The Post War Years

In 1999, John Whitacre Jr fell from his horse breaking his wrist and fracturing his lumbar vertebra. While recovering he recorded the history of Whitacre Greer. This continues his story:

By the late 1950s, DD’s pre-stressed beam patent had expired. The licensees had obtained a new patent to keep the licensing arrangement in effect (that is, restraining competition). Finally a Baltimore producer, Wayne Hart, refused to pay the royalties and since the new patent was really not valid, the association came to an end. Art Downes was president of Whitacre Engineering Co. at the time and Art and I worked together on the Kalex matters after DD became disabled. Art was a civil engineering graduate of Ohio State, where he and his brother George were outstanding wrestlers. George was on an Olympic team and my college coach, Claude Sharer, said Art was the best practitioner of the ‘double wrist lock’ he had ever seen. Art had an instructive saying, “Work habits come down to two issues, hot air and elbow grease.” Whitacre Engineering, under Downes’ leadership, purchased the original JJ fireproofing plant from the National Fireproofing Co. and in 1999, supplied the reinforcing steel for the new Cleveland Browns football stadium.

Many servicemen came back to their jobs at Whitacre-Greer after the war with greatly enhanced skills and leadership ability, due to military service. As older supervisory and management people retired, the replacements generally had more knowledge, skill and energy. The postwar years of this period resulted in improving, although not great, profits.