Ivan Parker Joins WG

The first years after acquiring Midvale, the earnings from Alliance more than covered the loss at Midvale. However, now the “money machine” at Alliance was broken down. The steel plants had stopped using clay ladle brick, severely decreasing the Alliance production. The Columbia Gas System had gone bankrupt and subsequently greatly increased the charge to transport gas for others, such as WG’s gas from Waynesburg to Alliance. The Alliance plant was now barely breaking even.

WG did benefit from these circumstances when Ivan Parker, melt shop superintendent at Republic, retired after 30 years, accepted a lump sum payment for his pension benefits and came to work for WG. Ivan sold steel plant refractories, later added sales management of firebrick, and finally developed a line of vacuum cast refractories, customers and supplies for the same, which developed into an annual $1 million business. The supplier was sold, the buyer fired WG as a distributor, WG sued and collected $75,000 in damages. Ivan continued to be a highly productive employee until his retirement.