James Fetter: Motivation Beyond Muncy
by Jason Fetter, Vice President, Muncy Industries, LLC
James Fetter recently and sadly passed away: it’s interesting what he did: build a company that made hundreds of millions of wire rope fittings during his lifetime, many used in critical, high profile and/or patriotic applications. It is just as interesting how and why.
James Fetter’s life work was in the Wire Rope industry. he always said it started in the 1940’s when he helped his grandfather carry cinder blocks to physically build Muncy Tool and Die as a child. The company officially became Muncy Machine & Tool when Jim took over the company in 1976. During his career he acquired the Upson-Walton Company, newco Manufacturing, Sea-Fit, and Rolog, now all under the Muncy Industries umbrella. What drove Jim to these Achievements?
PATRIOT: Jim was groomed to be a true patriot. He grew up just after World War 2, was a Boy Scout, and serve in the US Army: Jim loved America. Jim took his patriotism to Muncy. He has always insisted Muncy use material made and melted in the USA, not just for the consistent quality, but to support America. He saw Muncy as a way to support America and to help compete with imported goods. He wanted to be part of America making something.
PASSION: Jim personified Mark Twain’s axiom: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Working in our industry was his passion. He enjoyed the people, the projects, the problem-solving, the solutions, the uniqueness of our industry, and how important he felt manufacturing was to his country. He “worked” many evenings and weekends. He was famous in the industry for driving around the country to listen to the people of the industry.
HUMBLE AND KIND: Jim was also humble and kind. He was climbing mountains in business, but he was the consummate learner, listening more than talking. Jim wanted to hear and learn: always learn. He loved helping people. Jim helped people all his life, from tutoring classmates in high school to tossing his care keys to someone he just met that needed a car: he was kind. If there is Karma, his good luck followed him from how he treated and approached others. Jim proves that good guys can win and have a great life.
PRIDE: Jim had joy in his family, business, and country. He was proud of his wife and children’s development as people, proud of this company’s growth and role in the lifting and structural industry in what he considered to be unique and important, and proud of his country’s accomplishments. He felt a small part in all these successes and his full heart was apparent in his approach to family, business, and country. Jim gave each his all, truly working hard to do a good job for each. If you take pride in what you do, only then can you open yourself to the cause, as Jim did.
ALL-IN: Jim put everything he had into the company’s success. He risked it all on the business in the tough 70s and 80s: Sun Tzu called this “death ground”, where he had no choice but to survive. In the 1980s he’d hurry deliveries from his factory in Pennsylvania to customers in Connecticut, striving to provide the ultimate service and showing how much he cared. When customers were in great need of a product, he enjoyed taking the product to them, no matter what state (Texas, Michigan, or anywhere). Customers remembered this and appreciated the president of the company cared. Soon the company grew to become a success.
The world is a lesser place without Jim Fetter, but still a better place in the wake of his actions. The people he helped are stronger and blossomed into major contributors to this world. If even a fraction of these people were inspired by Jim to help others as they were once helped, so many were indirectly touched by Jim’s kindness. Muncy seeks to personify Jim’s love of our industry and country, appreciation of the importance of what our industry does for the world, and kindness to others.
In his own words in addressing customers at a customer appreciation crawfish boil and fastest rigger competition a few years ago, Jim said [we have a] “wonderful industry: I think the people in it are wonderful. I enjoy you guys: you do hard stuff like I saw right there, and make it look fun, sort of… I’m very proud of the safety record our industry has. I’m very proud of the work that you do and we do…”
Muncy became Jim’s cause: to him, a patriotic enterprise where he had turned little into plenty, all while doing important work in our industry. When you believe and you sacrifice, you can do so much. Some may feel a little of Jim’s spirit in the fittings and equipment Muncy manufactures. Jim became more than a man.
Sincerely, Jason Fetter, Muncy Industries, LLC www.MuncyIndustries.com