I was referred to a job at a family-run business, Bethlehem Aluminum, by my father-in-law Richard Stoudt, where he was also referred by his father-in-law Harvey Schwenger. I joined the Bethlehem Aluminum team in 1988 as a 3rd generation employee! My first position was material handling, forklift operator, and crane operation. I soon began filling orders, fabricating and maintaining equipment which consists of a 12ft shear am aluminum chop saw and a uni-point radial arm saw. My fellow employees began calling me “Doc” as I was the go-to guy when anything required adjustment/repair. Later our company purchased a new saw called a metal saw; a precision cut saw. While operating these machines, I was asked by the president, Bob Burdette, to begin driving trucks for deliveries. I delivered aluminum for 5 years. An advancement became available within the company, one they felt I would be the best candidate, due to my knowledge and experience in the warehouse. I strictly ran the metal saw which happened to be the most valuable saw in the plant.
In 2004 I recommended that the company hire my son, Robert N. Wagner and Robbie became the 4th generation in my family to work for Bethlehem Aluminum.
In 2007 Pennsylvania Steel, another family owned company, bought Bethlehem Aluminum. PA Steel retained all employees, and also purchased 4 other companies selling various metal products. At our location, we began stocking not only aluminum, but also steel products. Very soon we outgrew our facility on busy Hamilton St in Allentown, and we relocated to Whitehall, PA. In our new location, we upgraded to a larger metal saw, and I was the chief operator. After 28 years everyone still calls me Doc and I am proud to call Pennsylvania Steel my home and employer.
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