Aurora Metals - Celebrating 100 Years

1949 - 1998


We offer the following notes on the history of the Aurora Metal Company. The information on this page covers the latest fifty years of the company's existence.

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1949 -

Strapping devices - click for larger image Aurora Metal begins making parts for a steel strapping device, used in packaging products for shipment. The parts were originally manufactured as sand castings, but Aurora's ability to make the parts in the vacuum die casting method eliminate much of the extra machining involved. (click for menu)

1953 -

Alfred Lauder and George Peters hire Frank Lewis as a sales engineer. Lewis and Peters will further develop the company's extensive sales rep network, creating additional growth. They begin holding efficient and organized sales meetings in Aurora to build goodwill and loyalty among the sales reps and to show them first hand the Aurora Metal Company, its operations, and the innovative way in which they are doing business. (click for menu)

1953 -

Frank Lewis, hired as a sales engineer, is not impressed on his first visit to the West Park Avenue plant facilities. Aurora Metal is not exactly a gleaming industrial foundry. It basically consists of an office building, a small home that has been converted into the engineering department, and some Quonset-type buildings where products are made. (click for menu)

1952 -

A group of American businessmen, engineers, and assorted government officials tour Europe to see the latest in new business and production developments. Aurora Metal is interested in a portion of their report on a process invented in Germany, called Kronig, that involves the use of resin to coat sand. The coated sand has unique properties and is ideal for making cores and shell molds from which to form parts using a variety of alloys. Aurora Metal begins making its own cold coated sand and even sells some of it to customers on a small scale. (click for menu)

1954 -

George Peters is named president of Aurora Metal Company. Alfred Lauder becomes chairman of the board and treasurer. While Lauder is still very much in control, his health problems grow worse and, as he is aging, spends more and more time at a condominium that he and his wife Elba rent in Tucson, Arizona. (click for menu)

1955 -

After George Peters discusses the idea of hot coating sand with resin with Ash Barber, of the Barber-Green Co. of Aurora, Barber-Greene supplies a 250 pound asphalt mixing machine. Experimentation with the coating process begins, and is found to work beautifully. The coated sand starts to sell to several small companies, and the business grows. (click for menu)

1955 -

A large two-building structure is leased to produce resin coated sand on Jericho Road in unincorporated Aurora. (click for menu)

1955 -

Dale Shillinger runs the resin coated sand plant. Jack Lauder works with early experimentation with the coating process and aids Frank Lewis with sales of the resin coated sand. (click for menu)

1958 -

The name for the resin coated sand, "Faskure", is coined by Janet Lewis, wife of Frank Lewis and an advertising executive. (click for menu)

1959 -

The Faskure Coated Sand Division is officially formed. (click for menu)

1961 -

George Peters receives a call from Dick Lauder informing him that his father, Alfred Lauder, has passed away in Tucson. An airline strike forces his wife Elba, and her son, to ride back to Aurora on a train with Lauder's body. Peters meets them at the station, and again takes a fairly active role in the funeral preparations much as he had done for Mrs. Thurnauer back in 1947 when Doc died. At his death, Lauder owns well over 90 percent of the company's stock. (click for menu)

1961 -

After Alfred Lauder's funeral, a meeting of the Aurora Metal Company board is held, presided over by Mrs. Elba Lauder. She takes over as chairman, and the positions of George Peters as president and Jack Lauder as vice president are confirmed. In addition, Peters is given the title of CEO. Aurora area attorney Robert Hupp is made secretary of the board. They all join with treasurer Dave Fletcher and her son Richard as the newly constituted board of directors. (click for menu)

1961 -

Aurora Metal Company reaches sales of over $1 million. (click for menu)

1962 -

Plant - click for larger image Aurora architectural firm of Laz and Mall designs a large building to enclose the three sheet metal and brick structures that run parallel to each other and that were built at different times and had different floor levels. This is converted into one large building that houses the tool room, machine shop, and restrooms and lunch area on a second level. This construction is actually accomplished without any slowing down of production. (click for menu)

