The world lost one of the great, old-time industrialists when Albert Weatherhead passed away on Sept. 20 at age 86.
He was the chairman and CEO of Weatherhead Industries in Twinsburg, Ohio. In 1971 he founded Weatherchem, a maker of dispensing closures, in 1971 when he bought Ankeny Co., a small tooling business in Twinsburg.
And the business school at Case Western Reserve University proudly carries his name.
I had the great honor of spending the better part of a day with this engaging man a few years ago. A gentleman from the old school he insisted on taking me out to lunch prior to our "formal" interview. While the interview was about the book he wrote, The Power of Adversity, I was privy to a an entire lifetime of lessons.
One thing that stuck with me was that he felt most comfortable on the plant floor. He grew up there as his father owned the Weatherhead Company, which was founded in 1919 and made parts for the auto industry. The beat of that floor was in sync with the beat of his heart.
He was especially proud of his close working relationship with the unions. As I can't reproduce his colorful way of telling a story, suffice it to say that the twists and turns in management's relationship with the unions worked out for both parties back then.
His book however was much more a personal account of how he overcome a number of issues in his life. In the book he is quite open in sharing the personal details of his life.
He has done much for the city he lived in and the industry he worked in and I suspect his book has helped many other in their personal lives.
I, like many I'm sure, felt privleged to have spent some time with him.
If you want to read about my interview with him click here.