FIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

Jun 28th, 2022 | By FIA Staff

The FIA Lifetime Achievement Awards were announced on April 21, 2022 at the FIA Annual Meeting of Members.

The FIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Forging Industry Association and the forging industry as a whole. Nominees must be employed by or previously employed by an FIA Member Company; nominated by someone currently working in the forging industry; and have a minimum of 15 years forging industry related experience. Award winners are selected annually by the FIA Board of Directors. For more information or to submit a nominee, please contact Angela Gibian at angela@forging.org.

Robert Barensfeld
Robert Barensfeld enthusiastically served the open die forging industry with imagination, hard work and collegiality. He started work at Ellwood City Forge in 1950 as a Brinell inspector and retired as Chairman of the Board of Ellwood Group, Inc. in 2018. He was Chairman Emeritus at his death at age 96 in August, 2021.

Bob was known by his employees for his fairness, openness, and curiosity to learn and improve. In the 1960’s Bob spearheaded the conversion of Ellwood City Forge from a steam hammer shop to an oil hydraulic-powered press shop. He enthusiastically shared ECF’s new hydraulic press technology with open die competitors, notably with his friend, Pete Georgeson, of Scot Forge. He was also a champion of new machine tool technology. His business success as president of Ellwood City Forge provided the financial foundation for ECF’s construction of Ellwood Quality Steels in 1985.

Bob’s philosophy of openness inside the open die industry was exemplified by Ellwood Quality Steels’ marketing philosophy. ECF’s initial impetus to build EQS was to obtain a higher quality, more competitive source of raw material ingot at a time when many steel mill ingot suppliers were retrenching or closing, but EQS adopted from its start a philosophy of selling ingot to all comers, including ECF’s toughest competitors, at competitive, fair prices.

Bob Barensfeld’s investment horizon was always infinite, unlike the quarter-to-quarter accounting mentality of Wall Street. He championed ELLWOOD’s long term perspective as a family-owned, family-managed company that offers career-long employment to its employees. He mentored his son, David, to continue in his footsteps at ELLWOOD. Bob led ELLWOOD to join the Forging Industry Association and with his wife, Jan, was an enthusiastic participant at FIA meetings. He was a strong believer in the power of collective action and idea exchange among forgers through the FIA.

Pete Georgeson
Pete was a leader at Scot Forge and in the forging industry for more than 67 years. With a life as long as Pete’s and a heart as generous as his, it’s no doubt his life was going to touch many people, and it certainly did.

In the late 1800’s, Pete’s four uncles came to the United States from the Shetland Islands in Scotland looking for a better future for their families. After serving in the Navy, going to Purdue University and trying out his hand as a service center salesman, Pete joined the family company in 1954. It was during that time that Pete used his skills as an engineer to conceive the first 8,000-pound hammer that still stands proudly at Scot Forge in the Franklin Park, Illinois plant.

Many years later, as Pete planned his transition for retirement, he wanted to find a way to reward those who helped him grow the business, and so he chose the ESOP model. With Pete’s strong belief that the strength of the company was its people, he started a thoughtful, generous and orderly sale of the company over the course of 19 years, beginning in 1978 and concluding in 1997 when the company became 100% employee-owned.

This methodical transformation included a name change for the company from Atlas Forging Co. to Scot Forge in honor of his Scottish Heritage and created a new beginning that has provided for many generations since and many generations to come.

Pete’s values still echo through Scot Forge today. One of Pete’s favorite sayings was, “If you can put a team together you can accomplish anything.” He believed great people can do great things if they have trust as their foundation.

Iron sharpens iron as the saying goes. We all benefit when working around people we admire and can be inspired by, be challenged by, be shaped by. Pete certainly did that for not only the employee-owners of Scot Forge but for many others within the forging industry and anyone who was blessed to work with him.

David Moxlow
David Moxlow has worked in the forging industry for over 50 years, beginning his career when he was just ten years old and his father had him tying the rebar in the newly built shop foundation in 1967. Since the company's beginning, Trenton Forging has been an innovative leader in the forging industry due to our expert services and high-quality forgings. David has been the main driver of that, taking the company from $600,000 a year in sales to the $26 million it reached last year. His passion for the business, the industry, and his employees is unmatched. This is evident through his continued investment into the equipment and team members year after year, from investments in better benefits and training opportunities to upgrading to the latest technology to a major expansion and addition of a fully automated forging press line.

While David has led an amazing career at TFC, he has also been a steady presence and quiet leader for the entire industry. When TFC started its transformational leadership journey with an eye on improving our culture, David asked that blog posts meant for our employees were shared on our website so that the entire forging industry could benefit. Was this a risk, broadcasting culture secrets to their competitors? Absolutely. But David believes that a rising tide lifts all boats. Additionally, David has supported the FIA by hosting many plant tours for members and affiliates, sponsoring FIA events, donating year after year to FIERF scholarship funds, and providing his team members time and support to serve on committees and attend educational and networking opportunities. He also supports the local manufacturing pipeline by partnering with schools to provide education about manufacturing careers as well as sponsoring the local robotics team. Lastly, David has been a long-time advocate for manufacturing in the United States and in Michigan via participating in Lobby Day, educating customers and potential customers about the value of reshoring, and ensuring that Trenton Forging is part of the solution, not the problem.