Brick Company History

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Brick Company History: 2005 - Present

Prep work on the new plant is scheduled to begin soon. Jeff Schrock is named Superintendent for Plant 2 and Bill Swinderman, Jr. will replace Jeff as Superintendent at Plant 4. Plant 2 will manufacture brick seven days a week, operating 10 hours per day. Their schedule is a total departure from the 5 day per week schedule observed at all other Belden facilities.

During 1999, as work progresses on the construction of Plant 2, Redland Brick Inc. begins to study the feasibility of a new plant at the Harmar site. By year’s end, Plant 2 is on schedule to start production the end of the first quarter of 2000 and the Board of Directors approves the authorization by Redland Brick’s board to construct a new plant at the Harmar location outside of Pittsburgh. Boral Bricks offers to sell its Rocky Ridge (Maryland) plant to Redland Brick Inc. Belden Brick Sales & Service Inc. (formerly Belden-Stark Brick Company of New York) is authorized by the Board to acquire the assets of the Atlantic Brick Corporation of Saddle Brook, New Jersey.

During the year 2000, Redland Brick Inc. acquired the Rocky Ridge (Md) plant from Boral Bricks and the new Harmar plant was approved with a capacity of 60 million brick equivalents annually compared to the 24 million b.e. capacity of the existing facility at the Harmar site. The Sugarcreek Plant 2 kiln was lit in April 2000. Later in the year, The Belden Brick Company was inducted in the Family Business Hall of Fame at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Julia Belden, daughter of Robert F. Belden, was hired by Belden Brick Sales & Service Inc. of New York as an architectural sales representative in Manhattan.

In 2001, Dee Engelbach announces his intention to retire in the fourth quarter. Jim Leahy is named Treasurer. John C. Belden is named Vice President – Sales & Marketing. At Redland Brick Inc., the Harmar Plant project is right on schedule. Belden Brick achieves certification under the new ISO 9001:2000 standard effective September 17, 2001.

In February of 2002, Robert T. Belden, son of Robert F. Belden, becomes the second fifth-generation Belden to join the Company. Bob T is assigned the position of Assistant to the Vice-President of Production, Larry Myers.

A third member of the fifth-generation of the Belden family, Bradley S. Belden, joins the Company on April 1, 2004. Brad is the son of John C. Belden and is hired as a Regulatory Affairs Specialist working with government agencies such as EPA and OSHA and working in the field of the environment, health and safety. Later in 2004, Redland Brick Inc. seeks authorization to modernize the Rocky Ridge Plant. The Belden Brick Board grants the authorization and Swindell Dressler is hired to execute the modernization plan.

Record high prices for natural gas characterize the middle years of the decade. The Company continues to drill new gas wells as it has every year since 1973. The latest wells drilled are generally in the Beekmantown and Rose Run formations. The total number of wells successfully drilled since the program’s inception in 1973 reaches 194 in 2006. These wells only produce enough gas to meet approximately 10% of the Company’s needs.

In 2005, Bettie Rairigh, Administrative Assistant to Bill and Bob Belden, retires after 59 years of service, matching Burke Wentz’s longevity as a Belden Brick employee. Bettie was hired in 1946 by Paul B. Belden, Sr. and served four generations of Belden family members. Belden Brick and Redland Brick form Redland Siding Systems LLC, a 50/50 joint venture that will be licensed to manufacture and distribute thin brick systems in North America. In November, Larry Myers dies suddenly six months before his planned retirement. Robert T. Belden is named to succeed Larry as Vice President of Operations.The Company has invested heavily in technology over the past decade. Plant 2 is a state-of-the-art, 21st century production facility, and the advent of the Internet has brought about technological change throughout the Company.

The Company has continued to provide leadership in the industry as it has done since the earliest days under Paul Belden, Sr. He was instrumental in the founding of the American Face Brick Association in 1912. He served three terms (1915, 1920, and 1932) as President. His son, Paul Jr., was Chairman of The Brick Institute of America (BIA). In 1993-1994, his grandson, Bill, Jr., was also chairman of BIA. From 2002-2004, his grandson, Bob, was chairman of the Brick Industry Association, which resulted from the merger of the Brick Institute of America and the National Association of Brick Distributors. All through these years, the Company and its officers have been supporters and leaders of the Mid-East Region of the Brick Institute of America, a regional association of brick manufacturers, as well as the national association. John C. Belden, son of Paul B. Belden, Jr., grandson of Paul B. Belden, Sr., is currently the Chairman of BIA’s Midwest/Northeastern Region which is comprised of seventeen states from Illinois to Maine. Both Paul B. Belden, Sr. and Paul B. Belden, Jr. have been honored with the industry’s Outstanding Achievement Award.While this history notes many significant events and individuals in the story of The Belden Brick Company, it could not mention everything or everyone who contributed to the success of Belden Brick since 1885. Many families, in addition to the Beldens and the Hartungs, have been instrumental in making Belden Brick the Standard of Comparison in its industry – families like the Swindermans, the Schrocks, the Myers, and the Finzers. Brickmaking was and is in their blood and their members take pride in their craft. The Belden Brick Company has been fortunate to have had so many dedicated, loyal employees throughout its history whose commitment to excellence has been unwavering.

The 21st century will present its own set of challenges for The Belden Brick Company. We believe that we have positioned ourselves to meet those challenges by continuously reinvesting in our physical plant, by keeping up with information technology advances that make our people and our machinery more productive, and by developing a strong leadership team committed to maintaining the values and traditions of Belden Brick while being eminently capable of maneuvering in the modern, fast-paced economy in which they will operate. We look to the future with optimism, confidence, and hope.