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ITA lauds Career of Walter Herman with Lifetime Achievement Award

The International Titanium Association has selected Walter E. Herman as the recipient of its prestigious 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his many accomplishments during a distinguished 60-year career in the titanium industry.

Herman’s resume traces the early development of the titanium industry, from the Cold War days of the 1950s and through the decades of commercial development. Those that nominated him for the Lifetime Achievement Award provided glowing reviews of his extensive contributions to the titanium industry. Gordon Armitage, president, Hi Tech Alloys Inc., Walnut Creek, CA, cited Herman’s contributions related to development of the first industrial electron beam cold hearth melting process (EBCHM) for removal of high- and low-density inclusions from recycled titanium as one the highlights in Herman’s career.

“Walt played a key role in the development of EBCHM to minimize the occurrence of melt-related defects in titanium alloys. This was extremely important to the aerospace engine industry due to some rather spectacular failures of disks on aircraft engines.”

As for new and imaginative uses for titanium, Armitage pointed to Herman’s work in the development of corrosion applications for titanium used in the chemical and metal finishing industry. “One of the most significant technical achievements Walt achieved was the development of corrosion applications for titanium for the plating industry.”

Born May 6, 1928, Herman grew up in Kinsman, OH, just a stone’s throw from the Pennsylvania border. After a stint in the Army he enrolled in the University of Cincinnati and graduated in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in metallurgical engineering. After graduating, Herman landed a job as a metallurgist at Mallory Sharon Titanium, which was based in Niles, OH, and doing early work in titanium production. There were various iterations of the Mallory Sharon Titanium business, thanks to partnerships with other industrial companies like U.S. Steel and National Distillers. Not long after Herman came on board, National Distillers brought a titanium and zirconium sponge plant into the corporation. In addition to titanium, the company, which became known as Reactive Metals, began processing both metals. All of this activity in Niles served as a precursor to the eventual formation of RTI International.

In an effort to broaden titanium’s businesses opportunities, Herman became involved in non-aerospace commercial applications, such as the chemical processing industry. Working in commercial market development for RMI, Herman said he’s especially proud of his accomplishments in developing titanium components for the highly corrosive nickel plating process.

He stayed with RMI for nearly 24 years, last serving as manager of customer technical services. In 1977 he accepted a position with Viking Metallurgical and moved to Verdi, NV, where the company was exploring EBCHM technology as a system to recycle valuable titanium machine turnings.

Herman retired in 1992 and said he still follows the titanium industry. He feels supply chain consolidation, which has unfolded in recent years, is a positive development. “I think the titanium industry is going in a good direction,” he observed.

Mr. Herman will be presented with the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award on October 5th in Orlando, Florida at the TITANIUM Conference, the 31st annual meeting of the International Titanium Association.

Edward Sobota is President of TSI Titanium and is the 2015 Awards Committee Chair of the International Titanium Association. 2015 Committee Members: Stanley Abkowitz, John Andrews, Paul Bania, Rodney Boyer, Robert Hill Jr., Harry Rosenberg, Max Schlienger, Stanley Seagle, James Williams.

ITA Contributor Michael Gabriele is an independent freelance writer on behalf of the International Titanium Association (ITA) Jennifer Simpson is the executive director of the International Titanium Association (ITA)


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