Aluminum Extruders Council Recognizes Two Volunteers for Outstanding Contributions


(March 24, 2015; Wauconda, Illinois) - The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) presented awards to two outstanding individuals during the Volunteer Recognition Banquet on March 7, 2015 at the AEC Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference held in Palm Desert, Calif.

AEC presented Tom Schabel, CEO of Alexandria Industries in Alexandria, Minn., with the Council's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. The award goes exclusively to an AEC member who has shown exceptional dedication and service. Schabel was a member of the AEC Board of Directors since 2005 and Chairman of the Council from 2009-2010.

"Alexandria Industries has been a member of the Council for decades and has evolved to become an enterprise that many in this industry would agree provides an excellent example of how to develop a culture of excellence, teamwork, and giving back. In fact, his company has provided many outstanding volunteers; you'll find a lot of [AEC] award winners among them. But the guy at the top has never won an award, and [finally we can] change that," said AEC Chairman Rick Merluzzi, CEO of Pennex Aluminum Company in Wellsville, Penn.

AEC President, Rand Baldwin, said of Schabel, "Tom was chairman when the coalition [of aluminum extruders] organized by AEC brought and won the Fair Trade case [resulting in the industry-leveling tariffs on Chinese aluminum extrusion imports]. But, even more than that, Tom was in charge when AEC re-invented itself ... going from being a nice, traditional organization to one that was aggressive, nimble and, most importantly, relevant."

On a personal note, Schabel's wife Kristi summed up his character well. "He is an ambitious, get-after-it kind of guy with incredible vision. He persists through trying situations with patience and character. He is a team player and he doesn't seek personal gain."

After receiving the award, Schabel summed up his thoughts by saying, "What an honor to be recognized by your peers. It has been a great pleasure to serve on the board of the AEC, an organization that is so indispensable to our industry."

Also during the awards ceremony, Jerome Fourmann, technical manager for Rio Tinto Alcan North American Primary Products in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, received the Volunteer of the Year Award for outstanding service and achievements as an AEC volunteer. Fourmann is a incredibly active member of the Council and is a member of the AEC Business Excellence Steering Committee, the Webinars Team, the Academic Outreach Team, and a member of the organizing team for the very successful Process Optimization Workshop held last November. He is also involved in the ET Seminar Committee, acting as Track Chair for the Extrusion/Die Practical Track for the ET' 16.

Jim Dickson, commercial director, North America Ingot Sales for Rio Tinto Alcan, explained that Fourmann "has a passion for the aluminum industry itself. He devotes considerable time and energy working on committees and supporting industry members to ensure that the aluminum extrusion industry is represented in the most favorable light and that all opportunities for extrusions are captured."

Past AEC and ET Seminar Committee Chairman Bob Peacock provided an extruder's perspective of Fourmann. "Jerome had big shoes to fill when he took over the Customer Technical Assistance [at Rio Tinto Alcan] when Ram Ramanan retired. Ram had done such a good job of taking technical information and putting it in a language that made it easy for non-technical people to understand. However, Jerome has filled those shoes beautifully! He also can take extremely technical information and explain it in ways that press operators, QA personnel and sales people (and even company presidents) can understand. His involvement and talent for teaching is outstanding. Many from our team have learned a great deal from Jerome ... at [conferences] like ET, the RTA Technical Seminar and AEC workshops and webinars," said Peacock.

"Needless to say, I receive the Volunteer of the Year Award with deep humility," said Fourmann. "I'm extremely grateful to the Aluminum Extrusion Council. It is a high privilege and an incredible honor to be recognized alongside some of the key figures from the North American aluminum extrusion industry."

AEC Chairman Rick Merluzzi (right) with Volunteer of the Year Awards recipient, Jerome Fourmann of Rio Tinto Alcan.
  AEC Past Chairman Tom Schabel (right) receives the AEC Distinguished Service Award from AEC Chairman Rick Merluzzi.

About AEC: The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) is an international trade association dedicated to advancing the effective use of aluminum extrusion in North America. AEC is committed to bringing comprehensive information about extrusion's characteristics, applications, environmental benefits, design and technology to users, product designers, engineers and the academic community. Further, AEC is focused on enhancing the ability of its members to meet the emerging demands of the market through sharing knowledge and best practices.

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For more information please contact:

Nancy Molenda
Communications Manager
ET Foundation/AEC