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Attendees of the tour of the Radio Frequency Systems (RFS) plant in Meriden, Connecticut got very positive reviews from the New England Chapter.

The Oct. 25 tour saw some 50 chapter members and guests see the operations up close of RFS, which is a global designer and manufacturer of total-package solutions for wireless and broadcast infrastructure. The tour started with a half hour presentation on the markets that the company serves, followed by the tour.

The opening main presentation was delivered by RFS product line managers. They provided a brief overview of RFS’ history, key markets, and telecom growth. The tour stopped at four stations that collectively covered manufacturing of coaxial cables, fiber optic assemblies, fiber/power hybrid cables, broadcast antennas, and microwave antennas. At each station, a subject matter expert explained what their department did. RFS had samples on hand for show and tell in each area. Attendees were randomly split up into groups of 10-15 and rotated through the stations, spending about 15 minutes in each area of the factory.

After the tour concluded, everyone regrouped down the road at River: A Waterfront Restaurant & Bar for what proved to be enjoyable dinner experience just steps away from the Connecticut River.

One attendee who especially enjoyed the event was LeeAnn Chen, strategic marketing director for AlphaGary. “As a newcomer to the wire and cable field, this is a great way to get firsthand and live experience, with great networking opportunity,” she said, adding that RFS did a superb job preparing the tour. “I was touched by everyone’s passion and expertise on their subjects!” Finally, she said that the dinner-reception that followed was also memorable. “The mist over the Connecticut river was an added touch to the evening!”

The regional networking event is a fundraiser for the WAI New England Chapter Scholarship Fund. Registration is now open through WAI’s event registration system. The cost is $140, and WAI Chapter members in good standing receive discounted rates. Please use your discount code or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance with registration.

The event will again be held this year inside the Cabaret Theatre. The reception starts at 5:30 pm, followed by the meeting at 6:35 pm. The dinner program will include a guest speaker, the introduction of the 2023 new chapter president and board, and picking of the raffle winners.

All proceeds from the raffle go directly to the Chapter’s scholarship program, and attendees are encouraged to bring prizes to help the cause. All such offerings should include an attached business card so the provider can be recognized during the drawing. There will also be a photo booth, so be prepared to grab your industry friends for some memorable pictures. There will be casino-themed props, but you can also get a professional head shot with a WAI backdrop.

Sponsors are always welcome, and the different levels for the event are: platinum-$500, gold-$350, silver-$250 and bronze-$150. All sponsors will be recognized at the event and in WJI. Sponsorships can be selected during the event registration and must be paid at that point. New sponsors are asked to provide a high-quality file of your company logo. Please direct sponsorship questions to WAI’s John Markowski at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 203-458-4044.

Of note for the 2023 meeting, the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino has a room block set aside for attendees who wish to stay overnight. The discounted rate is for the Earth Tower the nights of Jan. 25-26. The cut-off date is Jan. 4, 2023. Reservations can be made online at https://book.passkey.com/go/WAINE23, or call 888-226-7711 for a reservation, using code WAINE23.

Hires & promotions

Terry Hughes has been named district sales manager for Nucor Steel Connecticut. He worked in key positions for 18 years for Bekaert Corporation, most recently as director of North American Procurement. Prior to that he was operations manager for Arcelor Corporation for 18 years. He holds a degree in materials engineering from Youngstown State University and an MBA in marketing from Kent State University. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor Corp. is the largest U.S. steel producer.

Hitachi Cable America Inc. (HCA) has named Joe Barry as COO of the Performance Cable Systems and Materials (PCSM) division based in Manchester, New Hampshire. He has decades of experience leading various engineering and business functions in well-known wire and cable manufacturing companies. He worked most recently as the CEO at Marmon Holdings, was president and general manager of Comtran Cable LLC, and held multiple senior positions at Belden Inc. He succeeds Tom Artinian, who served in that position for just two years and has since taken over as COO and president for the Automotive Products Division for both the Indiana and Mexico divisions. Hitachi Cable America Inc. (HCA)—which on Jan. 4, 2023, will become Proterial Cable America, Inc.—is a leading manufacturer of copper and fiber optic communication cables for the telecom industry.