1964 -

Aurora Metal acquires a small but intriguing company called American Exothermics, which is set up in a small brick building located on property the company leases just to the south of the main plant across Charles Street. The division produces compounds that can retain heat for an extended period of time. They are used to form "insulating sleeves" in the risers of castings through which the molten metal is poured. The market for these is never very good and the division is phased out after a few years.
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1965 (approx.) -

Aurora Metal purchases an interest in the Shabbona Silica Sand Co., intending to supply sand to the Faskure division. The Shabbona Silica Sand Co plant never becomes operational and Aurora Metal sells its interests in the company, at a loss, to Owens-Illinois of Toledo, Ohio, in 1970. (click for menu)

1966 -

Aurora Metal Company exceeds $4 million in sales. Sometime after the company finally went over the $1 million mark in sales in 1961, Dick Lauder, who joined the board after his father died, made a promise. When the company reaches $3 million in sales, he says, the board will hold its annual meeting in Hawaii. In 1966 the board holds its meeting in March - in Honolulu. (click for menu)

1967 -

Acting on the advice of friends, Elba Lauder gets in touch with the New York brokerage firm of Cyrus J. Lawrence & Sons with the intent of selling her interest in the Aurora Metal Company. The firm likes what it sees and puts together a leveraged financial package that essentially buys Aurora Metal from Mrs. Lauder for more than $2 million. Lawrence takes a hands-off approach to the management of Aurora Metal, as it only purchased the company as an astute investment that would pay off in time. But for the first time, the Aurora Metal Company is under an outside owner. (click for menu)

1967 -

With the purchase of the Aurora Metal Company from Mrs. Lauder, Cyrus J. Lawrence & Sons places one of its partners and one of its employees on the board of directors. The new board of directors consists of James C. Dudley and T. Decker Orr from Lawrence, Peters, Dick Lauder, and Frank Voris, a trusted and respected friend of Peters' who was chairman of Merchants Bank. (click for menu)

1967 -

Dale Shillinger dies suddenly of a heart attack. He leaves a void in the company which must be filled. The search to find a replacement for Shillinger has been narrowed down to two candidates by Christmas of 1967. The job goes to John Smillie, a 43-year old metallurgist from Hocking, Iowa who had spent most of his career with the John Deere Co. in the Quad cities area. In between his two stints with two different divisions at Deere, Smillie worked for the Lakey Foundry Corp. In Muskegon, Michigan, where he gained experience with coated sand and shell core operations. Smillie recalls being impressed with Peters and excited by the potential of Faskure. He joined the firm on February 3, 1969. (click for menu)

1969 -

The primary challenge facing the Faskure division is the presence of two competitors, Acme Resin of Chicago and the Arrowhead Co. In Troy, Illinois. A price war is underway and Faskure meets the challenge by making a consistent and high quality sand, firmly establishing itself as the premier coated sand product in the marketplace. The Faskure plant on Jericho Road adds a second one-ton coating machine with both machines now working around the clock. (click for menu)

1972 (approx) -

Faskure works with the Burns & Russell Company of Baltimore and creates a new coated sand product which B & R uses as a decorative glaze on bricks and such, in an effort to compete with other enameled products. (click for menu)

1973 -

Youghiogheny & Ohio Coal Co. of Cleveland purchases Kure-Rite, a coated sand operation, to complement the products of the Federal Bentonite Mining Co., which they also own. As both bentonite and coated sand are products being sold to foundries, the purchase of Kure-Rite seems to make sense. Y & O finds out in a hurry that Kure-Rite isn't doing all that well and that Y & O lacks the expertise to make it do better. Yet the large coal company sees that there is a small divisional enterprise in Illinois called Faskure that is probably selling as much high-quality, coated sand as it can. How?

