First-Hand:A Life in Wire and Cable Engineering
Submitted by Emil Evancich
While a student at Kelly High School, I was drafted into the United States Army. I was trained as a medical technician in the 94th Medical Gas Treatment Battalion. We were sent to Europe and followed the 3rd Army through Europe. After the fighting ended in Europe, we were going to be sent to the Pacific but WWII ended before we got there.
After being discharged, I married an Army nurse moved to Chicago and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology. While at school, I worked at the Champion Air-compressor factory on an assembly line four hours a day.
My next job was with Northern Electric Company who manufactured heating pads and electric blankets. I was head of the manufacturing engineering department. At this plant they also made the heater wire and lead wire for electric blankets. Offered a job by Wirekraft, I told the owner I would only work for him if I was part owner. We agreed on this and I became the chief engineer for all his plants. We were very successful. I developed many products, cost cutting machines and patents. Just about every home in United States had a product I designed, such as a refrigerator heater wire, ceiling heater wire, heaters for pipes. I also took the Indiana test and became a PE (Professional Engineer). In 1959, I was promoted to president of the company. It was sold in 1964 and I left.
I moved to California and took a job as head of computer stock market research with William O'Neil & Company. I made a computer model of the stock market by using statistical techniques to research investment strategy.
I divorced after twenty-four years of marriage. I left on a two year trip traveling around the world. I met Trudy Hooksma and we got married.
I started Wireflex, an electrical wire manufacturing plant in Chicago. Then I purchased property with a building in Bourbon, Indiana. Wireflex became very successful. We went into drawing and stranding wire from copper rod and compound PVC thermoplastic. The company merged with Burcliff Industries and I sold my interest.
I became chief engineer for Wrap On Wire, which manufactured heaters to prevent pipes from freezing. I set up the plant to manufacture wire and become president of Wrap On Wire.
I left to start Wirepower manufacturers rep organization because of age discrimination. We sold machinery and supplies to the wire industry in the mid west. I was 60 years old and wanted a job. I had been very successful in the wire industry, but no one would give me a job.
I was very lucky to come across the wire and cable industry as a young engineer and to make it my life's work.