Dalton Foundry Finds New Owner, Loses One Shift

About 60 jobs at Dalton Foundry have been cut as the 106-year-old iron casting business comes under new ownership.
As of this week, the Warsaw foundry and three other Dalton Corp. properties in Indiana and Ohio are owned by New Dalton LLC.
The foundry formerly employed about 270 people, according to employees and their family members who contacted the Times-Union. Over the past few weeks, dozens of members of United Steel Workers Local 6805 were let go from the plant and several more members of management.
Employees say they knew few details about the sale of the foundry and that the firings came as a surprise. They also expressed concern that many of those let go had the most years of experience.
The reductions were made as the foundry narrows production from two shifts to one, according to Mike Clevy, who was involved in the sale. Clevy is a partner in a Nashville industrial investment firm.
The reductions were made under former owner Neenah Foundry Co. of Neenah, Wis., and no further cuts are planned at this time, he said Thursday.
The shift was cut in order to match production to the level of sales, said Clevy, who reported a “soft first quarter” but said he expects an uptick in June and July.
Through the purchase of Dalton Corp. stock, New Dalton LLC now owns the Warsaw foundry as well as one in Stryker, Ohio, and two pieces of land in Indiana and Ohio. Clevy described the LLC as an ownership entity formed by various partners, but said since the team does include former Dalton President Joe DeRita and former Vice President of Operations Larry Cohen, there is interest in keeping jobs and making the foundry sustainable.
“Nothing changes except ownership of the stock,” said Clevy. “The plan is to make it sustainable and grow the business. We’ve seen some tough times with the ag business, it’s been losing money for a couple years, and we want to right the ship and make it a sustainable business going forward.”
He said he was not aware of any layoffs at the Stryker plant, which is still running two shifts.
Jim Beckner, a partner with Clevy’s firm and a member of the new ownership group, also expressed a hope today that the Warsaw plant will see steady progress under New Dalton.
“Obviously we want Dalton to be in Warsaw for a long time, we’re pretty optimistic,” he said.
Neenah Enterprises Inc. acquired Dalton Corp. in 1998. Neenah closed the Kendallville foundry in 2009, citing a weak economy and issues facing the metal casting industry. Neenah filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy the following year, later re-emerging under new equity ownership and with a reduction in debt by over $270 million.
The shuttered Kendallville foundry was purchased in 2014 by a Lexington, Ky., company with plans to demolish the plant and renovate the site for other use.