Sylvester O. "Bud" Ogden, vice president of Y & O, calls on George Peters early in 1973, hoping that he can pick up some useful information. Peters likes the guy right away. Ogden is an engaging conversationalist, a natural born salesman really, and he knows his stuff. On his second visit to Aurora, Ogden brings Bill Osborn Jr. with him, who is the chief operating officer for Y & O. The two make inquiries into Aurora Metal's financial situation, at which point Peters refers them to the Cyrus Lawrence partners. Negotiations ensue and the Lawrence investor group agrees to sell the Aurora Metal Company.

The transaction takes place in May of 1973. Osborn, Ogden and Leonard M. Bell, the financial auditor for Y & O, join the Aurora Metal Company board of directors, as does Frank Voris, chairman of Merchants Bank. (click for menu)

1973 -

At the time that they purchase the Aurora Metal Company, Y & O had agrees to authorize the financing of a new plant for the foundry, a facility that will also house all of the company's division offices. 5 and 1/3 acres of land had been purchased in Montgomery, Illinois, just south of Aurora. As General Manager of the foundry division, Frank Lewis heads up the design and building of the new facility. He is ably assisted by Chief Engineer Ralph Keck and his assistant, Jack Fritz, who will one day assume the position of Chief Engineer. The new plant will be a 55,000-square-foot facility with all electric furnaces, efficient ventilating systems, offices, one main floor level, and a uniform shipping and receiving area.

The old plant and land are sold to two local businessmen. Today, much of the old Aurora Metal facilities are still in use by other concerns, such as Gold's Gym, but there are parts of it that have not seen action for many years.

Ground is broken in 1973 and the project is completed in August of 1974. As usual, Aurora Metal Company does not miss a beat - orders are filled and there is no significant down time. (click for menu)

1974 -

In December of 1974, Y & O assigns Federal Bentonite to the Aurora Metal Company. All assets and liabilities of Federal Bentonite are transferred to Aurora. Management and sales for Federal Bentonite, headquartered in Cleveland, are transferred to Aurora. Sales is headed up by Bob Waterloo.
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1974 -

Y & O assigns the troubled Kure-Rite sand coating operation to the Faskure division of Aurora Metal. John Smillie is given the responsibility of determining if anything productive can be done with it.
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1974 -

Eugene Kluber joins the Aurora Metal Company as a general accountant. He was born and raised in Aurora and educated at Aurora College (now Aurora University) in accounting and business. He completes a special executive finance program at Penn State University in 1981. Kluber also completes a special program in economic evaluation and investment decision methods at the Colorado School of Mines in 1978.

Kluber, like many accountants, is a steady, reliable, and impeccably honest professional. He works his way up the ladder at Aurora Metal and that culminates with him being part of the ownership group. He is appointed vice president for finance in 1981, a role that is expanded to vice president and treasurer in 1986. He is fairly active in his profession, serving as a member and director of the National Association of Accountants, and also applying his accounting skills to community organizations like Family Counseling Service. (click for menu)

1974 -

Bentonite clay was discovered in the 1880s by a man named William Taylor in the Fort Benton shale near Rock River, Wyoming. It was first used as a ceramic and bonding material and then found one of its first commercial uses in the cosmetics industry. The bentonite mined by Federal Bentonite is sodium bentonite, as opposed to calcium bentonite which has different properties and uses.

There are many uses for bentonite, but Federal Bentonite serves mainly four of these markets. The major use of bentonite is in the refinement of iron ore. Low grade iron ore, called Taconite, is first ground into a fine mixture of rock and iron in a slurry, bentonite is introduced into the mix which is then subjected to a magnetic field which separates out the iron. The bentonite then combines with the iron and forms small pellets. The pellets are then fed into blast furnaces where the bentonite clay evaporates and the iron is left.

