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5/7/2021: Steel and copper wire makers are facing shortages of raw materials that have already resulted in higher prices and manufacturing slowdowns. Covid-19 shutdowns, growing demand, lack of investment, lack of discovery of new deposits, truck driver shortage, strikes, delays at U.S. ports of entry, and supply chain disruptions have all contributed to the problem. Shortages of basic materials such as steel, steel plate, copper and aluminum have affected many industries from computer chip makers to solar panels.

The shortages are affecting manufacturers worldwide who are struggling to find domestic and imported sources. In Europe, finished steel distributors are having difficulty finding steel supplies. In India, shortages have caused some steel metal wire makers to operate below capacity and may close down if lack of supplies persists. High-grade wire rods, the main raw material for wire production, is especially sought after.

Raw copper supplies have been in decline due to lower investment and mine development, notes Rob Haworth, a senior investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. As a consequence, the higher bidder determines who gets the available materials. Such competition among manufacturers means higher prices are passed on to the consumer. Copper prices rose 100% from March 2020 to April 2021. To counter the shortage, large copper companies are increasing investment. For example, the Chilean government is spending $2.5 billion to expand existing mines; the Australian mining company BHP is allocating $900 million to find new copper and oil deposits.

On the bright side, higher material costs usually convert to higher profit margins. Shortages and price increases are expected to continue into 2022.

May 7, 2021Obituaries

Tom Artinian has been named COO of the Performance Cable Systems and Materials Division of Hitachi Cable America Inc. (HCA), based in New Hampshire. He joined the company as executive vice president in 2020, and was a key contributor to the HCA executive team and a transformational leader. Prior to joining HCA, he served for two years as vice president of sales for Southwire Canada, and held key positions for 14 years at ECS Electrical Cable Supply Ltd., IEWC and EIS Inc. He holds a BBA degree in entrepreneurship/entrepreneurial studies from Johnson & Wales University. Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Hitachi Cable America, Inc., is part of Japan’s Hitachi, Ltd., a multinational conglomerate whose products include copper and fiber optic cables.

Judd Wire, Inc., announced that Atsushi Shinchi has been promoted to company president. He is a graduate of KEIO University in Tokyo, where he studied mechanical engineering, and in 1995 began his career with the electronic wire division of Sumitomo Electric Industries (SEI), which acquired Judd Wire in 1988. His domestic and international assignments were directed towards the growth and advancement of the division (SEIW) and its employees. His most recent role was general manager of SEIW’s manufacturing department. Based in Turners Falls, Massachusetts, USA, Judd Wire is a high technology wire company that specializes in the use of electron beam crosslinked thermosets for wire insulation.

Permanoid Ltd. reported multiple personnel news items. Oliver Hingston been appointed commercial director of Permanoid Ltd. He previously worked eight years for Clynder Cables Ltd. in Manchester, U.K., where he started out as a purchasing assistant and became managing director. He replaced Wayne Butler, who retired after working for the company for 34 years. Gary Taylor has been appointed technical manager. He has worked for Permanoid for almost twenty years, first as purchasing manager and latterly as operations manager. He had previously worked for BICC Cables as a process engineer in both the UK and North America. He has extensive knowledge of cable design, manufacturing processes and materials. David Clarke has been appointed operations manager. He was previously the technical manager, and prior to that, served as quality manager, where he had extensive experience in cable making. Based in Manchester, U.K., Permanoid Ltd. manufacturers a wide range of electrical wire and cables.

TiniFiber® has named Dion King as a strategic accounts representative for the South East Region. The RCDD-certified electrical engineer worked for more than 18 years with Corning in positions that included global commercial training manager with Corning’s Telecommunications Business Group. He previously worked as a communication systems engineer with Mayer Electric Supply Co., Inc. He holds a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from Georgia State University. Based in Farmingdale, New York, USA, TiniFiber is a leading manufacturer of innovative, micro armored patented fiber optic cable solutions for diverse industry applications.

LLFlex has hired John Kay III as COO. He previously was president of The Morven Group, which provides operational support for manufacturing and distribution companies. Prior to that, he spent seven years as executive vice president of manufacturing and distribution for HVHC; and three years as vice president of operations for a division of Catalent Pharma Solutions. Earlier in his career, he was business unit project manager and plant manager, consumer packaging for Alcoa/Reynolds Metals. He holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and an MBA in Operations Management & Finance from Carnegie Mellon University. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, LLFlex’s product lines include cable armor, wraps and tapes.

