While the Winter Olympics might be history, Eugene Muratore will soon be showing off his own gold “metal” win.
The 66-year-old is being honored with the Thomas W. Pangborn Gold Metal by the American Foundry Society, a nonprofit group founded in 1896. He will be honored next month in Schaumburg at the 118th Metalcasting Congress, the largest annual North American industry technical show. It features the latest developments in casting industry research and production case studies.
Muratore points out that, in our everyday lives, “you’re only 5 to 10 feet away from a casting” regardless of where you are.
“When you’re driving down the street, there are pipes and sewers below you carrying water that were made from casts,” he said. “Your car is full of them, and even the glass you drink water from was made from putting material into a metal mold.”
Jerry Call, CEO of the American Foundry Society, said that Muratore’s award “is the highest award given” by the group that serves more than 700 corporate members and almost 7,000 individual members. He said the Naperville resident is the only recipient of the award this year.
“Gene has been an asset to this industry in countless ways, and we are proud to show him our gratitude with AFS’s highest honor,” Call said. “We have five gold metal categories, but Gene is the only one getting one this year. He has shared critical marketing information, and he is an expert in all types of metals and particularly irons and has shared his expertise in teaching classes and giving freely of his time.”
Muratore has given a great deal back to the industry that gave him his livelihood by speaking at various conferences. He said that for him “it’s important to put something back in and not just take things out.”
A native of Atwater, Ohio, Muratore said he attended college at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his decision to get a degree in metallurgy engineering “was somewhat serendipitous.”
“I was a good student in high school and was the valedictorian of my class, and living in a farm community, people said I should go to an engineering school, so that’s what I did,” Muratore said. “The school would get about 500 freshmen a year and only 250 to 300 would graduate as it was a really tough school.”
Muratore said there were no liberal arts classes in things like psychology or English, and that during an open house event showcasing the various engineering programs, the folks in metallurgy made a connection with him.
“I felt they weren’t a bunch of eggheads, and I soon felt a sort of fraternity there, and when I got out of college, a former professor got me a job,” he said. “I spent 10 years at the General Motors’ Defiance, Ohio, foundry that produced automotive blocks, heads, crankshafts, brake calipers and steering knuckles.”
From there, Muratore moved to Texas as the chief metallurgist for American International Manufacturing in Ft. Worth, the world’s second largest producer of oil field pumping units. Six years later he went to Lufkin, Texas, to become the chief metallurgist for Texas Foundries. By April 1991, he became senior foundry metallurgist for Rio Tinto Iron and Titanium America, where he worked until his retirement in June.
Muratore said he was responsible for technical service to the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan “and was gone 100 nights a year.”
“I always wanted to be able to work and speak with the customers, and my job was to serve as the technical service engineer,” he said. “I always wanted to have some sort of interaction with the customer.”
His years of living in Naperville — he’s been here since 1993 — have been wonderful for him and his family, he said, thanks to Naperville’s many amenities — especially the train.
“For someone who had to work downtown, it was a blessing not to have to use the Eisenhower,” he said. “Naperville is a secure place to raise a family, which was something I appreciated given I was gone 100 nights a year and had to leave a wife and a child here.”
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