The oil drilling industry uses bentonite clay as drilling mud to improve drilling efficiency and to fill fissures and gaps in underground wells. Bentonite is also used in the foundry industry and in the animal feed business (bentonite is used as a binder in feed pellets). (click for menu)

1975 -

The general manager at the time of the transfer of Federal Bentonite to the Aurora Metal Company is close to retirement and so a new leader for the division has to be found. That new leader is Howard Fleshman, a skilled mining engineer from St. Louis who has experience in the steel, copper, aluminum, and ceramic industries. Peters hires him in 1975 and he begins this summer.

Fleshman is 46 when he joins the Aurora Metal Company. He was educated as an Engineer of Mines at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. He came from the Calcium Carbonate Division of the J.M.Huber Co. in Quincy, Illinois, where he was chief engineer responsible for building construction. Fleshman had purchased clay from Federal Bentonite in the past so he is familiar with the operation. He proves to be a good choice to run Federal Bentonite. (click for menu)

1975 -

George Peters, in his early sixties, decides that it is time that he can use some help. The company has grown with the Faskure and Federal Bentonite divisions employing 50 people each and the foundry employing another 150. The managers of the divisions are very competent people doing excellent work. But they are specialists in their jobs, and taking any one of them out of their position would weaken that division. Peters decides that he needs an administrator, someone to coordinate and oversee all three divisions, and to manage company-wide finances, purchasing, and employee / union relations. This person, if successful, can also possibly be prepared to take over when Peters retires and ensure the future of the company.

A search for candidates for this position is begun. The search yields more than 60 resumes and several strong candidates over nearly a one-year long period. The finalist is James D. Pearson, a Chicago man who is 37 at the time and who has enjoyed considerable success in his relatively young professional career.

Jim Pearson was born on February 16, 1938 in Chicago. After graduating from Maine Township High School, he attended Drake University in Iowa and earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration in 1962. His first job was with the Clearing Machine Corp. of Chicago, a division of New York-based U.S. Industries, Inc. The division was a worldwide company engaged in the manufacturing of giant mechanical and hydraulic stamping presses for the automotive industry. Pearson began in the personnel department and later became a management trainee, a position that eventually brought him into sales. He traveled to Japan, Italy, Australia, and England in this capacity. He worked his way up to vice president and was named president of the division in 1968.

His next stint was with the Spiroid Division of Illinois Tool Works as sales manager for this gear manufacturing concern. Rockwell International recruited him from there a year later to become plant manager of its Goss Division in Chicago, which made large printing presses for the newspaper industry.

Throughout his career up to this point, Pearson had gained experience in the manufacture of large industrial machinery, including castings and welding operations, which brought him in some contact with foundries. With a background in sales, manufacturing, and human resource management, Pearson has become well rounded in his overall business acumen over a 13-year period.

Jim Pearson begins as vice president of administration on July 15, 1975. (click for menu)

1976 -

The energy crisis of the 1970s makes any company dealing with energy an attractive acquisition. The Panhandle Eastern Company of Houston, Texas, wants to own a coal company and approaches Y & O about a possible deal. After considerable discussion, proposals and counter- proposals, Panhandle purchases Y & O and all its divisions for $75 million dollars. Panhandle quickly sees that Aurora Metal is the best part of the deal; it is run well, it makes money, and it is a leader in the coated sand, foundry, and bentonite industries. (click for menu)

1976 -

Ron Eliason is hired by Federal Bentonite as production manager. (click for menu)

1976 -

Faskure purchases a small sand company in Fairwater, WI (click for menu)

1977 -

Panhandle separates the Aurora Metal Company and its divisions from the rest of Y & O and creates a new board of directors, installing Panhandle Eastern Vice President George J. Kurk as the chairman. Kurk is a likable man and the relationship with Panhandle is a good one, with Panhandle leaving the Aurora Metal Company to operate as usual, but providing support and capital as needed.
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1977 -

Don Hentz is hired by Federal Bentonite as technical manager. (click for menu)

1977 -

Faskure is not able to correct the problems with Kure-Rite, not the least of which is the poor quality of sand available for its use. Kure-Rite is sold to an Illinois company. (click for menu)

