election and was kicking off his campaign by visiting businesses in Iowa.

As always, we welcome an opportunity to showcase our state-of-the art facilities. In addition to touring Clow Valve on his two-day visit to Iowa, he also held a meet-and-greet at Charlie’s American Grill in Sioux City, Iowa, and Pizza Ranch in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Clow Valve Presents CO2 Study Findings at AFS Sand Conference

L to R: Brodie Biersner (HA International), John Grahek, and Jeff Beuthien (Core Room Supervisor)

L to R: Brodie Biersner (HA International), John Grahek, and Jeff Beuthien (Core Room Supervisor)

Clow Valve and HA International joined forces over the past year to conduct a case study to evaluate the changes/improvements, if any, that might occur if Clow ran CO2 cured cores. They recently had the opportunity to present their findings at the American Foundry Society’s Sand Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The CO2 process of replacing amine gas to cure cold box cores is common in Europe, however it is new to the United States and Clow. In fact, Clow is one of a few foundries that is running it in high production.

Clow has been running and learning from this process for over a year on one core center and has now moved it to the other machines.

According to John Grahek, Assistant Metal Casting Facility Manager, “This has allowed us to eliminate the flammable MEF gas used to cure cores and utilize an environmentally friendly CO2 gas further reducing our plant hazards, HAPS, and VOC’s.”

Ironically John, Jeff, and Brodie are Foundry Education Foundation alumni from the University of Northern Iowa. It’s a small world!

Meet McWane: Mike Connor, Clow Valve

(L to R: Back row: Jesse Anderson, Eric Benson, Pete Settimi, Jim Ryan, Richard Ledesma, & Nolan Foran. Front row: Mike Vore/Sales and Marketing Manager for McWane Valve & Hydrant Group and Mike Connor)

(L to R: Back row: Jesse Anderson, Eric Benson, Pete Settimi, Jim Ryan, Richard Ledesma, & Nolan Foran. Front row: Mike Vore/Sales and Marketing Manager for McWane Valve & Hydrant Group and Mike Connor)

The Clow Valve team came together to bid a fond farewell to Mike Connor who retired after 40 years of dedicated service. Mike worked as a member of the outside sales team and was located in California.

Mike joined the Clow Valve team 40 years ago after answering an ad to be a forklift driver and worked his way into sales where he spent most of his career. He was a leading salesman, great co-worker, and friend to anyone that knew him in his time with Clow.

Mike plans to travel with his wife, Gale, in the upcoming months of retirement. Clow is thankful for his years of service and friendship, and we wish him a wonderful retirement.

We are going to miss you Mike!

Meet McWane: Don Bird and Donnie Blizzard, Clow Valve

 

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Recently, Clow Valve bid a fond farewell to two team members with a combined service of 85 years!

Donnie Blizzard retired on May 9th after 43 years of service. Donnie was a dedicated and loyal employee who worked clean-up in the machine shop for many years on 2nd shift. Donnie was joined at his retirement party by his children and grandchildren, along with fellow team members and retirees.

Don Bird retired on May 30th after 42 years of service. Don was a Production Scheduler at the Machine Shop and always gave 100%. Don was also joined at his retirement party by his wife, his children, his grandchildren and his fellow team members and retirees.

We wish them both a very happy and enjoyable retirement!

Clow Valve Hydrant Makes Perfect Jungle Gym

Hydrant Jungle Gym Kids growing up today have lots of gadgets and video games to keep them occupied, but sometimes they just want to get outside and climb on something!

Case in point: Clow Valve Payroll Clerk, Debbie Smith’s grandson, Kaden Almond, joined by Clow HR Clerk, Annie Hol’s son, Casey, and Clow Payroll Supervisor/Maintenance Supervisor, Holly/Travis French’s daughter, Khloe, thought this Clow hydrant would make the perfect jungle gym.

Although that is not the intended purpose for the hydrant, we are glad to see our products making people happy!

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley Pays a Visit to Clow Valve

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Clow Valve General Manager Jim Wakefield and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Clow Valve team members were excited to learn that Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley would stop by for a visit on March 20th, and they would have the opportunity to visit with Senator Grassley during his tour of the Machine Shop. While serving as a delegate of the local community to discuss Iowa road improvements on a trip to Washington, D.C., Clow Valve General Manager Jim Wakefield invited Senator Grassley to stop by on his next trip to Oskaloosa for a tour and he called to tell them he would be dropping by in a couple weeks.

Senator Grassley is no stranger to the manufacturing industry having worked as a sheet metal shearer and assembly line worker during his earlier career. He also grew up on a farm in Butler County where he still lives today.

Sentaor Grassley holds the record for the longest record of not missing a vote of any senator currently in office. He makes a point to respond to every phone call, letter and email he receives from Iowans and communicates with them extensively online via Facebook and Twitter, as well as his own website.

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!

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.