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Martin Thacker has plenty of experience as the British representative for WAI’s 2022 clockwinding ceremony, having served in that role for the prior two years. However, this time, he will be the one doing the actual winding when he visits WAI’s office on Nov. 3.
On Nov. 11, 2020, Thacker served as the first-ever virtual clockwinder as part of a special Association meeting that also included the WAI’s Annual Meeting and the presentation of the Mordica Award. He spoke from his home in Britain, and discussed the significance of the tradition. Each year, a representative for the British wire and cable industry comes to rewind the stately grandfather clock that they gave to the Association on Oct. 20, 1948, in appreciation of the support given during World War II.
On Nov.17, 2021, Thacker again performed his duties before a meeting of the WAI’s Board of Directors. Both times he talked about the value of maintaining close ties. “I am disappointed not to be with you in person today,” said Thacker, who is a Liveryman of the Court of the Worshipful Company of Tinplate Workers Alias Wireworkers (Tinplate Workers) in London. “Last year I had the honor of being the first person to conduct the clock winding ceremony via virtual means. I am now the very first person to have conducted the clock winding ceremony via virtual means twice in succession!”
Now Thacker—whose grandfather was a wiredrawer in Sheffield, and his father worked for Markham and Company Ltd., as did his uncle—will be back for the third time in the flesh.

Had any personnel changes the last few years? It’s a rare company that hasn’t either lost or added staff during the Covid period, and it’s not a bad idea to make sure that the industry knows who your key people are.
This is an ideal time to take a minute to look at the 2022 edition of the Wire Journal International Reference Guide and see whether you need to make some updates for the 2023 edition. Companies can also make a new entry enter or update their company profiles for the Reference Guide and WAI’s online Industry Search.
New and updated entries will be accepted through Nov. 30, 2022, for the printed publication. An instructional video on submitting a free listing is available www.wirenet.org/industry-search-instructional-video.
The WJI Reference Guide lists contact information for international manufacturers and suppliers to the wire and cable industry. Company listings include more than 1,100 product types.

Andy Zinner has been named vice president operations & service at Niehoff Endex North America (NENA). He most recently worked for Leoni Wire Inc., where he held positions that included vice president sales/operations lead, president/vice president of sales, and vice president of sales and marketing. Prior to that, he worked for eight years for Schneider Electric. He holds a degree in electrical power and engineering from the Technical University, Regensburg. Based in Swedesboro, New Jersey, NENA is a division of Germany’s Maschinefabrik Niehoff GmbH, a global supplier of wire drawing/processing technology.

Joel Spink was named the new quality manager at Reel Power Industrial. He has 25 years of quality management experience, working as manufacturing engineer, quality engineer, senior quality engineer, quality manager, division quality manager and quality director for different companies representing industries from hydraulics and airplane engines to fabrication. He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University, and an MBA from Harding University. Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Reel Power Industrial supplies standard and custom reeling and coiling equipment.

Hitachi Cable America has named Jerry O’Donnell as senior sales engineer for the company’s Performance Cable Systems and Materials Division. He has over 30 years of experience in the data communications industry in sales engineering and project management. He most recently was a sales engineer for seven years for Corning Optical Communications, and prior to that was a project manager or manufacturer’s representative for four other companies. He holds a degree from Cabrini University. Hitachi Cable America, Inc.’s Performance Cables Systems & Materials Division manufactures copper and fiber optic communication cables and assemblies for the telecom industry.

François Desné has been named divisional CEO for Steel Wire Solutions of Bekaert. He began his career with RHODIA in 1996, holding management roles in quality and development. He moved to BASF in 2003, working in regional and global leadership positions across Europe and Asia. He joined Recticel in 2016 as a group general manager before he moved to Bekaert. A French national, he holds an M.S. degree in fundamental physics from the University of Paris VII, an MBA from the Wharton School, and a Master of Arts in international studies from the Lauder Institute/University of Pennsylvania.

The American Wire Group (AWG) announced two new hires. Benjamin Sender has joined as regional vice president, renewables. Based in Colorado, he will be responsible for developing new business and expanding AWG’s customer base in the rapidly growing renewables market. Michael Joseph is the new engineering director. Based in Connecticut, he will provide engineering support, quality control and quality assurance system management. Based in Miami, Florida, the American Wire Group supplies wire, cables and accessories for markets that include power transmission, distribution, substations, solar, wind, battery energy storage and EV infrastructure.