1978 -

George Kurk, chairman of the board, suggests that the name, Aurora Metal Company, does not really reflect the diverse operation of the company. He suggests changing the name to "Aurora Industries, Inc." instead. The board agrees and the change is made. (click for menu)

1978 -

Jim Pearson is named executive vice president, a move that formally sets in motion his succeeding Peters as president. (click for menu)

1978 (approx) -

Aurora Metal produces parts for grounding grid connectors for an electrical power products company.
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1978 -

Federal Bentonite starts up operations in Glasgow, Montana. The poorer, inconsistent quality of the clay and the difficulty in mining the bentonite clay does not allow the Glasgow facility to produce the requisite profits. The Glasgow milling operation is phased out after only six months. (click for menu)

1978 -

The Faskure division builds a new facility on land purchased earlier in Fairwater, WI. This facility is built from the ground up, with Ralph Keck and John Evans doing the design and engineering work.
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1979 -

Federal Bentonite has the biggest year in its history, shipping 496,000 tons of clay. (click for menu)

1980 -

The steel industry in the United States declines suddenly and sharply, due to competition from Brazil and Japan. The taconite refining portion of the bentonite business falls to one-half of what it was virtually overnight. At the same time, the oil drilling segment of the market is booming. The effect of these changes is that the two industries switch places in the overall sales of bentonite clay, with the overall sales remaining stable. (click for menu)

1980 (approx) -

Aurora Metals produces parts for switch gear transformer protection devices. (click for menu)

1981 -

Bill Jens is one of those hands-on managers who practiced the concept of "Managing by Wandering Around" long before nationally renowned consultant Tom Peters ever coined the term. Born in Milwaukee, Jens earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin in 1965 and immediately entered the foundry business, focusing on metallurgy and later production. He began with Milwaukee Smelting and Refinery, then spent 12 years with AMPCO Pittsburgh in Milwaukee as production superintendent before coming to Aurora Industries in 1981. He is hired at Aurora as manager of manufacturing and eventually takes over for Frank Lewis as general manager of the foundry division and its sales efforts after Lewis retired.

Jens is the kind of manager who likes to be out on the floor working closely with his production people. He is focused, calm, and always supportive of those who work for him. He too takes an active role in his profession, serving on the board for the Non-Ferrous Foundry Society, the Chicago Chapter of the National Foundry Society, the Illinois Cast Metal Association, and the Brass and Bronze Committee of the American Foundry Association. (click for menu)

1981 -

George Peters retires. The Aurora Metal Company had come a long way in the 40 years that Peters was there. It was a small company engaged in the production of metal castings when he first arrived from Detroit. At the time he retires, it has three divisions, has developed the highest quality coated sand the foundry industry would ever see, employs over 300 people, and it is doing business around the world. When Peters retires, Aurora Metal is on sound financial footing and its future is bright. (click for menu)

1981 -

Jim Pearson assumes role of president. (click for menu)

1981 -

George Kurk of Panhandle retires as chairman of Aurora Industries' board of directors. He is replaced by a new Panhandle vice president who is also heavily involved in Panhandle's coal de-gasification and liquid natural gas projects, and whose time is spread too thinly. He never gets to know Aurora Industries very well and the ease of communication with Panhandle which had been enjoyed begins to change.
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1981 -

Aurora Metal Company purchases 51% of Utility Transportation Manufacturing Power Products Co. (UTM) and moves that company's manufacturing arm from Tamps, Florida, to Aurora Metal. This company makes grounding grid connectors for the electric utility companies, for which Aurora Metal produces parts and now helps to manufacture and sell. (click for menu)

1981 -

Although the Fairwater plant of Faskure produces and sells coated sand, the project is beset with problems. Like Kure-Rite, the sand available for their use is not as high a quality as the sand purchased from central Illinois by Faskure. Then in 1981, a defective photocopying machine apparently shorts out or overheats and the plant building burns down. The facility is not rebuilt and the property is sold in 1984.
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1982 -

