40 years of work deserves recognition
Leada Gore, Editor
For all of my life, my dad worked at American Cast Iron Pipe Company, known as ACIPCO by most who are aware of the Birmingham pipe manufacturer. Some of my earliest memories involved seeing my dad leave for work, silver hard hat in one hand, lunch pail in the other.
The everyday scene made such an impression on me that I decided to wear the same outfit at my first grade career day. I donned a flannel shirt, lunch pail and hard hat with my name on it.
I won my grade's award, probably because seeing a small girl in a hardhat was a strange thing, especially in the early 1970s.
ACIPCO was more than just a place to work. Like the old mill towns or mining villages, it was a community. Our dentists and doctors were there at the on-site medical clinic, as was our pharmacy. There was even a commissary, where, if you were good during one of the visits to the dentists or doctor, you could go get a treat after you were finished.
The company had a magazine and, each year, featured the football and cheerleading photos of the employee's children. It was quite an honor when your picture was included, especially if they mentioned the 75-pound Smith Cougars won last year's metro league championship.
My dad landed his job at ACIPCO because he was a good baseball player and helped the company's industrial league team win games. Even after he quit playing, he coached or played for their various teams. I was even a bat girl for one team, proudly wearing my red and blue uniform that matched the team's.
ACIPCO meant a lot to my family through the years. It helped pay for school field trips, prom dresses, first cars and college educations. We held our breaths each time we heard of an industrial accident that claimed someone's life in the large machine shop and read with pride as ACIPCO was once again named one of the best places to work in America. We always pointed it out when we drove past its north Birmingham location and looked to see if it was ACIPCO pipe loaded on the back of the truck passing us on the interstate.
For 40 years, Dad worked at ACIPCO. He retired last Tuesday.
We celebrated the retirement at a small family party last Sunday.
He showed us his new gold ring, complete with four diamonds surrounding an ACIPCO "A" – one diamond for each decade of service.
"They don't give out many of these any more," he said.
Retirement will be an adjustment for Dad. It's hard to change your routine when you're used to doing the same thing for 40 years. I'm sure he will adapt, though, and enjoy his time off. He certainly has earned it.