Light metals heavyweight
When Nate Davis entered the aluminum production facility in his hometown of Salisbury, North Carolina at just 17 years old, he didn’t know it would be the start of a lifetime of learning about the exact science of quality control in the light metals industry.
“I was hired on the spot straight out of high school in 1973 at the number one employer in town. That’s how it all began for me,” says Nate Davis explaining the start of his 46-year career in the aluminium industry.
“My brothers worked for Southern Railway, but I came to the aluminium rolling mill. I got a decent salary that I could raise a family with,” he remembers.
It was a very small operation from the start, with between 50 and 60 employees.
“The first plant I worked at became the Salisbury rolling mill. Six months after I had been working here, I was laid off for 10 months. It was a good lesson. I realized that I needed to have other ways to earn a living in order to support my family”, Davis says. “I started a commercial cleaning company, in addition to the job at the aluminium mill”.
Davis ran the commercial cleaning company for 24 years, working two jobs while his wife Marlene completed her university degree.
“My wife graduated cum laude with a degree in Business Administration,” he says proudly.
Fast forward to 2019, and Davis is a walking encyclopedia of the industry that has formed his professional career. He has seen the shift from small-scale labor-intensive processes to increased production volumes, with new skillsets required of employees and the move to automation.
“This plant has had 9 different owners since I’ve worked here,” he says. “We’ve never closed the plant completely, and the changes have been positive with each new owner. The plant has also grown, with 199 full time employees today,” he notes. In the early days the company made battery foil for Duracell batteries.