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Bye shares Dotson's story on first day of Congress

Brian Sandalow, Associate Editor

FORT WORTH, Texas – The keynote speech Jean Bye delivered Tuesday isn’t the kind of speech she ever wanted to deliver. It wasn’t about an innovation by her company or a successful new product launch, but told the story of how Dotson Iron Castings (Mankato, Minnesota) recovered from a disastrous fire.

“When they first asked me to tell it, one of the first things that went through my mind is ‘this is the kind of thing you’d like to forget, not keep retelling and reliving over and over again.’ I had to get past that and understand that it’s important for everyone to hear,” said Bye, the company’s president and CEO. “We went into it never thinking it could happen to us, so I think everyone needs to understand it can happen.”

In the early morning hours of Sept. 23, 2017, Dotson Iron Castings experienced a fire that destroyed its molding capabilities and shut down its operation. Bye, the incoming AFS president, detailed how the foundry was able to recover in time to pour a month later.

“We now realize how fragile, and how quickly things can change,” Bye said during the speech on the first day of the 122nd Metalcasting Congress.

Bye’s remarks didn’t fall on deaf ears. JB Brown, president of Bremen Castings Inc. (Bremen, Indiana), said Bye’s speech was a good reminder of the kind of contingency plans companies need to put in place, and that those plans need to stay current.

“Obviously it gives us all goosebumps because we all live that life,” Brown said.

Bye and Dotson Iron Castings have come out stronger since the disaster. Their communication with employees is in a better place, as is their relationship with the community.

And that’s the story Bye relayed Tuesday.

“Turning the disaster into a positive was our bottom line, through and through,” Bye said.

Looking Ahead

Later Tuesday night, John R. Keough and Dr. David Neff will receive Gold Medals at the Annual Banquet.

Keough, the proprietor of Joyworks LLC (Ann Arbor, Michigan) is getting the Thomas W. Pangborn Gold Medal for pioneering efforts in the advancement of the marketing of metal castings through the education of current and future customers.

Neff, retired from Metaullics Systems (Aurora, Colorado), will receive the John A. Penton Gold Medal for his technical contributions to the metalcasting industry especially in the areas of research, publications, presentations, and technical education.


- The show floor opens 9 a.m. Wednesday. The floor will also be open Thursday.

- Dan Oman of Haley & Aldrich will deliver the annual Hoyt Memorial Lecture “Changing Perceptions: The Need for an Unbalanced Force.” His speech is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.

The staff of Modern Casting will provide daily updates on the 122nd Metalcasting Congress. For full coverage, check out the May issue of the magazine.