Troester GmbH & Co. KG announced that Thomas Holzer has joined the company’s management board. In addition to Managing Partner and CEO Peter Schmidt and COO Bernd Pielsticker, he will share the management responsibility for engineering and sales in the future. He has comprehensive knowledge in the sale, engineering and project management of special machines, as well as proven management and leadership experience. He held management positions at the paper division of Voith, a German technology company, where he held management positions in Germany, Indonesia, Austria, and China. He was responsible for global projects as well as the service and spare parts business for many years. He studied process engineering in Munich, then business management in Reutlingen and in Michigan in the U.S. Based in Hannover, Germany, Troester GmbH & Co. KG’s product lines include systems for producing cores and jackets, rubber lines, rubber cables and CV systems for medium- and high-voltage cables.

Glen Clark has joined Service Wire Co. as a regional sales manager based at the corporate headquarters, where he will serve commercial and industrial distributors, contractors and engineers while working with manufacturers’ representatives in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Tony Holderby, the regional sales manager for the company’s wire and cable electrical distribution markets in 12 states, will now add Michigan to his territory. He has more than 25 years of experience with Service Wire, working in all areas of the company from distribution to sales and logistics. Also, Rodney Smith, who is now serving the wire and cable electrical distribution markets of Kentucky and Tennessee, will also be responsible for serving the commercial and industrial markets of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. He has more than 20 years of sales and management experience. Based in Culloden, West Virginia, USA, Service Wire Co. has three manufacturing and distribution facilities across the country.

After a career of more than 45 years, Harry Prunk has retired from the management board of Germany’s Sikora, where he was lauded for his key role in shaping the development of the company and success of its brand. He started with the company immediately after finishing his studies in electronics, and 11 years later, he was appointed managing director of Sikora. In 1981 he founded the first subsidiary, Sikora International Corp. in California, USA. Since transforming the company into Sikora AG in 2002, Prunk has been a member of the Management Board, which he chaired from 2011 to 2015, responsible for the sales, marketing and service. He was particularly involved in the internationalization of Sikora, which today has 14 subsidiaries and 300 employees. He plans to remain active in the industry.

May 7, 2021Obituaries

Peter Maddin Power, a retired steel industry veteran who lived in Beaumont, Texas, died Feb. 3, 2021 at age 89. The Canadian native earned a B.S. degree from King’s College in Halifax and an engineering degree in metallurgy at Nova Scotia Technical College. In 1955, he worked for DOSCO Steel and was transferred to Toronto, Ontario in 1962. He later worked for Tree Island Steel in British Columbia. In 1970, he moved to Georgetown, South Carolina, to manage Andrews Wire Mill. His last stop was Beaumont, Texas, where he was superintendent of quality control at Georgetown Texas Steel, North Star Steel and Gerdau Ameristeel, where he worked for the remainder of his career. A WAI Life member, he retired in 2004 at age 73, and remained as a consultant with Gerdau Ameristeel until 2020.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Hazel Power; two daughters, Katherine Wilhelm and Shena Power; two sons, Sean Power and Conor Power; and six grandchildren.

Sebastian “Sam” Pascarelle, who worked for the Wire Association for more than two decades, died Thursday, March 18, 2021 at the Connecticut Hospice, Branford, at age 84. Pascarelle worked for the Association for over 20 years during the 1970s and 1980s until his retirement. As the Association’s convention planner, he was responsible for working with the companies that exhibited at the WAI’s trade shows, or who held seminars both within the United States and at international locations. His name and face were well known to anyone who needed help on the convention floor. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jacqueline Russo Pascarelle; a daughter, Sharon Pessin Aharon; a son, Sebastian Pascarelle, Jr.; a sister, Concetta Piscitelli; and five grandchildren.

Madison, Connecticut, USA – May 6, 2021 – The WAI’s Midwest Chapter grudgingly officially cancelled its annual golf tournament, but three other chapter tournaments are still scheduled to be held, all in September.

“We would have loved to hold the golf tourney, but the June timing was too much of a challenge,” said Kevin Sopczak, who has had a key role in organizing the Midwest Chapter’s golf tournament. He noted that the board agreed, for the second year in a row, that the event would not be held because of Covid-19, a very disappointing outcome. “We know that business is the priority, and we didn’t want golf to be a distraction as restrictions are being removed.”

