Dwight "Chico" Collier
"When I came to work here, we didn't have all this automation," Collier says. "It was rough. They would run out of here as fast as they'd come in."
Dwight "Chico" Collier came to work at Lodge as a young man in 1973 after a very brief job at a funeral home. "When I came to work here, we didn't have all this automation," Collier says. "It was rough. They would run out of here as fast as they'd come in." Collier has worked in numerous positions over the years, including changing weights and bands, on shakeout and pouring iron.
When he first started at Lodge, the foundry was housed in a wooden building dating to 1910. In the late 1970s, the company decided to build a new, metal one and paid Lodge employees to do it. "We built the new building on top of it then came back and tore the old building out from under it," Collier recalls. "Just as soon as the shift shut down, we'd start in on the building and work until 8 or 9 o'clock at night."
Chico also remembers a lot of practical jokes happening around the foundry back when he was first hired. "They sent me out for the cupola key," he says. "But there's no such thing as a cupola key. To the new guys, they'd always say, 'Hey, how 'bout going back to the stock room and getting us a cupola key.' And you don't know any better, so you go back there and say hey, I need to get the cupola key and they all start laughing at you. Oh, they were always pulling pranks."
Collier now works on utility in the packing department, working on tape machines, glue machines, the hammonds and the seasoning line, among other things. "This place has come a long way," he says. "Right now, it's a gravy train. These boys have got it made." Chico's son started working at Lodge last year.
Thanks, Chico for all your hard work over the past 40 years!
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