What is in this article?:
Looking back over the lives and careers of the influential metalcasting leaders that make up the FM&T Hall of Honor, one runs into a lot of old-fashioned and retired notions. Notions such as the benefits of hard work, company loyalty and above all an enduring dedication to quality production.
Year after year, stories of these inductees teach the lessons of how traits like these have helped innovate the industry and inspire new generations of foundry workers to carry the torch of this age-old field.
Every new inductee to this exclusive club, however, marks another leader, another innovator, another master of the craft who has left the industry behind after a long, inspiring career. As these men leave and the generation of workers they influenced age closer to retirement, the foundry is facing a pending crisis: the newest generation of workers is entering the rebounding industry without the benefit of these leaders or their old fashioned notions to guide them.
Luckily, though, this new generation has Robert Smillie.
With his 35 years at Ford Motor Co. and eight more at Nemak Corp. of Canada, Smillie is every bit the industry leader this Hall of Honor was designed to celebrate. However Smillie has not quite left the industry yet, and he is not likely to in the near future.
Since leaving Nemak in 2008, Bob Smillie has dedicated himself to giving back to his industry by putting his 42 years of experience to use teaching new generations of foundry workers how to pick up where his generation left off.
"When I started in the foundry, I was thrown in with the wolves," Smillie recalls. "What really helped me was that I had some great mentors that befriended me and were able to help me learn how to make castings at a very early age. What I'm doing at this point of my life and my career is spending tremendous amount of my time with students, particularly Foundry Education Foundation students to give back some of the knowledge I received as a student."