The bottom falls out of the domestic oil market, with less than 700 oil rigs operating in the U.S., down from 4,500 in late 1981. Obviously, the bentonite market for this industry also suffers. (click for menu)

1982 -

Allen D. Berry is hired as administrative vice president from Plano Molding Co. in Plano, Illinois. He will later be instrumental in the purchase of Aurora Industries from Panhandle. (click for menu)

1982 -

Panhandle faces some difficult times. The purchase of Y & O is emerging as a bad investment and other Panhandle ventures are not proceeding according to plan. This situation, along with the change of the chairman of Aurora Industries' board, precipitates a plan to extricate Aurora Industries from the then heavy and slow hand of Panhandle. (click for menu)

1983 -

After an Aurora Industries board meeting in the fall of 1983, Pearson and Peters begin discussing the possibility of buying out the company form Panhandle. Peters, since he is retired and not so close to the situation, goes to Houston and begins making inquiries. In planning the buyout, Person and Peters have in mind a certain price tag, which Panhandle counters with one significantly higher.

Because the Federal Bentonite Division is so capital intensive, and because the Panhandle officers place a higher value on it than do Pearson or Peters, it poses a stumbling block. They approach Panhandle on this point and Panhandle agrees that Federal Bentonite can be sold but that it must be done before Panhandle will consider selling back the rest of Aurora Industries.

At the time, IMCO Services Division of Halliburton has a long term "buy or take" contract with Federal Bentonite and has built up a fair size debt through that contract. Pearson approaches IMCO about the possibility of purchasing the Federal Bentonite Division. IMCO is interested and eventually purchases the division. Howard Fleshman remains with the division as general manager after it is purchased by IMCO.

The sale price of the Federal Bentonite division, being higher than what Panhandle said they would accept, allows the price of the remainder of Aurora Industries to be adjusted to one closer to that originally proposed by Pearson and Peters. (click for menu)

1984, September -

Aurora Industries is purchased from Panhandle by a group of private investors. These investors include George Peters, Jim Pearson, Jim Sharpe, then general manager of Faskure, Bill Jens, then general manager of Aurora Metals, Eugene Kluber, vice president of finance at Aurora Industries, and Allen D. Berry.

A new board is formed, chaired by Peters, and includes three respected local business and community leaders: Urban Hipp, retired vice president of finance for Barber-Greene; William Glenn, president and CEO of Olsson Roofing Co. in Aurora; and William Blackburn, M.D., who was president of Dreyer Medical Clinic in Aurora.

For the first time since 1967, the company is back in private hands. (click for menu)

1984 -

Frank Lewis and John Smillie are offered attractive retirement packages by Panhandle. They both decide to accept and they leave their positions in October. (click for menu)

1985, March -

Faskure Division is sold to Acme Resin Company. By the early 1980s it is clear that the coated sand product can only go so far in the marketplace. Acme wants Faskure to coat sand under Acme's name, a certain kind of sand called "frac" sand that it is selling to the oil well drilling industry. Because of certain concerns, Faskure balks at the project. Acme then comes back with an inquiry regarding the possibility of purchasing the Faskure division. After negotiating a fair price, the sale goes forward. This sale allows the owners of Aurora Industries to pay off the bulk of the loans obtained to purchase Aurora Industries, thereby relieving some of the pressures of ownership. Jim Sharpe, general manager of Faskure, goes with the division upon its sale to Acme.

This leaves Aurora Industries as it had originally started, as a foundry. (click for menu)

1985 -

UTM Power Products brings a new product to market - an overhead electrical grid connector made of aluminum that could supplant and improve existing technology. (click for menu)

1986 -

Allen Berry sells his interest in Aurora Industries to pursue other ventures. (click for menu)

1986 -

Aurora Industries is approached by Derlan Industries, Inc., a Canadian holding company based in Toronto, about a possible acquisition. Derlan Industries, formed in 1984, is looking for companies that have a product niche or some type of unique or highly innovative manufacturing capacity. In the case of Aurora Industries it is the vacuum die casting process and its application of this process in the manufacture of impellers. Derlan also wants companies whose owners want to stay on as partners and continue to run their respective businesses.

