FIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners Announced
The Forging Industry Association (FIA) Board of Directors has developed a new award program to recognize forging industry veterans who have contributed greatly to both the forging industry at large as well as the association itself. The 2021 FIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners were announced during the FIA Annual Meeting of Members at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, WI.
The 2021 FIA Lifetime Achievement Award Winners are:
Algirdas A. Underys
Al graduated from IIT in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and went to work at A. Finkl & Sons Co., now doing business as Finkl Steel, for his entire 42-year career. He was hired as a project engineer with main responsibilities in energy conservation. Being a small engineering group, he was assigned to a variety of tasks as the need arose. He served as Director of Engineering from 1988 to 1994, VAR Superintendent from 1989 to 2002, Director of Technology and Development from 1992 to 2002. In that role, he was in charge of metallurgy, quality, product development, and process development. He created and patented many alloys and processes – he has 20 United States patents and over a hundred international patents based on U.S. patents.
In 2007, Al joined the project team tasked with building the new Finkl Steel south-side facility. His initial tasks were focused on environmental issues and the NPDES construction permit application for the new facility. The permit was obtained for production levels that would leave future generations of Finkl Steel employees unhampered by limits to future expansion. In 2015, Al was named Technical Director and then in 2018 Vice President, Technical for the entire Finkl Steel Group which included the Composite, Sorel, and Houston facilities until his retirement.
Al has served on The FIA Plant Engineering committee from 1980 to 1986, and on the Technical Committee from 1993 to 2019. Al was on the FIERF Board of Trustees from 2013 to 2016 and served as the President of the FIERF Board from2015 to 2016. Al continues to represent the FIA on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 86Oven and Furnaces Committee since 1988 and served as the committee’s chairman for a ten-year term from 1996 to 2006. Al has also served on the Forging Defense Manufacturing Consortium (FDMC) Technical Advisory Committee (2001 - 2019) and the FDMC Board from 2013 to 2019 and as its chairman from 2018 to 2019.
Willard Walker, Sr.
Bill Walker is the Chairman of Walker Forge, Inc., a leader in the manufacture of custom-engineered steel forgings for the energy, transportation, agriculture, rail, military and construction markets.
Bill graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics in 1955. Prior to joining Walker Forge, Bill worked in Cleveland and New York selling Underwood typewriters from 1955 to 1957.
Bill joined Walker Forge in 1957 and worked in several departments before sales became his primary responsibility. In 1967, Bill became president of Walker Forge, succeeding his father Gordon, who was a founding member of FIERF. Bill later served as a director and president of FIERF.
During Bill’s tenure as President of Walker Forge, the company evolved from a supplier of hammer forgings from its Racine, Wisconsin facility and became a supplier of mechanical press forgings from its greenfield Clintonville, Wisconsin facility.
In 1978, Bill was elected president of FIA. During his term of office, FIA expanded membership to both suppliers and open die and rolled ring companies. In addition to Bill, three other FIA presidents have come from Walker Forge: Gordon Walker (1958), John Nowak (1996) and Will Walker (2018).
During Bill’s lifetime in the forging industry, he has witnessed many changes. They include a significant reduction in the number of forging companies in the US, a movement from hammers to mechanical and hydraulic presses, the use of induction heat, the development of superior die-making equipment, and the use of robotics.
Bill has been married for sixty-one years to Mary, and they have four children: Sara, Will, Alison, and Molly.
Congratulations to this year’s honorees. The FIA Lifetime Achievement Awards will continue to be presented annually at the FIA Annual Meeting of Members.
FIA Lifetime Achievement Award Criteria:
The FIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes and promotes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Forging Industry.
- Must be employed by or previously employed by an FIA Member Company
- Must be nominated by someone currently working in the Forging Industry
- Must have a minimum of 15 years Forging Industry related experience
- Must have participated in at least (1) FIA Committee
Interested in nominating someone for the award? Please contact Jim Warren at email@example.com.