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Galvanizers Association founded in 1936 is a worldwide organization with nearly 150 member companies.  Members are producers of continuous galvanizing of iron, or steel sheet, or pipe and their suppliers.  Their meetings provides a forum for discussion of topics pertaining to general galvanizing problems in order to advance the quality of galvanized products, thereby increasing public acceptance.

A History of the Galvanizers Association (Committee)

NELSON E. COOK AND F. GUY WHITE 1936-1963

The Galvanizers Committee was conceived and born during the depression years of the thirties, and has grown steadily to become one of the most useful committees in the steel industry.

The time was most propitious for the organization of such a group. The sheet galvanizing industry, in particular, was coming to the end of an era in its long history, in which almost everything had been done that could be done in perfecting conventional coating processes when using hand rolled cut length sheets. And the quality of such product, certainly by present standards, was not good. Many of the producers had begun to use black material rolled on semi-automatic mills, and some of the producers had begun to use continuously hot rolled and cold rolled black material. We were just beginning to emerge from the era of relatively slow production to a new era which was termed, at that time, high speed production in conventional coating pots. And we were on the threshold of a new era which hopefully contemplated the continuous galvanizing of continuously rolled hot and cold strip.

During the years prior to the organization of our Committee, galvanized sheets were fast losing favor, partly because of the desire of the consumer to obtain improved quality and a greater variety of galvanized sheet material, and partly because producers, in their competitive efforts to save production costs, were constantly reducing the protective values of the galvanized product by making lighter and lighter coatings. This deliberate disregard of quality by the producers in order to increase profits opened a fertile field for the development and promotion of many new substitutes to take the place of galvanized sheets.

Galvanizing had always been considered an "art," and the industry was highly competitive, particularly in the early depression years. There was a great deal of so-called secret" information which was tightly held by individuals in the producing companies; and it was certainly true, in those days, that there was a definite lack of communication between the producers of galvanized sheets and the producers of zinc metal, even though there was every reason that the zinc producers and their largest single customer should work together very closely.

The Zinc Institute representing the zinc industry, had, for some time, instituted "Better Galvanizing Campaigns" and sales promotional efforts in behalf of galvanized sheets and while these aroused the interest of the producers of galvanized sheets, there was a lack of coordination of efforts between the two industries.

In May 1935, Ernest V. Gent came to the Zinc Institute as its Secretary and he immediately set about, with the help of the President of the Institute, Howard Young, to remedy this situation, and to promote a friendly atmosphere between the Institute and the steel producers. Their effort quickly bore fruit, and many of the steel producers began to send representatives to the Zinc Institute meetings, for it was realized that the Institute had much technical information on zinc to impart to the steel producers, and the steel producers had much information to impart to the Institute on production matters.

It was not long before both factors were convinced that it would be advantageous to foster closer cooperation, and the Zinc Institute announced that it would be receptive to a plan to assist in the formation of a technical and operating group of galvanizers, if these galvanizers expressed a desire for this assistance. This development was due to the interest of Howard Young and Ernest Gent, of the Institute, and to men such as Guy White, Julian Schueler, and Ben Finkbone, of the galvanizing group. Had it not been for the determination of Mr. Gent and Mr. White to conclude arrangements, our group might never have been formed. And, while it was certainly difficult to overcome the previous lack of communication on mutual technical problems between the various galvanizers, these men, together with others who joined them later, kept driving until it was accomplished.

For the details of the actual organization of the Committee we can best quote from a History which was prepared by F. Guy White, on the occasion of his receiving the Annual Award on April 21, 1952, as follows:

During the opening day of the April 1936 Annual Meeting of the American Zinc Institute, representatives of nine galvanized sheet producers met and agreed that the formation of a Technical Committee on Galvanizing would be most helpful to the sheet galvanizing division of the steel industry. The group then extended an invitation to the American Zinc Institute to sponsor such a Committee. The group drawing up this request was composed of:

  • G. A. Brayton - Newport Rolling Mill Co.
  • B. P. Finkbone - American Rolling Mill Co.
  • W. H. McCune - Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corp.
  • L. F. Newton - Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.
  • J. L. Schueler - Continental Steel Corp.
  • N. L. Schneider - Republic Steel Corp.
  • B. J. Wilner - Inland Steel Co.
  • G. L. vonPlanck - Columbia Steel Co.
  • F. Guy White - Granite City Steel Co.

