Northampton Press

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Ronald F. Silfies

Mr. Ronald Silfies was born in Chapmans Quarry, graduating from Northampton High School and vo-tech in 1972.

He recalls, “I had good teachers at both schools; at tech, I completed the drafting blue print class.”

Ron was hired at Keystone in 1974 by manager Steve Hayden Sr. to work on the labor gang at a rate of $4.10 an hour. His grandfather and father were Keystone employees.

Always interested in electricity, he joined the electrical department.

“Both my supervisor Norman Clauser and Harold Newton shared their vast electrical knowledge with me,” he said. “When a new kiln was added many years ago, Mr. Clauser slept at the plant for two weeks until the job was complete.

“There have been tremendous changes in electrical equipment over the years. Large control cabinets have been replaced by computer-controlled systems. Various monitors aid in solving problems in a more rapid manner,” he said.

Today, Mr. Silfies works with a nine-member team supervised by Herb Heimbach. The members are all classified as electronic technicians.

Mr. Silfies said, “There is always a new adventure, new problems and challenges. Each work day is different. Our team works together and supports each other when problems arise.”

Presently, Ron works on environmental instrumentation. This requires exacting standards in order to pass all government regulations. He has climbed the tall plant stack on many occasions to check monitoring probes. Ron feels it’s easier to work on equipment at the new plant compared to the old facility.

Truly dedicated, he retired after 44-1/2 years of service on Aug. 31.

A friendly man with a positive attitude and pride, he said, “My time at the plant has gone fast. I am proud of the company and its work with the community — proud to be a cement worker.”

He served as union president for many years with the old United Cement Lime and Gypsum Workers. For 40 years, Ron has also owned Sparks Electric, serving many local customers. He is a member of Moore Township Lions Club.

He has been married to the former Lucille Dornbach for 42 years. They are proud of sons Eric, a Keystone employee, and Brian, a computer technician. They reside in Moore Township. We wish Mr. Silfies a healthy and happy retirement.