Volume 47, Issue 1 - January 2012


Cardinal Employee Found Dead on Christmas at Portage Plant

Thomas E. Roche, 55, of Portage, Wis., an employee at Cardinal Glass Industries' Portage, Wis., plant, was found dead early Christmas morning in the plant's yard area, says Detective Lt. Mark Hahn of the City of Portage Police Department.

"We dispatched around 2:45 a.m., because the plant manager called 911 to say that the employee was not seen for a couple of hours and was later found in the yard area," he says. "He was dead when we got there."

Three men from the police department, representatives from the medical examiner's office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Emergency Medical Service responded to the call.

Roche died as a result of an industrial accident at the plant, according to a December 27 Portage Police Department news release.

Police investigation revealed that Roche was working in a remote area of the outdoor yard, "disposing of large sheets of glass when it appears that they had fallen on him," according to the release.

Medical examiners performed an autopsy on December 27, and preliminary results showed that Roche suffered severe multiple internal injuries that were consistent with the scene.

No further investigation is anticipated by the Portage Police Department as no foul play is suspected, according to the release. OSHA, however, continues to investigate the case. "Since it's an open case, we can't make any comments," says Chad Greenwood, assistant area director for OSHA's Madison, Wis., area office.

At press time, calls to Cardinal's headquarters in Eden Prairie, Minn., and the Portage plant had not been returned.

Roche worked at the Portage plan for roughly 16 years, Hahn says, "ever since the company has been in business here."
ASI Ltd.

Suspends Operations
ASI Ltd. has suspended operations at its Whitestown, Ind., facility, according to a December 30 notice from ASI owner Ken Smith. "Management is currently reviewing its financial viability moving forward," according to the notice. "It is hopeful that we can re-commence operations sometime in the near future."

"The employees went in on Thursday [December 22], and were told that they were shutting down," says Mike Halstead, a former general foreman of ASI. "I talked to a couple of people on the field and in management."

The company building has been barricaded off with a fork-lift on one end and a mobile crane on the other, Halstead says.

"They can't take trailers out of there anymore," he says.
ASI employed approximately about 30 people in the office and more than 100 on the field, Halstead estimates.

ASI was listed in the 2011 USGlass Book of Lists (see March 2011 USGlass, page 30) as the country's sixth largest glazing contractor based on a 2010 sales revenue of $65.2 million.

AGC to Shut Down Line at Kingsport, Lay Off People
AGC Glass Co. North America of Alpharetta, Ga., will lay off more than 100 people at its Kingsport plant, says Chris Correnti, chief counsel for AGC. The plant employs about 300 people and produces primarily solar glass.

"The K1 line will shut down at that plant, but the second furnace will continue to operate, as will some of the ancillary operations there, like tempering," Correnti says. Whether the laid-off employees would be offered positions at other plants had not been determined at press time.

The primary reason behind shutting down the K1 line is that "the solar business has been reducing, and is being taken over by Chinese suppliers that offer products at cheaper prices," Correnti says. "So, there's not much demand for our product. The solar industry worldwide is in a significant slowdown. Combine that with the bulk of Chinese imports and it's a pretty tough business right now."

As a company, AGC America planned for these contingencies, Correnti says. "Hopefully, the architectural market will improve some next year and so will the solar market, so this particular decision will not have any more impact than anticipated," he says.

"We're still expecting to rebuild that line in the not so distant future, as the solar market picks up, hopefully in the next couple of years," Correnti says. "It's a temporary, unfortunate situation."

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