A temporary Organizing Committee was appointed, consisting of Messrs. Finkbone, Schueler, and White, with Mr. Gent, of AZI, as Secretary. On April 27, 1936, this committee addressed a letter to the American Zinc Institute, as follows:

In your letter dated February 20, 1936, to the Presidents of the various steel companies producing galvanized sheets you mentioned that the American Zinc Institute was considering sponsoring a Technical Committee on Hot Galvanizing, and from the attendance of galvanized sheet producers at your recent annual meeting it would seem that the industry looked favorably upon such a plan.

An informal meeting was held on Monday, April 20th, among those present being:

  • G. A. Brayton - Newport Rolling Mill Co.
  • B. P. Finkbone - American Rolling Mill Co.
  • W. H. McCune - Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corp.
  • L. F. Newton - Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co.
  • J. L. Schueler - Continental Steel Corp.
  • N. L. Schneider - Republic Steel Corp.
  • F. Guy White - Granite City Steel Co.
  • B. J. Wilner - Inland Steel Co.
  • G. L. vonPlanck - Columbia Steel Co.

It was the consensus of opinion that the formation of a Technical Committee on Galvanizing would be most helpful to the Galvanizing Division of the Steel Industry and it was decided to extend an invitation to the American Zinc Institute to sponsor such a committee.

Will you kindly advise us, at your earliest convenience, whether the Institute is willing to undertake such sponsorship.

On May 28th, 1936, Mr. Gent, as Secretary of the American Zinc Institute, wrote us:

Replying to your letter of April 27th, which refers to the informal meeting of steel company representatives held on April 20, at St. Louis, when it was decided to extend an invitation to the American Zinc Institute to sponsor a technical committee on hot galvanizing, it being the consensus of opinion among those present that formation of such a committee would be most helpful to the galvanizing section of the steel industry; the American Zinc Institute welcomes your invitation and will be glad to contribute all it can by way of sponsorship to the organization of a technical galvanizing committee, and would like to discuss the ways and means by which the committee is to function and the next steps to be taken.

At this point great credit should be given to Howard Young, President of the Zinc Institute, and Ernest Gent, Secretary, for selling this idea to the Directors and members of their organization. Sponsorship meant everything to a group this small and this new. The Zinc Institute, with the successful reputation it has, could not afford to back or sponsor a new group unless they were sure it would be an asset to both their industry as well as the industry it represented. Their faith in our Organizing Committee will be forever appreciated. Bear in mind that as galvanizers we were the zinc industry's largest customer. Friction between the Steel and Zinc industries was to be avoided. Any thought that the zinc industry was going to tell the steel industry how to run its business would be fatal, then or now.

On Monday, October 5, 1936, the Organizing Committee (consisting of White, Schueler, and Finkbone) met in Chicago with Mr. Gent and Mr. Ekblaw, who was Sales Promotional Manager of the Zinc Institute, and drew up a program for the first meeting to be held in Pittsburgh, November 18 and 19, at the Hotel Pittsburgher. In order to be assured of success for this first meeting we realized we needed a larger committee, and invited the following to join our Organizing Committee:

  • N. E. Cook -Wheeling Steel Corp.
  • G. A. Brayton - Newport Rolling Mill Co.
  • F. W. Brown - Inland Steel Co.
  • H. E. McCoy - Gulf States Steel Co.

(The above four, along with Messrs. White, Schueler, and Finkbone then became the first Organizing Committee.)

In addition to arranging a program, suggested Constitution and by-laws were drawn up, following as closely as possible those of the Open Hearth Committee. The program covered some twenty informal topics, and with everyone's assistance, an excellent mailing list was prepared and invitations were issued for this first meeting. Attendance of 36 was most gratifying and Mr. Young, as President of the Zinc Institute, welcomed the group. Realizing that we would largely be strangers to one another, as well as competitors, your committee met the night before for a rehearsal. Subjects on the program were discussed and re-worded where necessary so that no one would feel that any technical secrets or private practices would be divulged.

At the first meeting in Pittsburgh the Organizing Committee, consisting of Messrs. White, Schueler, Finkbone, Cook, Brayton, Brown, and McCoy, were constituted the first Governing Board. Mr.White was elected Chairman, and Mr. Gent was elected Secretary.