Omni Cable, LLC has named Dan Van Belle as Northeast Regional Vice President, a new position that will see him responsible for the company’s Boston, Cincinnati and Philadelphia branches. He has more than 25 years of industry experience. He began his career with Houston Wire & Cable (HWC) in sales. During his tenure there, he served as the Charlotte regional manager, then was promoted to Southeast regional vice president. HWC was acquired by OmniCable in 2021. Based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, OmniCable is redistributor of electrical wire and cable and related services.

Aaron Overmann has been named leader tactical buyers North America for Bridon-Bekaert The Ropes Group. He started with the company as a tactical buyer in July 2021. He previously was a strategic sourcing manager at DBi Services, Inc., and prior to that was a supply chain specialist for MTF Biologics for 16 years. Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group, a division of Bekaert, is a premier supplier of mission-critical advanced cords and ropes.

OTECH Corporation finalized some key management changes following the Oct. 1 passing of Jack O’Donnell, who started the company in 1999 and served as president and CEO. Executive Vice President of Operations and Acting CEO Jason Page has been named CEO of the organization. The industry veteran has worked for OTECH for 20 years, with 10 years of leadership roles. Vice President Strategic & Business Development and Acting President Ted Irvine has been named president of OTECH. He joined the company in 2017 and has 35 years of plastics experience in key account sales, management, executive leadership and marketing. Based in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, OTECH Corporation develops, designs and custom manufactures high-quality specialty PVC compounds, thermoplastic elastomers and alloys used in electrical wire and cable.

Cooper Runzel has been promoted to director of manufacturing for Lake Cable LLC. He joined the company as a line operator in 2008, and was promoted to maintenance technician, quality technician, process technician, plant manager, corporate operations manager and director of operations. Based in Bensenville, Illinois, Lake Cable LLC manufactures a range of electrical wire and cable.

Service Wire reported two recent positions. Scott Olson has joined the company as director of sales in the Phoenix sales office. He previously was an executive national account manager for MRC Global, which he joined in 2007. He holds a B.S. degree in finance from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Jeff Anderson is a strategic account manager in the Houston sales office. A graduate of Morehouse College and National University, he has more than six years of experience in local and national corporate account management, most recently as national account manager for MRC Global. Based in Culloden, West Virginia, Service Wire Co. supplies electrical wire and cable.

Deborah Musselman has been named digital merchandising manager at Allied Wire & Cable. She joined the company in 2018 as an IT assistant and was promoted to Technical SEO specialist. She holds a degree in mathematics and computer science from Ursinus College. Based in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, Allied Wire & Cable is an independently operated, specialty manufacturer and distributor of electrical wire, cable, tubing, and accessories.


“Fred” Schwelm, a  a long time industry veteran, died in California just shy of his 95th birthday. He spent more than 50 years in the steel wire business. He worked for J. Gerber & Co., which was then an import agent for Bekaert, rising to the role of president of Bekaert Northeast Sales, a joint venture between Gerber and Bekaert. He was based in New York City except for a period (1950-52) when he was at the J. Gerber offices in Japan.
A German refugee, Hartoch arrived penniless with his family in New York a year after witnessing the atrocities of Kristallnacht. He attended the Bronx High School of Science and then night school in business administration at City College.
Hartoch was respected by all who knew him for his sales prowess and technical knowledge of steel wire. Despite some harsh years, he almost always met his sales and profit budget figures, and was recognized by his colleagues. He taught his salespeople all aspects of ferrous wire, but more importantly, about the ethics of doing business. He prompted his sales staff to think and solve problems rather than just giving them the answers to their questions. He will be remembered for his kindness, honesty, sense of humor and keen sense of history and world events.

