Wauconda, Illinois – The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) presented awards to four individuals recognizing their contributions to the Council during the Volunteer Recognition Banquet at the AEC Annual Meeting held in San Antonio, Texas on March 19, 2016.
Each year, the Aluminum Extruders Council recognizes one or more individuals for their outstanding service and achievements as an AEC volunteer. Lewie Smith, President of Jordan Aluminum Extrusions in Memphis, Tennessee, was awarded the first of two AEC Volunteer of the Year Awards presented. “Although relatively new to the Council, he has shown great dedication,” said AEC Chairman Martin Bidwell, President and CEO of Magnode Corporation in Trenton, Ohio. Smith is engaged in the Council and makes sure that he and his company participates at a variety of levels, understanding that participation is the key to success in the Council.
Bill Rogers, Director of Metallurgy and Process Technology for Alcoa’s worldwide operations, was presented with the second Volunteer of the Year Award. Rogers serves on the AEC Education Strategy Team, the Industry Standards Team and the Business Excellence Steering Committee. He also has served on the ET Seminar Committee for many years as the Management Issues Track Chair.
Rogers was instrumental in developing the new Process Optimization Workshop Program, along with other volunteers including ET Seminar Committee Chairman and AEC past Chairman, Craig Werner, VP Extrusion Technology for Kaiser Aluminum. “Bill's technical and communications capabilities were core to AEC's ability to pull [the new Process Optimization Workshop] program together, and he volunteered tirelessly to help us create the ultimate program. Bill continues to show his passion for our industry and his incredibly broad and deep knowledge, which he brought to bear in more ways than we have time to recount.”
Duncan Crowdis, retired from Bonnell Aluminum Company in Newnan, Georgia, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award, the Council’s highest honor bestowed on an AEC member that has shown exceptional dedication and service. Crowdis was first elected to the AEC Board of Directors in 2006, and “his Board service has spanned 10 very eventful years,” said Bidwell. He served as Chairman of the Council from 2011 -2013, a very important time in the Council’s history when AEC officially took over defense of the China tariff trade case in the summer of 2011. “My father who is in now in his eighties and is one of the founding fathers of the AEC told me that the unfair trade activities from Chinese aluminum extruders is the single greatest threat that this industry has ever faced – and that’s going back nearly to the beginning of this industry,” Bidwell commented. “Duncan’s political acumen really shined through on the anti-dumping case, which led him into many of the complex workings of the U.S. Government. Since he is Canadian that was a real challenge, but he handled it beautifully as demonstrated by the success of the Fair Trade Committee.” Crowdis was also part of the leadership team in the Canadian extrusion industry’s tariff case as well, though their case was two years ahead of the U.S. case, enacting tariffs in 2009 and surviving their five-year expiry review in 2014.
It was during his tenure as Chairman that AEC launched its Industry Promotion and member webinar program that have proved so successful. “Even as Immediate Past Chairman from 2013 – 2015, Duncan was an indispensable member of the AEC leadership team. He retired from Bonnell Aluminum but continued to travel to AEC meetings and actively led a number of efforts, including Fair Trade and Academic Outreach,” Rand Baldwin, former AEC President said. “There is so much we can say about Duncan, but I should mention something that really sums up his contribution to the Council,” Baldwin continued. “Duncan was instrumental in AEC’s famous 2009 Strategic Plan that helped turn the Council from an old-fashioned networking society into a lean, mean fighting machine – one that has proved indispensable to the industry.”
After receiving the award, Crowdis commented, “Having worked in the aluminum extrusion business for over 40 years, I know what others who have received this award have done for this industry - iconic names like Schuler, the Werners, the Bidwells, obviously among others. It is humbling and an honor to be recognized alongside these individuals, who were among the founding fathers of our industry, who drove the early growth and success of our collective businesses and who left such an incredibly strong foundation on which the rest of us can continue to build.” He continued, “…two common characteristics stand out [among AEC’s Distinguished Service Award winners]– passion and doing what is right for the entire industry. These are individuals who, while clearly focused on the success of their own businesses, truly understood the saying that “a rising tide floats all ships” and worked tirelessly together to help grow the whole industry through the work of the Aluminum Extruders Council—work that could never be accomplished by the efforts of any one company. This is truly the power of the AEC and is why it serves an indispensable role in our industry's future success."
Although he is not a volunteer, the final award of the night went to AEC President Rand Baldwin, who is retiring. Duncan Crowdis said of Baldwin, “I have witnessed Rand’s love for our industry and his passionate drive to do what is right time and time again. Over this period Rand has presided over the creation of a completely new and active direction for the AEC, and he has always conducted his business in one of the most selfless manners I have experienced.” Crowdis went on to say, “Perhaps most of all, through the tumultuous period of the recession and the huge challenges presented by the massive surge of illegal Chinese imports in 2009 and 2010, Rand exhibited the characteristics of that ‘rock-in-the-storm-leader’ through an environment that would have sent lesser leaders running for cover.”
Bidwell said of Baldwin, “Rand truly became one of us, not just our association president. He has become friends with many of us, which says a lot about Rand, his leadership and involvement in the Council and this industry.”