This Committee has met continuously for 27 years, celebrating its Silver Anniversary at the 44th meeting in Philadelphia, in November 1961. During this period of time, The Galvanizers Committee has met jointly with the Zinc Institute or, more recently, with the Zinc Institute-Lead Industries Association, each year, with the exception of seven years - 1940, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1950, and 1955. Four of these years - 1943, 1945, 1946, and 1955 - due to many limitations, The Galvanizers Committee held only one meeting, and the joint meeting with the Institute was eliminated. In 1940 the Committee did not meet with the Institute, but held two meetings of their own, at Pittsburgh and Baltimore. In 1941 the Committee held two meetings of their own, both at Pittsburgh. In 1950 The Galvanizers Committee did not meet with the Institute, but held two meetings of their own, one at Toronto, and one at Birmingham. In the Appendix (A) is given a listing of the meetings, dates, places of meetings, attendance, and the Presiding Chairmen. During these 27 years there have been times when it was difficult to hold the Committee together, due to wars, travel restrictions, economy measures, and various other limiting factors which made plant visitations impossible. But, in spite of all this, the Committee has become stronger each year, which speaks well for its value.

Eligibility for Active Membership in our Committee has been limited to galvanized sheet producers, and the Committee has always embraced a membership of the entire industry in this country and Canada. Therefore, we cannot grow in numbers until new companies may become eligible, but can grow only by the number of representatives sent to our meetings. Within recent years we have expanded the usefulness of the Committee by including pipe producers, with the status of Associate Members, and the work of this part of the Committee has grown and been most active, and continues to be of great value to the pipe industry.

During the 27 years we have lost by death four men who served this Committee as Chairman of the Governing Board - J. L. Schueler, D. A. Russell, Robert Stoker, and L. C. Flickinger. We have also lost by death the following Councilmen who gave so much to the work of this Committee - W. R. Shimer, G. A. Brayton, D. H. Miller, J. J. Shuman, J. J. Enlow, J. H. Crowe, and E. R. Craig. We have lost by retirement four other Past Chairmen of the Governing Board - F. G. White, B. P. Finkbone, C. K. Lytle, and K. S. Fitzsimmons. And we have lost many others, too numerous to mention, by retirement and death, who contributed so much to the success of the Committee.

HONORARY MEMBERSHIP

During the past 27 years, the Committee has chosen to honor 13 men as Honorary Members, as follows:

  • O. U. Cook - Tennessee Coal & Iron Div.
  • R. H. Dibble - U.S. Steel Corp.
  • Robert Stoker - U. S. Steel Corp.
  • D. 0. Fisher - Armco Steel Corp.
  • W. E. Buck - Continental Steel Corp.
  • J. L. Schueler - Continental Steel Corp.
  • E. V. Gent -American Zinc Institute
  • E. F. Lundeen -Inland Steel Co.
  • T. P. Caine -Weirton Steel Co.
  • B. P. Finkbone - Armco Steel Corp.
  • C. E. Armfield - Granite City Steel Co.
  • F. G. White -Granite City Steel Co.
  • A.H. Ward -U.S. Steel Corp.
ANNUAL AWARD OF THE GALVANIZERS COMMITTEE

At its meeting in November 1948, the Governing Board approved the following resolution, which was later approved by the Council:

RESOLVED, that The Galvanizers Committee award each year a medal, plaque, certificate, or other suitable form of recognition to the person in the galvanizing or related field who has made a significant contribution to the interests of the Committee and the industry it represents, such Award to be named The Galvanizers Committee Award or some other suitable title.

The Award was subsequently called The Galvanizers Committee Annual Award, and it MAY BE GIVEN EACH YEAR if a suitable recipient is agreed upon. Nominations come from the Council, and the final approval or disapproval rests in the hands of the Annual Award Subcommittee, which consists of Past Chairmen who are still active, and the current Chairman of the Governing Board. This Award has been given ten times, as follows:

  • May 18, 1950 - Thaddeus Sendzimir

  • May 21, 1951 - N. E Cook, Wheeling Steel Corp.

  • April 21, 1952 - F. GuyWhite, Granite City Steel Co.

  • April 27, 1953 - E. V. Gent, American Zinc Institute

  • April 20, 1954 - B. P. Finkbone, Armco Steel Corp.

  • Nov. 10, 1955 - F. F. Lundeen, Inland Steel Co.