Derlan's desire to have the current owners stay on as management of the company, along with the fact that at that time there does not appear to be any family member interested in joining the company with the intent of assuming future management of the company, gives the current owners reason to consider the offer. Additionally, foreign competition is getting stronger all the time and foundries need to either consolidate or find other sources of capital to compete in the marketplace.

After several visits to Aurora Industries, and after several visits to other Derlan owned companies, the current owners of Aurora Industries negotiate the sale, which is closed in February of 1987.
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1988 -

With little experience in the field of power grid equipment, and lacking the manpower and resources to manufacture, sell and distribute the products, Aurora Industries sells their 51% interest in UTM to AMP, Inc. of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Ralph Runkel, who originally formed UTM and developed its products, goes with the company to AMP. (click for menu)

1989 -

Under Derlan Industries' stewardship, Aurora Industries invests over a million dollars in a project to diversify into ferrous metals in an effort to provide customers with a "one stop" foundry which can supply all their alloy requirements. A 25,000-square-foot addition is made to its Montgomery facility, containing a 5,000-square-foot pattern shop and a 20,000-square-foot sand foundry. (click for menu)

1995 -

Jim Pearson buys back an ownership percentage in Aurora Industries. Derlan suggests this arrangement as a method to ensure that its corporate objectives are in line with Aurora Industries' objectives.
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1995 -

By 1990 Derlan Industries owns some 22 different companies in North America, including several that are involved in the aerospace industry. When that industry compresses in the early 1990s, it stretches Derlan financially and forces it to sharpen its focus and to begin to divest itself of several of its operations in order to raise capital and reduce debt. Although Aurora Industries is one of Derlan's better and more consistent performers, it is also one of the most attractive to investors and hence becomes one of several well-performing Derlan companies that are targeted as candidates for sales.

Earlier, Derlan had been looking at other possible foundry acquisitions, so it already had a feel for the foundry business market. One of the companies they had considered purchasing was a family-owned foundry in LaPorte, Indiana called Hiler Industries. With the shoe now on the other foot, Derlan approaches Hiler to see if there is any interest in purchasing Aurora Industries.

There is clearly some synergy between Hiler and Aurora. While competitors in some markets, each has unique manufacturing methods and abilities and Hiler's purchase of Aurora Industries will allow both companies to benefit from each other's capabilities.

Hiler Industries purchases Aurora Industries in December of 1995. They buy out Pearson's ownership interest and give him a four year contract to continue in his position. As Derlan did before them, Hiler allows Aurora to run autonomously under the direction of a separate board of directors.

The name of Aurora Industries is changed once again to reflect its new ownership; it is now known as Aurora Metals Division, L.L.C. (click for menu)

1995 -

Hiler Industries -

Hiler Industries was founded in 1946 by Charles Orrin Hiler, the grandfather of the company's current president, Larry Hiler. It has always been a family business. Larry's two brothers, Bob, Jr., and Jack, serve as vice president for finance and human resources, respectively, and their brother-in-law, Dan Luck, is a vice president for manufacturing. The other vice president, also for manufacturing, is Bob Hull.
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These pages are derived from the information in the book, "Forever a Foundry," commissioned by Aurora Metals and written by Mr. Bob Emory in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Aurora Metals Division, L.L.C. We wish to thank Mr. Emory, Aurora Metals employees, past and present, and all others who were instrumental in gathering this information.


AURORA METALS DIVISION, L.L.C.
1995 Greenfield Ave.
Montgomery, Illinois 60538
Phone: 630-844-4900 FAX: 630-844-6839

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