1997 John Jr. Steps Down, Lynn Morrison Takes Reins

At the annual meeting in 1997, Lynn Morrison succeeded John Jr. as CEO. In 1996, although paver sales continued to increase, the growth of earnings was interrupted by sales and operating decisions that just didn’t work out. Some problems may have come from “growing pains.” Regardless, I was 70 years old, very unhappy with 1996 and determined that change at the top was in order. I considered only my daughter Janet and Lynn Morrison. Lynn was my choice, feeling that his intimate knowledge of the customers and operations could lead to the quickest fix. In addition, Janet wanted part-time work so she could spend more time with her sons while they completed high school. After I made my choice, Janet recommended that she leave and I get out of the day-to-day operations. Lynn could now manage without interference and excuses. This we did. Janet left and I retired in 1997.

In the 1990s decade, dry pressed paver sales have grown from zip to $2.5 million, more than replacing the lost ladle brick volume. The Alliance plant profits have been quite strong in 1998 and 1999 and with continuing improvement of the product, the prospect of continuing growth in this business is excellent.

At that time, Larry Johnson, a ceramic engineer, was plant manager at Alliance following long service with WG at the Waynesburg plant and as a manager of the Morges Gas System. He is now retired. Ralph Foster was manager of maintenance at Alliance and has since retired. Previously, Ralph was pug mill operator at Waynesburg and also manager of the Morges Gas System. Dennis DiDente supervised the yard and loading at Alliance, after doing the same work at Waynesburg and Middle. Denny excelled at good housekeeping in his area and is now also retired. Marc Saylor was plant superintendent at Alliance until he left the company. Marc came with us to work in the lab and became head fireman at Middle before coming to Alliance. Brian Finley was office manager when we acquired Alliance and has since died.

Mike Longo came back to WG as sales manager for paving brick. Going back in time, Mike had been a sales executive for Ludowici Roof Tile Company, sales manager for WG at Middle, sales executive for Glen-Gery Brick Company and supervisor of non-clay refractory production at WG.

John Jr. is happy and proud that WG survived the disaster of the 1980s and expects to be looking good as the 20th century closes. During this period, I gifted my preferred stock to my children, Lynn Cart, Janet Kaboth and John III, and have transferred my common stock in WG to a Family Limited Partnership. My children are the limited partners. Since April 1997, I have adapted well to this weekly program, three days of golf, two days riding my horse and two days for a short visit to the office.

John III, Bill an dKatie CuricSCAN_20_1cUniv of Tennesee Stadium USe 2nd