Mark Richmond has been promoted to the position of senior manager, strategic accounts, at Hexatronic US. He started with Hexatronic in 2020 as a strategic account manager, successfully managing several large accounts. The U.S. Navy veteran, who served on the attack submarine USS Grayling, holds a BSET degree in electrical engineering from the University of Central Florida.

Ken Consalvo has joined Comtran as a process engineering supervisor. He most recently had been manager quality assurance for Alphagary, which he joined in 2020. He also had worked for seven years in different manager roles for Data Guide Cable. Part of the Marmon Electrical Group and based in Attleboro, Massachusetts, Comtran manufactures specialty cable and system solutions for a variety of applications.

Charles Mellagui has been named CEO of the cable business unit of the Ducab Group. He previously worked for Nexans, where he had held various roles in Europe and the Middle East since 2007, rising to vice president for Central Europe, Russia and France. He has a solid track record and vast business networks in the cable industry, including industry ecosystems in the Middle East, Europe, Russia and Africa. He has restructured business units in the Middle East and helped developing Factories of the Future. He holds an engineering degree from CentraleSupelec in France and a SLOAN MBA from London Business School in the U.K. He succeeds Mike Englebrecht. Based in Dubai, the Ducab Group is one of the UAE’s largest industrial manufacturing businesses


Editor’s note: It just came to the attention of WJI of the passing of a WAI Past President who had a remarkable career.
Dr. Curtis Maitland Jackson, a pioneer in metallurgical research and development, a Past President of the Wire Association International, died Dec. 9, 2021, at age 88.
A native of the Bronx in New York, Jackson graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1951, and earned a B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from New York University in 1954. He earned his M.S. degree (1959) and his Ph.D. (1966) in metallurgical engineering from The Ohio State University. He moved to Columbus, Ohio, where he worked in research management for the Battelle Memorial Institute for 36 years. During his tenure there, he was a pioneer in metallurgical R&D, specializing in memory alloys such as Nitinol, which are widely used in medical, military, and commercial applications. He was a leader in professional associations including A.I.M.E. (chairman of the North Central Region) and the WAI (president in 1976-77), and also oversaw WJI for six years. His professional awards include both the WAI’s 1977 Mordica Memorial Award for contributions to the advancement of the wire industry, and the Donnellan Memorial Award for outstanding service to WAI. He was recognized by Industrial Research Magazine with inclusion in its 1977 IR-100 Award that honors individuals who made one of the 100 most outstanding new product developments. His outside interests included collecting worldwide military rank insignia, genealogy and lecturing on luxury passenger trains.
He is survived by his children, Carol Adams and David Jackson; three grandchildren; and many cousins.

William Cantrell, a well-respected industry veteran who lived in Irwindale, California, and was director of sales for Davis Wire Corporation (HEICO Metal Processing Group), died Aug. 28 at age 54.
An Eagle Scout who earned a degree from the University of Georgia, in 1992 he joined the family business, Cantrell Group LLC. Over the next seven years he represented steel products that included imported wire and production from companies such as Northwestern Steel & Wire and National Wire. In 1999, he joined Keystone Steel & Wire as a senior field sales representative, and over his 17 years there he rose to the position of director of national accounts.
In 2016, the WAI member joined Davis Wire. He was serving a term as vice president of the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute, and had served as treasurer for the Wire Reinforcement Institute (WRI). At the WRI website, it posted the following tribute. “The WRI has truly lost a valued leader and friend. William was a joy to work with in the WRI and his wit, humor, and perspectives on the industry were always refreshing and valuable. He will be sorely missed by all, both within and outside of the WRI.”
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer Pittman Cantrell; parents Linda and Tom Cantrell; two sons, William Pittman and Louie Thomas Cantrell; and a sister, Cherise.

Ralph Furlong, who was the second family member to serve as president of Industrial Steel Wire, died Aug. 13, at age 87. A chemical engineer, in 1965 he bought the company from his father, Harry Furlong, who had founded the business in 1935. He oversaw considerable growth, and was still active with the Chicago, Illinois-based company at the time of his passing. Survivors include his son, Brian Furlong, who in 2006 became the third Furlong to serve as president of the company.