  • April 14, 1958 - Kasimir Oganowski, Armco Steel Corp.

  • April 23, 1959 - A. H. Ward, U.S. Steel Corp.

  • April 9, 1962 - E. P. Beachum, Bethlehem Steel Co.

  • May 1, 1963 - J. L. Kimberley, American Zinc Institute

AMERICAN ZINC INSTITUTE SPONSORS AWARD

Just recently (1962) the Governing Board decided to give annual official recognition to the best technical paper presented to The Galvanizers Committee by a member company employee. The award of $50.00 plus a certificate is to be made at each tall meeting for the best paper presented the previous year- -spring and fall meetings. Papers presented by other than member company employees will not be eligible. The selection is to be made by a committee not yet determined. This Annual Award will be presented by the American Zinc Institute.

AWARDS OUTSIDE THE STEEL INDUSTRY ERNEST V. GENT

On April 27, 1953, at the joint meeting of The Galvanizers Committee with the Institute, Mr. E. V. Gent, Executive Vice President of the American Zinc Institute, and Secretary of our Committee, was presented with The Galvanizers Committee Annual Award by B. P. Finkbone, the Chairman of the Governing Board. (For presentation citation, see Proceedings, Volume 29, April 1953, pages 4-6)

On November 11, 1955, at the meeting of The Galvanizers Committee held in Chicago, E. V. Gent, the retiring Executive Vice President of the Institute was presented by Nelson F. Cook, the Chairman of the Governing Board, and on behalf of the entire Committee, a remembrance in grateful appreciation for all that he had done for our Committee. At the same meeting Mr. Gent, by unanimous approval of the entire galvanizing industry, was made an Honorary Member of The Galvanizers Committee. These presentations were made at a special luncheon. (For complete text of presentations and remarks, see Proceedings, Volume 33, November 1955, pages 55-57.

FRANCES WRIGHT

At the joint meeting with the American Zinc Institute, held in St. Louis on April 14-15, 1958, The Galvanizers Committee was very pleased to honor Miss Frances Wright, American Zinc Institute Administrative Assistant, who, from the beginning of our Committee has performed invaluable services for the Committee in handling business, financial, and organizational activities. A beautiful illuminated scroll was presented to Miss Wright at the joint session by F. G. White, on behalf of the entire Committee. (For citation see Proceedings, Volume 38, April 14-15, 1958, pages 21-22.)

JOHN L. KIMBERLEY

On the retirement of Mr. Gent, a man was very carefully chosen by Mr. Gent and the Institute to take his place--John L. Kimberley. Mr. Kimberley, through his knowledge of our problems, his interest, and his untiring efforts in behalf of our Committee has taken over where Mr. Gent left off, and has been instrumental in building this Committee better year by year. Arrangements for our meetings become more difficult and more complicated each year, but Mr. Kimberley, with Miss Wright and the AZI staff, have handled all these arrangements for our meetings in an admirable way. They have continued to cement a closer friendship between the Zinc Institute and the steel industry.

In recognition of his services to our Committee, John L. Kimberley, by unanimous choice, was presented The Galvanizers Committee Annual Award, at our joint meeting in Chicago on May 1, 1963.

* * * * *

The purposes of our organization are well stated in our Constitution, as follows: "This Committee is organized to permit executive, operating and technical men to meet and discuss general galvanizing problems in order to advance the quality of galvanized products and thereby increase the public acceptance of such products.

At first our meetings were for representatives of member companies only. When possible, plant visits have always been arranged at all meetings. Later, the scope was extended to include suppliers, technical groups, research organizations, etc. at our meetings, and at least one general session is usually devoted to papers presented by such personnel. Other sessions are operating and technical meetings for employees of member companies and the American Zinc Institute staff.

The stature of our Committee soon grew to the point where so many outsiders were eager to appear on our programs that it was sometimes necessary to make a choice of papers. This has always made for very high quality programs. The original purpose of the Committee was to so balance our programs that they would be of the greatest value to the galvanizing operators. Therefore, technical was carefully intermixed with the practical, always trying to balance slightly in favor of the practical. This, I believe, has been one of the real reasons for the success of our Committee, and this format should always be followed.

