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 Subject : Personal History, by John Dooley, Duncan Bolt.. 10/27/2011 04:02:15 PM 
John Dooley
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John D. Dooley, Life in the Fastener Business - 1995

My entrance into the fastener business in 1953 was really by chance. I had finished high school and had no desire to go on to college, I was anxious to get a job, get married and raise a family.

I had been working since I could ride a bike, delivering papers, selling fruit and vegetables door to door off a friend’s truck, sorting bottles in a market and later a checker in a neighborhood market with my brother.

After graduation from Montebello High School in California, and a tour with the Army Reserve at Camp Robert's, California in 1953, I headed out to "start my career".

The first place I went was The National Screw & Mfg. Co. in Commerce, California (my mother had worked there as a packer when they opened in 1949). The plant was only 3 miles from our house and I though "what the heck".

The sign in front of the plant said "No Help Wanted" but I went in anyway and was hired as a "Helper" in the header department.

I was soon promoted to "Set-Up Operator". Over the next few years I ran all types and sizes of cold headers. In 1955 I was laid off but went to work the next day at Stronghold Screw in Downey (I was hired by Hy Schatz). I was only at Stronghold Screw for a short time, when I was called back to National Screw.

At National Screw I was later promoted to the Production Office, Inventory Control, Cost Estimating and then into Outside Sales in 1960.

I can still remember my first company car, a 1959 Plymouth with HUGE tailfins. I thought I was being followed by someone all the time.

I was given a sales territory in So. California of all the direct accounts that stopped buying from National Screw for one reason or another. This was a real challenge, but I learned a lot. Arizona, New Mexico, So. Nevada and El Paso, TX were added to my territory in 1963. I really enjoyed this territory selling to fastener distributors. I especially remember selling cotter pins and wing nuts to Jim Barnhill and meeting Chuck Jenefsky as he was just starting in the fastener business.

In 1967 I was transferred to Seattle, Washington to develop aerospace business from The Boeing Co. and open a warehouse in Portland, Oregon for commercial product. In 1970 I was transferred back to Los Angeles and promoted to Sales Manager-Western Region. In 1972 I was promoted to General Manager of the Los Angeles plant.

While in Seattle, I was fortunate to meet some really fine people and make good friends like Orv Niesz, Ray Bristow, Larry Stanley, Dave Kendall, Clyde Kowallis, and many more. I never sold so many cotter pins and wing nuts in my life. I broke all sales records for National Screw.

I was also fortunate to travel to Alaska for National Screw and had several excellent distributors there. Originally from Port Townsend, WA, I considered the Northwest my home and will always remember the experience.

In 1965 National Screw was sold to The Monogram Corporation. It didn't take Monogram long to destroy the company, which seemed to be a trend in the industry at the time. One by one the fastener companies in the USA were being bought out by large conglomerates and later closed down because of imports and management not knowing or caring how to stay competitive.

I left National Screw in 1973 and joined Sierra Fasteners, Inc. of Montebello, California. In the meantime, Monogram sold the main National Screws plant in Cleveland to R.B. & W. and then Monogram was acquired by Nortek Corp. (R.B.& W later closed the plant). The plant in Los Angeles was sold to the management, which discontinued all commercial production and concentrated on aerospace products. The last I heard, it was doing quite well.

Sierra Fasteners, Inc. was incorporated in 1965 by Bob Costello and Bob Jensen, both National Screw salesmen who didn't want to work for Monogram and who left to start Sierra Fasteners, a full line fastener distributor and producer of bonded sealing washers.

Soon after I joined Sierra, we purchased our first automatic assembly machine to assemble the bonded sealing washers to screws for the Metal Building market. This seemed to be a niche in the market that was missing in the West and the business developed quickly. We discontinued selling standard bolts and nuts and concentrated on the self drifting and tapping screws assembled with sealing washers.

In I978 Sierra purchased Building Fasteners, Inc. in Tulsa, OK. In 1980 we opened a warehouse in Portland, OR and later opened warehouses in Houston, TX and Atlanta, GA. In 1989, Sierra Fasteners, Inc. merged with Construction Fasteners, Inc. from Wyomissing, PA.

After my agreement with Construction Fasteners, Inc. was completed in 1994,1 did what all fastener people do; I became a Manufacturers Representative! The only thing I did different was sell USA made products into Mexico and Central America.

This has been a real challenge, especially when I don't speak the language.

All in all, I have enjoyed my years in the fastener business and I believe I have seen about all sides of it and all the in's and out's there are. I have met some great people who are friends to this day. I have also lost several who have passed on. They will be missed, but not forgotten.
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