Robert “Bob” Gingue, an industry chemicals veteran, died Aug. 21 at age 74. He was one of the four founders of Gary Chemical Corp., where he served as vice president and general manager from 1979-1983. In 1989, U.K.-based Evode Group acquired Gary Chemical and named Gingue as president. In 1993, when Evode Group was acquired by Laporte plc, he was named managing director over the consolidated Gary Chemical and Alpha Chemical Corp. which became AlphaGary. In 2000, he received the Charles D. Scott Distinguished Career Award from the Wire & Cable Manufacturer’s Alliance for his contribution to AlphaGary and the wire and cable industry as well for his leadership in many material developments, particularly the globally recognized SMOKEGUARD® PVC material for communications and data cables. He held a degree in chemical engineering from Lowell Tech (University of Massachusetts at Lowell). Until his retirement in 2011, he managed through four ownership changes, leaving an undeniable impact on co-workers, customers, suppliers and colleagues as he maneuvered shifting industry dynamics and the everchanging landscape of business development.
He is survived by his wife, Carol (Dooley) Gingue; a daughter, Robin Scott and her husband John; granddaughters Haley DiMeco, Maddisen Scott and Mary Scott; a great grandson, and several nieces and nephews.

Ralph Edward Mabry, a veteran of the lubrication industry, died at age 77 at his home in Franklin, Tennessee. He worked in sales for some 30 years for companies that included PPG, Oakite, Henkel and Chemetall. He had a degree in sociology from David Lipscomb University, and was known for his cheerful manner, technical expertise, interest in his clients and presence at trade shows. He later formed Ralph Mabry Associates, a representative firm, before retiring and joining the fledging online business of Cathee Alsup Mabry, his wife of 49 years. Other survivors include a son, Adam Mabry; a brother, Morris Mabry; a sister, Marva Nettles; two granddaughters, Addison and Ansley Mabry; and other family members.

At this sad and historic time our thoughts are with the people of the U.K. as the world mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Each year we remember our friends in the U.K. at an annual clock winding ceremony at which a representative from Great Britain makes the trip to the U.S. to commemorate the friendship and communication between the two nations. The tradition began in 1948 when John Rigby and Sons, Ltd. of Manchester, England, presented the Wire Association with a 400-day grandfather clock at its Annual Convention. The gesture, which represented a group of 32 companies from the U.K., was made in appreciation of the support given by the U.S. wire industry to Great Britain during World War II.

While saddened we are reminded of our strong and lasting connection to our friends in the U.K. and, in doing so, we acknowledge the inevitability of the passage of time.

This occasional section has shared information from very smart people on cutting-edge technology, only a changing industry has different needs. And one is that more people come to a company knowing next to nothing about a given field. That’s why the best help one can provide them is not articles about advanced techniques but basic—really basic— information.

And that is what ‘Got Grooves?’ by industry veteran Eugene Klein Sr., president of Parkway-Kew, does for the realm of capstans and drawing blocks. It will not turn new employees into industry gurus, but it will make them feel more comfortable when there is a discussion. In surprisingly few pages, he answers a range of potential steel process woe questions.

• What are grooves and how are they formed?
• How do grooves cause process problems?
• Why are grooves worse for high-carbon steel?
• If slip causes grooves, why is some needed?
• Can grooves be avoided?
• What are cold starts, short holing and block swapping?

Klein, who has previously written columns for WJI, also discusses treatment of blocks, the value of having spare blocks and resurfacing blocks. He also shares his thoughts, among others, about goodwill inside a plant, matching equipment to a product line and why a bottom-line focus can be short-sighted.

More importantly, this publication, which is small in terms of page numbers, will be appreciated by a new employee as it is the easiest of reads. In less than 20 minutes, the reader will have some basic knowledge, which is a good starting point. Further such publications are planned.

To obtain a copy, contact Michael J. Hoffarth, vice president of business development, Parkway Kew, tel. 701-306-5160, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For technical questions, readers can contact Eugene Klein Sr., at tel. 743-398-2100, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3 bonus tips from past columns by Eugene Klein Sr. for WJI 

1. On a continuous machine, if the wiredrawing blocks are not filled with wire wraps for 66% to 75% of the face of the block, you are creating excessive slip and experiencing inferior line speeds. You may hear excuses that you have to do it that way, but the reality is the taper can be adjusted to eliminate this problem and to maximize production and minimize wear.

2. Water cooling is increasingly important as the carbon level of the wire is increased. Extraordinary production increases can be realized with higher carbon wires by making sure the interior water cooling is working properly. The use of an inexpensive infrared heat gun is invaluable in spotting problems.

3. Larger bundles can be realized on bull blocks by adding a step to the contour. If a step is already present, it can be enlarged. Grind the step angle on a 15-degree ramp so the wires do not overlap. Also, if necessary, increase the taper slightly after the step.

Editor’s Note:
This occasional section is meant to be a place where a company can discuss its technology in more detail than possible in the Products section yet not be a technical paper that has to go through the presentation process. Submissions can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..