No one will question that the development of galvanizing, with particular reference to sheet galvanizing, has been phenomenal in the last quarter century. And I think no one will disagree that development in sheet and strip galvanizing during that period has proceeded at a much faster pace than the general development in any other segment of the steel industry. The Galvanizers Committee can rightfully claim much of the credit for this development. I believe the original goals of the founders of this Committee have been well realized. It was hoped that Operational, Technical, and Executive galvanizing men could get together, become friendly, interchange their ideas on operating problems and experiences, become more cooperative with the producers of the zinc metal they were using, more fully realize the opportunities for galvanized products if properly produced, and, in a most friendly, but highly competitive spirit, strive to improve the quality of galvanized products and develop galvanized markets. These things have all been rather well accomplished, and the galvanizing industry has advanced rapidly. As a matter of fact, to some of us who have been with the Committee since its inception, it might almost be said that the Committee has been so important that it II rescued' the galvanizing industry from the unfavorable position of declining acceptability of product which was fast developing at the time the Committee was formed.

The Committee is most grateful to the American Zinc Institute for sponsoring this Committee, and we appreciate the work of the Executive Vice Presidents and their staffs. We believe the Committee has been successful for at least three reasons. In the first place, any committee can only be as successful as the staff who actually runs it from behind the scenes, and we have been favored by the assistance of the finest of staffs.

In the second place, the Committee has been successful because it has proved its worth by the many accomplishments which have been made in the industry. A committee must be successful to justify its existence over so long a period of time, and what better proof of its success could be had than that all the steel- and zinc-producing companies express a great interest in the workings of the Committee and encourage it. And, thirdly, our success has come from making this a working committee which would have programs of interest to Executive, Operational, and Technical personnel from both groups, and maintaining the programming slightly toward the operational side, where a great deal of the advancements in galvanizing are born. This policy, we believe, should always be followed.

It seems quite apparent that the foundations of this Committee were so solidly laid, and the policies have been so well followed that it will continue to gain stature, and be more and more useful in the years to come.

1979 - Present -- Dale C. H. Nevison

John L. Kimberly remained the Secretary/Treasurer of the Galvanizers Committee until 1968 when Dave Pettigrew, the Secretary of the Zinc Institute took over the duties. John continued to support the Committee as he carried out the duties of the President of the Zinc Institute and Lead Industries Association. Dave acted as Secretary of the Committee until his retirement in 1974.  The Zinc Institute's Lewis Gage was Secretary until his retirement in 1979.  Dale Nevison was asked to be the Committee’s Secretary and has been ever since.  During Mr. Nevison’s tenure, the committee has changed in many ways.

Restrictions set by the bylaws limited membership of Active Members to basic steel producers that have galvanizing facilities and Associate Members to pipe Galvanizers. It was decided in 1985 to reclassify the membership of the Committee in the following way:

  1. “Any company engaged in the manufacture of in-line continuous galvanizing of iron or steel sheet or pipe may apply to become an ‘active member’ of this committee”

  2. “Any company which supplies to or services those companies involved in the manufacture of in-line continuous galvanizing of iron or steel sheet or pipe may apply to become an ‘associate member’ of this committee”

  3. In addition it was decided that any person designated by the Zinc Institute with written approval of the Governing Board shall serve as Secretary/Treasurer of this Committee.

In 1987, the Zinc Institute announced that it would be closing and would no longer be able to sponsor the Committee.  In response, a Governing Board meeting was called for December 3, 1987.

Those in attendance were:

  • Louis Allegra, for Norman Gagne of Bethlehem Steel
  • James Dittman, Granite City Div., National Steel
  • Roger Montgomery, Empire-Detroit Steel Div.
  • Gary VanAsperen, Inland Steel Company
  • William Perrine, Sharon Tube Co.
  • Raul Franco (by letter), Galvak S.A.
  • Donald MacDonald (by letter), Stelco, Inc.
  • Tom Nederpel (by letter), Dofasco, Inc.
  • Dale C. H. Nevison, Zinc Information Center Ltd.

Those gentleman voted unanimously to proceed to incorporate as a non-profit business league in the State of Michigan and change its name from the Galvanizers Committee to the Galvanizers Association.  New bylaws were written to reflect this change.

The Galvanizers Association continues to flourish over the years based upon the original principles set forth in 1936.  To have programs of interest to executive, technical and operational personnel who share an interest in the advancement of galvanized products when properly produced with the technologies available to the industry.  The association has grown considerably from 31 members in 1985 to over 145 members in 2016, representing companies with locations in: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Columbia, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.