|Amron, A Division of AMTEC Corporation, celebrated its 45th anniversary in Antigo on Thursday.|
“Throughout its history, Amron has been dedicated to serving the United States Armed Forces and our allies,” Company President Doug Faragher said. “Amron is a critical member of the United States defense industrial base. In this regard, Amron produces precision metal ammunition components in brass, aluminum and steel. We have developed the staff expertise, production skills, facilities and equipment to meet the stringent specification standards required by our war fighters.”
The corporation, a linchpin on Amron Avenue since 1968, feted employees with lunch and a photo display, with special acclaim for its longest-serving employees.
They include Betty Behm, 44 years, setup B; Sue Novak, 44 years, purchasing manager; Mary Janssen, 44 years, general labor; Mary Theisen, 44 years, general labor; Terry Schmutzer, 45 years product coordinator; Dennis Elam, 40 years, setup A; Bill Walton, 41 years, shipping and receiving; John Chrudimsky 44 years, tooling and gauge coordinator; Bill Walrath, 41 years, product coordinator; and Betty Hetto, 41 years, process auditor,
According to Faragher, the company was founded in 1954 as Ritepoint, Inc. with a single goal — to produce quality ammunition metal components for the defense market. The name of the company was changed to Amron in 1958. The main plant was located in Waukesha and in 1968 a second plant was opened in Antigo.
During the height of the Cold War, Amron's total employment reached over 2,000 employees between its plant and corporate offices. In 1996, it was purchased by Pohlman, Inc. of St. Louis, a company specializing in machining.
As the Cold War wound down, ammunition requirements moved steadily downward, Faragher said, and it became increasingly apparent that there would not be enough business to maintain both plants.
In 1998, the decision was made to close the 300,000 square foot Waukesha facility and move two production lines to Antigo. The size of the Antigo facility was increased to 165,000 square feet and the move was made.
After the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, demand for Amron's products increased. On Jan. 30, 2006, AMTEC Corporation, a division of National Presto Industries acquired the assets of Amron LLC. The company was renamed to Amron, A Division of AMTEC Corporation. The size of the Antigo plant was increased to 179,000 square feet and has been expanded to 220,000 square feet since the acquisition.
“The employees of Amron understand and appreciate their responsibility to produce high quality ammunition components to support our military men and women,” Faragher said. “At Amron, the bargaining unit and management have a tradition of working together. We have seen the benefits of working and dealing with each other directly for over 50 years.”
Longtime Amron employees gathered for a photo on the plant’s 45th anniversary on Thursday. From left are (front row) Betty Behm, 44 years, setup B; Sue Novak, 44 years, purchasing manager; Mary Janssen, 44 years, general labor; Mary Theisen, 44 years, general labor; ( back row) Doug Faragher, company president; Terry Schmutzer, 45 years, product coordinator; Dennis Elam, 40 years, setup A; Bill Walton, 41 years, shipping and receiving; John Chrudimsky, 44 years, tooling and gauge coordinator; and John Ponasik, vice-president of operations. Missing are Bill Walrath, 41 years, product coordinator; and Betty Hetto, 41 years, process auditor.