Wagner Foundry was founded in 1941 and is a 3rd generation family business, currently with Rick Wagner as the President. The Wagner Foundry does a variety of metal work and is a well-known casting specialist in bronze, brass and aluminum. Their castings are made from customer supplied patterns, to architectural designs to reproductions from period originals. The Wagner Foundry casts an assortment of products including machine parts such as levers, gears; tablets for building dedications or landmark designations; life-sized bronze statues and custom furniture.
Located at 1838 N Elston, the Wagner Foundry has the perfect location for their employees to commute in from the city and suburbs using the local buses, Metra, and trains. They love their proximity to downtown because it serves as a major source of business contacts. They also like being close to the airport, train & expressway for clients.
The Wagner Foundry loves the area because they are surrounded by similar industries, although they believe the area could be improved by bringing in large industry to the vacant sites and continuing the Elston PMD as an economic engine. They have concerns about the future of parking and congestion in the area.
The Wagner Foundry is unique because they do all types of casting work and they make a huge variety of products. Because their clients all have different needs, they never have a slow season! Key clients vary from suppliers to religious markets, to big name companies such as Kraft and Nabisco who need special machine parts.
Rick Gurrieri, office manager, recently attended the Ohio Park & Recreation Association’s trade show so he could meet potential clients in need of bronze plaques made by Wagner. Rick has attended a similar tradeshow in Illinois for the last 22 years, which has added to their vast list of clients.
When talking with Gurrieri about how NBW benefits the Wagner Foundry, he stated that NBW serves as an organization to give the businesses in the area a voice and provides information for Wagner Foundry to be aware of what’s going on in the neighborhood. His favorite lunch spot used to be the Riverside Café, and he now recommends Choppers.
In October of 2016, Wagner Foundry applied for the TIF 50/50 program to hire a new employee, Juan. Juan had no prior experience in foundry work and was trained by Wagner’s most tenured employee, Eusebio, who has been a mold maker for 30 years. The mold-making process includes quite a bit of muscle memory and practice to understand how to make a proper mold, so Wagner chose a shadowing form of training where Juan will work elbow-to-elbow with Eusebio to learn the specifics and become a detail-oriented mold-maker. Eusebio is extremely tenured and was been hand-selected to teach Juan the basic mold-making skills because he has produced some of their best products and has notable safety habits.
Juan’s first 3 months were intensive training, so with the TIF 50/50 program, the Wagner Foundry was reimbursed for half of Juan’s wages during training. Additionally, Wagner applied for OSHA and additional safety trainings with TIF 50/50, as they have a huge focus on safety and have never had a recordable injury. In total, the Wagner Foundry received $6,500 reimbursed for investing in training their 10 employees!
Juan lives at 18th St & Damen and has never had a job like this before. He immediately liked the job and found that the hardest part of the job has been the small details he has to learn. Eusebio and Juan had a bit of fun while training! Pictured below from left to right, Eusebio, Juan and Rick Gurrieri.