For Ron Davis, it’s one less retirement, one to go.
Just over a week ago, Davis wished a safe trip to his 27-and-a-half-year career with AccuTrex Products, a manufacturer of seals, shims and other custom products. He started working there in January 1994, 10 months after the company became the first tenant to open a boutique in the new Southpointe business park. He left as a well-regarded inside sales manager.
Now he’s planning another departure. Within two months, Davis intends to step down as president of the Washington County Manufacturer’s Association, a position he held for 18 years with an organization he has belonged to since 1977. His original goal is the association’s annual golf tournament on September 9th.
âI told Steve McCarron, our vice president (and a Community Bank executive), that I was considering resigning,â Davis said. “They (the WCMA board of directors) probably thought that would never happen.”
He said the board is organizing a nominating committee to elect a successor.
âAfter the year has passed, with COVID and how things might change, I thought it was about time,â he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. âMy wife and I are healthy and want to enjoy life and travel a bit. “
In this family, apparently, retirement comes in pairs. Denise Davis retired a week earlier than her partner, after 32 years with the Social Security Administration in Washington. However, she has no second position to leave. They are natives of the county and current residents of the county.
WCMA is the county’s largest trade association, with 77 member companies or organizations located within its borders. The association was formed in 1972, with Dean Rogers elected as its first president. WT Todd, an executive at Fairmont Supply, succeeded him in this role from 1975 to 1992.
Davis, who joined the board in 1989, said the association “has changed a lot over time as the industry has changed.”
âIn the 1980s, there was a transition of Washington’s glass and steel industries and machine shops. We had to adjust a bit in the 90s due to changes in the industry and we have expanded to include more companies that support manufacturers. Banks, software companies and others have joined.
âWe really opened up our membership to stay viable. “
Davis said industries “are more high tech today and businesses need to keep up with” the rapid evolution of technology.
âThe businesses that stay healthy in Washington County are the ones that learn to adapt and reinvest in themselves,â he said.
Domestic manufacturing had declined in recent years, largely due to the offshoring of jobs, but has picked up in the past year despite the pandemic. Jobs have increased across the country, and particularly in Pennsylvania, according to a recent article on Military.com. He said Keystone state was sixth among states in manufacturing jobs, with 14,211, or about 500 behind Ohio, in fifth.
âI agree that manufacturing is on the rise again,â Davis said. âAs with everything, there are struggles. We are losing some businesses to technological change, and some are going through cycles. But we see businesses succeeding because management changes over time.
âA good example is AccuTrex. Management has constantly adapted to changes in the industry. In the early 1980s, the focus was on steel and mining. But we have adapted to full-service manufacturing. Now we service everything from coal mines to aerospace.
One of Davis’ hallmarks as WCMA president was the monthly industry tours he organized for members across the county. In recent years, they have presented tours to rose plastic, All-Clad, Channel Craft, and Allegheny Technologies Inc., and have included dinner at attractive locations. Tours generally attract large gatherings.
âI always want to learn something new about manufacturing, and the others too,â Davis said. âWe have a wide variety of different industries in Washington County. “
His âsecondâ job is unpaid, but it has been personally rewarding for Davis – and has provided benefits to WCMA members. That’s why he made a special effort to thank AccuTrex President and CEO Marty Beichner and his son, COO, Mark Beichner, “for allowing me to participate in (the WCMA). Marty and Mark have always been a great support.
They appreciate it in return.
âRon has been a great employer, mentor and friend,â said Mark. âHe was the one who trained me when I arrived here in 1999. He brought me a great wealth of knowledge on the job and was instrumental in the growth of our manufacturing division. He oversaw all quotes and order processing.
Davis’s duties as a supervisor have been formidable for a long time. Soon he will oversee the pursuit of a quieter lifestyle.