Page 14 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - April 2019
P. 14

JoAnn Whetsell, Marketing
                                                                                     Manager, Ken Forging
                                                                                  “I always looked at Don as an em-
                                                                                issary of the Associated Wire Rope
                                                                                Fabricators (AWRF), the spokesper-
                                                                                son for a lot of the things they were
                                                                                trying to do. He had a good way of
                                                                                clarifying the way the association
                                                                                might look at something. He was a
                                                                                people person. He gathered people to
                                                                                him just by his outward expressions.
                                                                                He had big hands and they were very
                                                                                firm when he gave a handshake. He
                                                                                would greet you with a broad smile,
                                                                                extend his hand, and slightly lean
                                                                                toward you. He had the ability to
                                                                                put anybody at ease. He was a tall
                                                                                guy. He looked approachable. And he
                                                                                had a quick step. When you saw him
                                                                                walk in you made a judgement that
                                                                                he was a businessman.”

                                                                               Fred said, “and  made top man at the
                                                                               Bethlehem wire rope division. He lost a
                                                                               nice lunch, two or three cocktails, and
                                                                               dinner at the New York Yacht Club.
         The Sayenga’s, Don and Carlene. Photo courtesy Associated Wire Rope Fabricators.
                                                                                 “By the way,” Fred added  jokingly,
         continued from page 12             lehem’s wire rope division.        “he never told us he was called back.
         steel product for Bethlehem and for   Friend and competitor, the late Fred   We kept wondering all day  what had
         other  integrated companies  like  U.S.   Paulsen of Paulsen Wire Rope, remem-  happened to him.”
         Steel,  Armco,  LTV  [Corporation],  etc.   bered the day it happened. The Ameri-
         In those days, US Steel and the car   can Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Wire   6’3,” Long Arms Waving
         companies  (GM,  Ford)  were  the  role   Rope Producers Committee of Domestic   Don willingly tackled his new job. But
         model, and everything  that US  Steel   Wire Rope & Specialty Manufacturers   he  was  fighting  tough  odds.  “He  came
         did was aped by the others. Flat-rolled   were slated for a joint meeting at the   in there and didn’t have it that easy,”
         steel somehow couldn’t become ‘small   World Trade Center. The day was to in-  said Tom Kline, editor of the Local 2499
         and lean.’ “Maybe that’s a fundamental   clude a tour under the Brooklyn Bridge,   steelworkers  newspaper  in  Williams-
         rule of human nature: big companies   which Don and personally organized.  port. “He didn’t have full cooperation
         can only be ‘big.’”                  The planned activities had barely   (from  management).”  Traditionally,  he
           Don  said that through  the late 70s   begun when Don received a phone call.   explained, the position was filled from
         and early 80s he watched as his premo-  “He was called back (to Bethlehem),”           continued on page 16
         nition of a dark future for Bethlehem’s
         wire rope division slowly became a re-
         ality. “It was headed the same way as
         the nail business,  so I thought about
         getting into some other line  of work.
         But I procrastinated and stayed with
         Bethlehem.
           “Then they dropped into the red and
         stayed  there  for  five  years.  Things
         got grim. People were let go left and
         right. Friends began to stick it to
         friends. Many people who had scoffed
         at me in the prior era started to see
         what was happening.”
           Don moved  into Bethlehem Steel’s
         Finance Department and “helped sell
         off the assets and restructure some of
         the operations which had a chance for
         survival, particularly the big mill up at
         Lackawanna, New York, near Buffalo.
         That  was  formerly  one  of  the  largest
         flat-rolled plants. They once employed
         20,000 people there.” In 1983 Don was
         promoted to general manager of Beth-  Mr. Wire Rope is called in for his expertise.

         14     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   April 2019
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