Don Worlledge was one of the 10 original graduates in Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University.  He graduated in 1955.  At the time, IE was an option within Mechanical Engineering.  He originally thought about majoring in Mining or Aerospace Engineering but liked the business aspect of the IE curriculum.

Don took advanced ROTC to earn money for college.  After he graduated, he was assigned to the Army’s Aviation Department doing maintenance training for aircraft.  This was during the Korean War.

After military service, Don worked for a short time period with Olin Mathieson.  Don then started a long career of leadership in the aluminum industry.  For the next eight years he had senior IE positions with Kaiser Aluminum in West Virginia and in California.

Don took a two-year education leave to pursue an MBA at the University of California – Berkeley.  Don returned to Kaiser to become plant manager at two Kaiser facilities on the west coast.

After 10 more years with Kaiser at four locations, Don had the opportunity to return back to the area by joining Consolidated Aluminum as plant manager and later as Director of Engineering and Vice President of Manufacturing Operations.

Don later returned to a former part of Kaiser Aluminum to be its President and Chief Operating Officer.  This new entity was called Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation.  After three years, Don retired from this position because of a disagreement between the major owners and the uncertain future of the facility.

Don advises students to keep themselves open to opportunities. “I moved over 20 times in my career.  Each move resulted from a promotion.  My wife was very supportive, and our kids did well with the move,” Don says.

Don also advises students to develop their presentation skills.  “Over your career, you have to continually improve all your skills, and presentation skills should be one of focus.  Another key to a successful career is being open to different types of people,” Don says.

When asked about the change in higher education in the 60+ years since he graduated, Don offers two amazing numbers:  “Tuition was $42/semester, and my first salary was $375/month.”




President and Chief Operating Officer                    July 1989 – May 1992

Ravenswood Aluminum Corporation (RAC) was a privately owned corporation of facilities (formerly owned by Kaiser Aluminum), with over 2,200 employees and annual sales of 500 million dollars.  Products included aluminum sheet for beverage cans, automobiles, boats, truck trailers, aircraft, light bulbs, building construction; and plate for rail cars, military vehicles, and the space shuttle.

Responsible for manufacturing operations, sales, and profitability.  Profit improvement programs which were implemented in 1989 resulted in a turn-around from a loss during the first 6 months to a profit for the year.  Total year profit for 1990 was up 80% over the 1989 results.


Vice President, Manufacturing Operations           June 1983 – July 1989

Responsible for all plant manufacturing operations along with corporate engineering, labor relations, quality assurance, and R&D functions.  Reported to the President of the corporation and had joint responsibility for profit with the Sales Vice President (annual sales of $400 million).

Director, Engineering & Process Development   February 1981 – June 1983

Responsible for supervising and directing the following corporate staff functions:  Engineering, Metallurgy, Process Engineering, Computer Process Control, and R&D coordination with parent company.  Direct responsibility for a $50 million modernization program which included installation of a state-of-the-art cold rolling mill.  This major project was completed on time and under budget.

Plant Manager, Hannibal Plant                                   July 1977 – February 1981

Responsible for management and coordination of plant operations including financial planning, cost forecasting, production output, labor relations, safety and security controls, public relations, quality control, and integration of corporate and plant policies in conformance with corporate guidelines.


Production Manager, Trentwood Works                               September 1972 – June 1977

Responsible for all manufacturing operations at the largest aluminum rolling plant in the West.  Supervisory responsibility for 100 management employees and up to 1200 hourly union employees.  Experience in union negotiations, OSHA regulations, and MBO techniques.  During my tenure, new records were achieved for production output, productivity, metal recovery, and profit contribution.  The plant was selected as “the best operating plant” in the corporation for 1975.

Plant Manager, Los Angeles Extrusion Plant         January 1971 – September 1972

Responsible for total plant operations at an aluminum extrusion plant with gross sales volume of approximately $10 million per year.  Joint responsibility for profit with the Regional Sales Manager.  During 1971, the plant was one of only 17 in the corporation to achieve both cost reduction and overhead cost control objectives.  During my tenure, we bid on and successfully completed a major contract to supply fabricated aluminum extrusions for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers transmission tower line installation in Alaska.

Manager of Planning & Management Systems,  January 1969 – January 1971
Mill Products Division, Oakland, CA

Responsible for annual and long-range planning, facility planning, inventory control, financial analysis, and the coordination and management of all management systems activities for the division.  Total annual operating cost for systems was over $3 million.

Educational Leave                                                            September 1967 – January 1969

Division Industrial Engineering Manager,               February 1964 – September 1967
Oakland, CA

Responsible for technical direction and coordination of industrial engineering activities in 15 plants.

Chief Industrial Engineer,                                             May 1963 – February 1964
Permanente Foil Plant, California

Senior Industrial Engineer,                                           December 1958 – May 1963
Ravenswood Works, West Virginia


Industrial Engineer,                                                         July 1957 – December 1958
Cellophane and Polyethylene plant in North Carolina


First Lieutenant, Aviation Department                   July 1955 – July 1957
The Transportation School, Ft. Eustis, Virginia


M.B.A. (Managerial Economics) 1968 – University of California, Berkeley
B.S.M.E. (Industrial Engineering) 1955 – West Virginia University
International Management Seminar – Zurich, Switzerland

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