Anthony “Tony” Dolce, the founder of T&T Marketing, died Oct. 29 in Hackettstown, New Jersey, at age 94. In 1988, he retired from BP Performance Polymers as vice president of sales and marketing, then the next year launched T&T Marketing. He was joined by son-in-law Tom Jordan, and the two men built the company into a leading, dedicated wire and cable distributor of resins and polymers in North America. Dolce, who was part of the business for 25 years before retiring at age 85, said that those years were the best of his career. T&T Marketing was bought by M. Holland Company in 2017.
Prior to T&T, Dolce held positions with British Petroleum as vice president of sales and Reichold Chemicals as vice president of sales and sales manager. Earlier in his career, he held process engineering and chemist positions with Reynolds Metals, Kaiser Aluminum, and U.S. Rubber. He held a degree in chemistry from Providence College. The WAI Life Member was a 2008 recipient of the WCMA Distinguished Career Award.
Dolce had been predeceased by Theresa, his wife of 70 years, earlier in October. Survivors include three daughters: Laura Jordan, Anne Dolce and Marie Dolce; two grandchildren; and one great grandchild.

Alloy Wire International reported news of two personnel changes. Mark Venable has been promoted to chairman. He joined the company as a managing director designate in 2010, and a year later became managing director, a position held to his promotion. He previously had in different sales roles for 21 years for the Brockmoor Foundry. Filling the managing director post is Tom Mander, who has worked for the company for more than 17 years. He was named managing director designate in 2021. Based in the West Midlands, U.K., Alloy Wire International manufactures wire and wire rope for a wide range of markets.

Cody Buhle has been named national sales manager for non-contact speed and length-measuring products for Proton Products Inc. He joined the U.S. Navy, where he became a basic electricity and electronics technician. He has considerable private sector sales and engineer experience. He worked for several companies as a field service engineer and as a technical sales manager, a position he most recently held for BST eltromat International GmbH in the U.S. Based in the U.K. and U.S., Proton Products supplies instrumentation and control equipment for use in industrial production.

Chroma Color Corporation has promoted Clayton Tyler to sales director for the Eastern Region. He joined the company in 2020 as a regional market manager with extensive prior experience. He most recently worked for Lyondell Basell as a business development manager. Prior to that, he worked for A. Schulman, Inc., Clariant and ECM Plastics, Inc. The company also named Joel Neely as an account manager. He has had a successful track record selling color and additives to a wide variety of leading plastics convertors. He holds a degree in marketing from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Based in McHenry, Illinois, Chroma Color Corporation supplies specialty color and additive concentrates to markets that include wire and cable.

Holger Lieder, director of sales at Sikora AG, has taken on additional duties: interim responsibility for the areas of marketing and service. In this function, he will directly report to CEO Dr. Christian Frank. He joined the company in 2004, and now assumes the responsibilities previously held by Dr. Jörg Wissdorf, a member of the Executive Board who is taking on new professional challenges. Based in Bremen, Germany, Sikora AG supplies measuring, control, inspection, analysis and sorting devices for wire and cable.

Alain Hawaux, well known in North America for being the after-sales service manager of Gauder Group, Inc., has been promoted to president of Gauder Group, Inc. He has been with the company for 24 years, and while he will continue in his prior role, he will now be able to help consolidate and implement new strategies for Setic S.A.S in North America. He will also be a constructive adviser for both Setic S.A.S and customers. Based in Lewisville, North Carolina, Gauder Group, Inc. is the Setic SAS, Pourtier and C2S representative in North America for rotating equipment made by Setic and Pourtier.

The SAMP Group recently hired Paolo Stefini, a leading expert in aluminum metallurgical processes, as its product manager aluminum. He has more than 20 years of experience that encompassing all elements of manufacturing aluminum wires and alloys for use in the following fields: electric applications, the automotive industry, mechanical deformation, and welding. Prior to joining SAMP, he worked for companies that included the Travar Tec-ECN Cunext Group. Based in Bentivoglio, Italy, and with manufacturing sites in Italy, China and Brazil, and sales agents and service centers all over the world, the SAMP Group manufactures a wide range of wire and cable machinery. n


