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Waupaca Foundry

Culture - Jan 12, 2020

Casting Call: Sam McClure

Ally Melby | Waupaca Foundry

Sam McClure started as an operator in the millroom 16 years ago. Since then, Sam has also served various leadership roles and in quality assurance. Today he is the mill room process engineer at Waupaca Foundry’s ductile iron foundry located in Etowah, Tennessee. He also worked at the Tell City, Indiana location for two years during The Great Recession when the Etowah plant was temporarily idled. Sam still talks to one of his Tell City coworkers every morning during his commute to work and happily exchanges NASCAR tickets for homemade BBQ with another.

We sat down with Sam to discuss some of the highlights of his career at Waupaca Foundry and how the success of his coworkers is just as important to him as is his own.
What is your favorite part of the day?
“My favorite part is the morning because I get to do my walkthrough and see the nightshift folks, and then I do another walkthrough when day shift takes the floor, so I get to meet and greet my people every day.”

Why did you decide to go back to school?
“The foundry came to me and offered me a chance to go back to college and pick up a two-year associate degree in business, which I took advantage of, through the tuition reimbursement program. At this point and time, I have a 4.0 GPA and will graduate with honors this fall.”

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
“Seeing somebody be successful. Being able to bring somebody in that is brand new and see them grow and be successful and step up -- just like Dallas Pike. Dallas came through the mill room, worked his way to be a foreman.”

What would you like to see change at Waupaca Foundry?
I would make sure we were a more bilingual company because as we expand operations, we have more ethnicities working here.”

What would you say to someone just starting at Waupaca Foundry?
“Get past the look, and the look is when you have been doing this for a week, and you come in for your second week and it’s Monday or Tuesday and you wake up and you're sore from getting used to the repetitive work, you have that look on your face that you don’t know if you are going to make it past first break. I tell them if you can get past the look, you will be successful.”

What has made you stay at Waupaca Foundry?
“When I came on board to this company, I graduated from Polk County High School with a high school diploma. I put my head down, stayed busy, got recognized and was given opportunities, and I took advantage of them, and those same opportunities exist for every single person that comes to work and clocks in. You won’t find that anywhere else where a person with a high school diploma can work their way up to a superintendent position or manager of a department, but those opportunities exist here.”
Waupaca Foundry is the proud employer of more than 4,500 employees, and 37 percent have been with us for 10 years or more. We appreciate the hard work and dedication from every one of our team members who keep producing the highest quality cast iron components.

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