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Metallurgist | Edensburg, Pa.
For 30 years, Rich McBride worked in the steel industry, melting down metals, making alloys. He loved his job but hated the insecurity.
"I went through two plant shutdowns," recalls the grandfather of five. "Mills were closing. The last one, I was working at for 23 years when it closed. I had enough of that roller coaster ride."
Determined that his next job should take a new direction, McBride actually turned down job offers from the steel industry.
"I wanted to get into something that helps get us off this dependence on foreign oil. When I saw gas going for $4 a gallon, I thought, 'There's gotta be more you can do than changing a light bulb.'"
McBride was working maintenance and grounds for the local school district when he got a call from Axion Power, a company that's developing batteries for hybrid cars. Axion was looking for someone with experience in melting metals to make negative plates for their batteries. A buddy on their maintenance team recommended Rich for the job.
"When they showed me what they were trying to do, I thought this was a good thing," says McBride. "GM and all are getting batteries from Korea and Japan for their hybrid cars -- that's not acceptable. These are American cars, let's make American batteries."
Idealism wasn't the only thing that lured McBride away from his secure gig at the school district. "Let's say they made me an offer I couldn't refuse," he chuckles. McBride lives on a 25-acre farm -- tough to sustain on minimum wage.
last revised 6/11/2009
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