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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Alcoa and New York University

Finding a job was easy in the mid-fifties,
With an engineering degree and military service,
He received favorable responses from several companies,
Choosing to interview with Alcoa in Pittsburgh.

When he expressed preference to be located
Near N.Y.C., he was sent to the Edgewater, N.J., works,
To meet the head industrial engineer,
Who promptly hired him to start as soon as possible.

Separated in April, 1954, the family moved to Lodi, N.J.,
Renting a small apartment near the Curtiss-Wright plant.
The army thoughtfully shipped their possessions to them,
And they settled into a new, strange civilian mode of living.

The industrial engineering department was composed of
Graduates of many of the leading technical schools in the East.
The main task involved maintaining a bonus sytem wherein
Workers were compensated extra for exceeding production quotas.

This required time and motion studies of the type
Pioneered by Frederick Taylor and Mr. and Mrs. Gilbreth.
The work led directly to the calculation of product costs,
Which then formed the basis for pricing individual products.

The factory produced aluminum sheet and foil from ingots
And hundreds of castings and drop-forged pieces.
The employees were a diverse mixture of local residents
Good-natured, easy to get along with, in a strong union.

She was stuck in the apartment with no friends, while
He commuted daily to work; until joining a car pool
Gave her the freedom to explore the area while shopping,
And search for her prime objective -- a house of her own.

His department supervisor suggested that he look into
Graduate education in industrial engineering at New York University.
He enrolled in the evening program at University Heights,
Applying for the scholarships afforded veterans of the Korean War period.

Some of his classes were in industrial management, taught by
Prof. Alex Rathe at the Washington Square Campus.
His master's thesis was on the product costing system
Of Alcoa at the Edgewater Works, its advantages and weaknesses.

On weekends, they looked for houses, and decided upon
A newly constructed Cape Cod style home in Washington Township, N.J.
And, as if their lives were not busy enough, she
Produced the first daughter to add to the family of four.

They moved in to their new home in late 1955,
Doing much work of expansion and improvement.
The second floor was unfinished, and would require hiring
A building contractor when finances permitted.

They made friends quickly, including a young mother of five, who
Later found fame as the mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark.
They had already decided to leave the Roman Catholic Church
Before their older son would enter the first grade.

Received into the Anglican Communion in 1956, at
Grace Episcopal Churgh in Westwood, N.J., they began
A lifelong commitment to the words and worship of the
Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

He moved to the foil department as assistant manager,
Enjoying the interaction with employees and the routine of factory life.
But further promotion would require moving elsewhere in Alcoa
As the Edgewater Works was scheduled to be closed in a few years.

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