For now, the news to focus on is that the three chapters that have scheduled tournaments are optimistic that the events will be held.

Up first, on Tuesday, Sept. 14, will be the New England Chapter Annual Golf Outing, to be held at the Tumble Brook Country Club in Bloomfield, Connecticut. For more details, contact: Shannon Timme, tel. 203-453-2777, ext. 126, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Next up, on Thursday, Sept. 16, will be the 2021: Ohio Valley Chapter Annual Golf Outing, to be held at the Kennsington Golf Club in Canfield, Ohio. For more details, contact: WAI’s Rex Tran, 203-453-2777, ext. 116, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The final event, on Thursday, Sept. 23, will be the Southeast Chapter Vannais Golf Outing at the Rock Barn Country Club in Conover, North Carolina. For more details, contact: WAI’s Rex Tran, 203-453-2777, ext. 116, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

At this point in a golf preview, all the details would have been finalized long ago, but in the current climate that is not the case. Golf courses are still evolving how they will handle group events, especially those that would traditionally include an indoor dinner, as well as what the cost would be. Those details are being discussed, and will be presented in future issues.

One other element that needs to be addressed is that each of the golf tournaments depend on sponsors to defray the costs for golfers, while the New England and Southeast chapters also use such funds to support their college scholarship programs. Companies that would like to support those efforts while getting recognition, are encouraged to become a sponsor. Multiple levels are available. For more details, contact: WAI’s Rex Tran, 203-453-2777, ext. 116, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Madison, Connecticut, USA – May 5, 2021 – WAI completed its second virtual presentation of the Association’s Fundamentals of Wire Manufacturing (Fundamentals) course, with the courses presented over seven consecutive Wednesdays from March 17 to April 28 drawing a collective 165 attendees.

“The continued strong participation shows the industry need for sound, basic information,” said WAI Executive Director Steve Fetteroll, who observed that the virtual format has also proven to be a good fit for the industry. “While in-person programs presented at Wire Expo or Interwire are ideal, staging them on-line has allowed more companies to allow their employees to participate for a very affordable cost. We will continue to offer Fundamentals at our trade shows, including Interwire 2021, but the virtual version has evolved from an emergency replacement to a full-fledged program that we are proud to offer.”

The presentations included: mechanics of wiredrawing, Matt Reinoehl, SDI LaFarga COPPERWORKS; drawing dies, Tom Maxwell, Jr., Die Quip; wiredrawing lubricant properties, David Gzesh, Blachford Corporation; wire breaks and surface damage, Dr. Horace Pops, Horace Pops Consulting; fundamentals of ferrous metallurgy, Anand Bhagwat, Minova USA Inc.; stranding and cabling, Kevin Dancy, Roteq Machinery Inc.; extrusion, Erik Macs, Wire & Plastic Machinery Corp.; cleaning and coating of rod and wire, Zach McAfee and Chris Porada, Chemetall North America; ferrous testing and properties, Richard Gordon, C. Richard Gordon Consulting LLC; fundamentals of electrical testing, Casey Spradlin and Erika Akins, Southwire Company, LLC; marking and printing, Mark Spencer, W. Gillies Technologies LLC; ferrous heat treatment, Richard Gordon; manufacturing problem solving, Stacy Martin, Prysmian Group; and an Operations Panel, Jan Sørige, Enkotec; Tom Heberling, Southwire; and Jim York, Insteel Industries, Inc.

The first virtual Fundamentals program, which replaced the program that could not be held when Wire Expo was canceled due to Covid-19, was held over seven consecutive Wednesdays from Sept. 16 to Oct. 28, 2020. The program, which saw two sessions each week that were each 70 minutes long (up from 45 minutes), drew a total of 199 attendees from 28 countries. The format received very positive reviews.

Virtual formatting quickly became a WAI focus due to Covid-19. WAI presented Streamcast on July 15, 2020.The online presentation of 12 industry speakers saw more than 250 individual attendees take part, setting a record for any WAI online event. On Nov. 11, 2020, WAI held a trifecta virtual event that included the Association’s annual clockwinding ceremony, its annual meeting and the 2020 Mordica Lecture by Dr. Gil Baker. A separate three-part webinar series by Dr. Horace Pops in January/February saw all 500 available slots filled before the first one was held.