Paul B. Belden III leaves Belden Brick to buy Grand
Rapids Builders Supply Company. He remains on the Belden
Brick Board of Directors. Burke Wentz reported that
Empire Coal is interested in the 330 acres adjacent
to the Port Washington Plant. Empire has a long-term
coal lease with Belden Brick.
By the end of 1981, the Port Washington Plant had ceased
production and Empire remains an active prospect to
purchase the plant and its property. Belden Brick agrees
to guarantee the redemption of Belden-Stark Brick Corporation
shares owned by Stark Ceramics. Belden-Stark of New
York agreed to pay semi-annual installments plus accrued
interest over a four-year period to complete the buyout.
On October 16th, 1981, the last brick was manufactured
at the Port Washington Plant.
In June 1982, a letter of intent was signed by Stebbins
Manufacturing to purchase the Urichsville Plant along
with the inventory and supplies at cost.
In early 1983, the sale of the Port Washington Plant
and its land (nearly 400 acres) is completed with Empire
Coal with an agreement allowing the Company to liquidate
5 million brick equivalent of inventory. At the Annual
Shareholders Meeting in April, it was reported that
1982 was the worst year for housing starts since the
1930’s. The Company shipped less than half the
volume it had shipped in 1977 at the peak of the construction
cycle. In July 1983, William H. Belden, Jr., son of
William H. Belden, Sr. was named President and Robert
F. Belden, son of Richard F. Belden, was named Vice-President
of Marketing. Paul B. Belden, Jr., remained Chairman
of the Board and William H. Belden, Sr., was named Chairman
of the Executive Committee. David Hartung was elected a member
of the Board of Directors of The Belden Brick Company and
remains a director of the company today.
Burke Wentz announces his retirement effective 12/31/84.
When he retired Mr. Wentz completed 59 years of service
to The Belden Brick Company, second only to Paul B.
Belden, Sr. William H. Belden, Sr., says “When
I think of The Belden Brick Company I think of Burke
Wentz.” Mr. Wentz, a Board member, nominates Larry
Myers to be the VP-Production responsible for all manufacturing
1985. Marks the 100th Anniversary
of The Belden Brick Company.
In April, Howard Finzer retires after 44 years of service.
Howard is the last remaining direct link to the Finzer
Brothers Clay Products Company whose purchase brought
Belden Brick to Sugarcreek in 1946. In December 1985,
The Belden-Stark Brick Corporation of New York makes
it final payment to Stark Ceramics making it a “wholly-owned
subsidiary” of The Belden Brick Company.
On the day of the Annual Shareholders Meeting in 1988
(April 27th) Paul B. Belden, Jr., passed away. William
H. Belden Sr., is elected to replace his brother as
Chairman of the Board. At the June meeting of the Board
of Directors, Joseph G. Belden was elected to take his
father’s board seat.
In mid-1989, the Company was studying the possibility
of building a new plant and Belden Brick Sales in Detroit
was looking for a new office site.
In 1991, Belcap is formed as a “wholly owned subsidiary”
of the Company to invest in IDI of Brimfield, Ohio.
IDI is in the waste management business. In July, Joseph
G. Belden is named president of IDI. In the fall of
the year, the Mayor of Sugarcreek prematurely announces
that a new production facility will be built by Belden
Brick in the village. This proves to be extremely premature
as only very preliminary work is underway. Belden Brick
Sales in Detroit completes the purchase of the Suburban
Brick Company in Fraser, Michigan, a Detroit suburb.
They begin to move their operation to Fraser and sell
the Livernois Avenue property in Detroit in May of 1992.
On September 1, 1992, Paul W. Hartung, Jr., retires
from the Company following 42 years of service. Burke
Wentz dies on October 16, 1992 in Columbus, Ohio. The
Company is actively seeking a buyer for its interest
In late 1992, Jim Klein joined the Belden Brick Company as Vice
President of Administrative Services and was chosen to lead the
company’s efforts to develop and implement our Quality Management System.
William H. Belden, Sr., dies on March 6, 1993. At the
Annual Meeting in April, William H. Belden, Jr., is
elected Chairman of the Board and his brother, Thomas
G. Belden, is nominated to replace their father on the
Board of Directors.
1995. Fourth Generation of Management.
The 1995 Annual Shareholders Meeting saw the election
of Robert F. Belden as President, D.E. Engelbach, VP-Finance
and CFO, and William H. Belden, Jr., as Chairman and
CEO. A new plant in Sugarcreek was still being considered
and plans were made to develop the Sugarcreek Industrial
Park on Belden land on the eastern border of the village
just north of Route 39. At the end of 1995, Bruce Strouse,
Corporate Secretary, announced his intention to retire
in early January of 1996. David L. Hartung was named
to succeed Bruce as Corporate Secretary and is still in that role today.
1996 is an important year in the history of The Belden
Brick Company. Dan Belden, Sr., the third son of Paul
B. Belden Sr. and legal counsel for the Company passed
away. Paul W. Hartung, III, a partner in Putman Properties,
is engaged to promote the Swiss Village Business Park
(formerly Sugarcreek Industrial Park). The Belden Brick
Company reaches agreement with Redland PLC to purchase
Redland’s American brick business, Redland Brick,
Inc. The transaction was completed on September 30,
1996 and included the Cushwa Plant in Williamport, Maryland,
the Harmar Plant near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the
KF Plant outside Hartford, Connecticut. Redland Brick,
Inc. is a “wholly owned subsidiary” of Belden
Brick and its management team is led by Jim Vinke. Late
in 1996, Richard F. Belden, Director of Purchasing,
retires after 55 years of service to the Company.
1997. Fifth Generation Joins
In 1997 at the Annual Meeting, Jim Vinke is introduced
to the Shareholders and Michael B. Belden is elected
to take his late father’s place on the Board of
Directors. Later that year, Jim Leahy joins the company
as a staff accountant and Brian Belden, son of William
H. Belden, Jr., joins the firm as Marketing Coordinator.
Brian is the first fifth-generation Belden to be employed
at the Company on a full-time basis. Proposals for a
potential new plant continue to be received. Most of
the major kiln manufacturers, Ceric, Swindell, Lingl
and Keller have made proposals.
1998 sees the contract for a new plant in Sugarcreek
(Plant 2), first announced by the Mayor seven years
earlier, awarded to Lingl, a German manufacturer. Hammond
Construction of Canton will be the General Contractor.
Plant 2 will be situated between Plants 4 & 8 in
Sugarcreek on currently owned Belden Brick property.
Jeff Adams is named IT Director for both Redland Brick
Inc. and The Belden Brick Company and becomes the first
employee to report to both companies simultaneously.