New leadership for Waupaca Foundry

Sean P. Johnson
Posted by of Insight Publications

Gary Gigante, Longtime CEO at Waupaca Foundry, announced his retirement effective the end of the company’s first quarter 2016.

The company, now a part of Hitachi Metals, also announced that COO and President Mike Nikolai has been appointed to take over as CEO effective July 1.

Gigante began his career at Waupaca Foundry in 1981 as a metallurgist, and held positions as plant manager, vice president of manufacturing and president/COO before accepting the position of CEO in 2007. He also serves on the board of directors for Hitachi Metals Foundry America.

During his tenure, he introduced ductile iron production to the company with its Marinette foundry, led the company through two ownership changes and flexed production and staffing to meet the challenges of the Great Recession.

“Our company was founded by entrepreneurs who fostered a culture of innovation,” Gigante says. “I have had the pleasure of working with the best and most inventive foundry people in the business and I learned from all of them.”

Gigante says the company’s current ownership, has a culture that matches Waupaca Foundry and is committed to growing the foundry globally.

Nikolai also has a long history with Waupaca Foundry, joining the company  in 1993 as a metallurgist at the company’s gray iron foundries in Waupaca. He managed plans in Tell City, Ind., and Etowah, Tenn., before returning to Waupaca as president and COO in 2015.

Also announcing his retirement, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Kris Pfaehler who will be succeeded by Executive Vice President John Wiesbrock.

“Our bench strength is extremely strong,” he says. “All of our leaders have hands-on experience serving our customers and our employees.”