Frederick “Fred” Schwelm, a well-known retired industry veteran, died Sept. 29 at age 75. The Wire & Cable Manufacturers Alliance (WCMA) outlined the extensive career of Schwelm, who was a WCMA founding board member and a 1997 recipient of the Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award, now the WCMA Distinguished Career Award. In 1973, Schwelm began his career at Cornish Wire in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He was responsible for the plant/process engineering for the three plants of the company, which at the time was a division of General Cable. He joined Rockbetos in 1979 as operations manager at the plant in East Granby, Connecticut. In 1983, he joined BIW Cable as vice president of manufacturing. In 1988 Draka purchased BIW and he became vice president of operations for the Draka companies. In 1993, he rejoined Rockbestos, which was owned by Marmon Group, as president. During 1996 and 1997, Marmon acquired Surprenant Cable, and Schwelm lead the merger of Rockbestos and Surprenant, now RSCC Wire and Cable. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Clare; daughters Nicole and Gretchen; and three grandchildren.

Charles (Chuck) Lovenguth, a retired key leader at International Wire, died Oct. 3 at age 81, at Anthology Senior Living, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. He started his career at Camden Wire Co., left to earn a business degree, and then returned to Camden Wire as a machine operator. He was promoted to production manager, and in 1992 he joined Omega Wire as a sales manager. He was promoted and held the position of vice president of sales when the company became part of International Wire. He eventually became vice president of sales and marketing for International Wire’s Noninsulated Wire Division, which included the consolidated operations of Camden Wire, Omega Wire, Auburn Wire and Continental Cordage. A 1997 recipient of the Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award, he was a Life Member of Wire Association International and a Member of the American Copper Council. He is survived by three sons: Marc, Chris and Jason; a sister, Carol; three brothers: Gary, Brian and Mike; and many grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

John “Jack” Edward O’Donnell II, the founder of O’Tech Industries, died Oct. 1, at age 63. O’Donnell earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Holy Cross College, then moved to Chicago where he worked in several sales roles. While he and two buddies from Holy Cross entered the bar business (Mamie Rileys on Clark Street and later The Hidden Shamrock on Halsted), his passion for sales and chemistry led him to become a manufacturer’s representative for Gary Chemical Corporation, a thermoplastic compounding company in Leominster, Massachusetts. In 1999, he founded O’Tech Industries in Rolling Prairie, Indiana, where he served as President and CEO. The company flourished as a specialty compounding business with multiple subsidiaries, which includes Color Resource in Leominster. His strong work ethic and passion for his business were instrumental to his success. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Laurel Davenport O’Donnell; a son John III “Jack”; three daughters, Jesse, Lia and Lucy; and three brothers, Doug, Gregg and Mark.

The Ducab Group announced that it has been awarded the full EPC (engineering, procurement & contracting) contract to supply and install 400 kV cables and accessories to link Al Dhafra—which when operational will be the world’s largest solar plant in Abu Dhabi—with the Emirate’s main TRANSCO transmission grid (Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company) through its specialised division, Ducab HV.

A press release said that the announcement was made by Ducab Group CEO Mohammad Almutawa at the Water, Energy, Technology and Environment Exhibition (WETEX). “We are proud that Ducab is assisting the nation in achieving its ‘Energy Strategy 2050’.” The collaborative project partnership includes testing and commissioning, and with the order, Ducab now supplies cables for the three largest solar projects in the UAE.

Ducab has supplied its custom-made SolarBICC cables to Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 project and Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park in Dubai, two of the largest solar projects in the world. “As a champion of the “Made in the UAE” initiative, Ducab not only supplies solutions to leading power projects in the UAE but also supports products and counterparts in auxiliary industries to deepen the country’s industrial capabilities,” the release said. Ducab works with partners across the UAE industrial value chain, such as EGA, KIZAD, and Borouge, while acquiring many of its requirements from UAE-based organizations.

The Al Dhafra project supports the country’s Energy Strategy 2050’s goals that seek to increase the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix from 25% to 50% by 2050. The facility will deploy technologically advanced bifacial solar panels that deliver electricity at the highest efficiency levels by using both the front and back of panels. The facility will have a capacity of two gigawatts and supply power to Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC).
When fully operational, the release said, Al Dhafra will be the world’s largest single-site solar power plant, mitigating 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually and using 3.5 million solar panels to generate enough electricity for approximately 160,000 homes across the UAE.

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