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Preserve the Valley’s industrial history

DEAR EDITOR:

I’m looking forward to the 2020 census release. Unfortunately, the 2020 census is projected to disclose populations of Trumbull and Mahoning counties have dropped over 110,000 since my 1971 graduation from Warren Western Reserve High School, or WWR.

Then, the Mahoning Valley was at the height of its industrial might. The steel industry was in its all-time steel boom 1970 to 1973.

Greatly contributing to the economic explosion was the recently opened GM assembly complex in Lordstown. My parents took my brother, David, and I to the Oct. 19, 1966, open house. This plant visit provided inspiration and motivation to launch my STEM-based career with several engineering degrees and a bachelor’s degree in computer science. These academic achievements were direct results of encouragement from Tom Heron, drafting instructor at WWR and a Taylor-Winfield Foundation scholarship.

The assembly line speed at GM was greatly increased with the first Vega produced June 26, 1970. GM became obsessed with producing 100 cars per hour those next years, and 1971 was the pinnacle year for Valley manufacturing, industry and engineering.

Regrettably, this year we lost a great Mahoning Valley civil engineer, Bill Sauer. My classmates have numerous firsthand stories and experiences, over these 50 years since graduation that must be preserved for future generations.

One constant over these years has been the assembly facility (East Complex) in Lordstown that now houses Lordstown Motors LLC (LMC). I had the great opportunity — being a consulting engineer for GM over many years — to be involved with projects in every part of this plant — roof, substations, tunnel system, press room, sub-basement and every out building. This plant’s size was always impressive, with its 956 columns, 2,496 trusses and sway frames and with a total net structural steel weighing in at over 17,000 tons. Working with LMC revealed an organization that has a genuine commitment to safety and buying local products and services.

Some are casting doubt on LMC’s ability to produce a high-quality truck. This organized chorus of nonbelievers is attempting to foster misgiving in LMC, a distrust. But not me. I’m looking forward to celebrating that first truck rolling off the line. I wish luck to LMC’s truck entry (E414) in the BAJA 250 on April 17 in the Baja-e Electric Vehicle Class. Let’s bring first place home.

GEORGE SHAY

Braceville

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