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Hall of Honor 2004: R. Conner Warren

Sept. 9, 2004
Executive Vice President (Retired), Citation Corp., Birmingham, AL

They talk of the Triple Crown in horse racing, but this year’s honoree has his own triple crown. R. Conner Warren, retired executive vice president, Citation Corp., Birmingham, AL, is one of only four people who have served as president of the American Foundry Society (AFS), Foundry Educational Association (FEF), and the World Foundrymen’s Organization (WFO).

Conner, born and raised in Alabama, did not set out to be a foundryman. Instead he graduated from Auburn University in 1967 with a degree in Aviation Management from the College of Engineering. While an Auburn student, he worked as a flight instructor at the Auburn School of Aviation and as a graduate assistant academic instructor in Aviation Management. After graduation, Conner attended the U.S. Air Force Pilot Training Program and then flew the RF-4C Phantom for the Alabama Air National Guard. During his early flying career, he was a co-pilot for the late Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace during one of his presidential primary campaigns. Conner went on to earn nearly 6,000 hours of flying time in many types of aircraft.

Conner’s foundry career didn’t get underway until 1975 when he joined what is now Citation Corp. Prior to joining Citation, he worked in the industrial engineering department at Hackney Corp. for three years. At Citation, he worked in a variety of administrative, sales, financial, and management positions before assuming the position of Executive Vice President in 1979. He spent a majority of his career at Citation in the development of the company’s costing and pricing systems. In fact, he has published several articles on the subject of accurate costing as well as making many speeches on the subject. He was the 2003 Hoyt Lecturer at the 107th Casting Congress.

During his tenure at Citation, he gave heavily of his time to numerous industry-related organizations. Besides the positions mentioned above, he also served as president of the American Cast Metals Association, Cast Metals Institute (CMI) director, and president of the Alabama Cast Metals Association, a group that honored him with the Foundryman of the Year Award in 1991. In 1997, he received the Grede Award from AFS. This award is presented for “major contribution in the field of management, marketing, or education that has resulted in expanding the effective use of metal castings worldwide in the scientific as well as the applied field.”

Conner has also represented U.S. on the Executive Board of the International Committee of Foundry Technical Association (CIATF). With headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, the CIATF is an international society of national foundry technical associations whose goal is to support the industry worldwide.

Conner has been a loyal alumnus of Auburn University. In 2000, he established scholarships in Auburn’s College of Engineering and the Department of Aviation Management and Logistics. The R. Conner Warren Endowment for Scholarships roughly covers the cost of in-state tuition and fees for selected students in the College of Engineering and the aviation management students in the College of Business. To be eligible for the scholarships, students must demonstrate academic excellence and be U.S. citizens. Preference is given to Alabama residents. When the scholarships were established, Conner explained his motivation, “I believe strongly in education as the path to personal advancement and productivity. It is my hope that these scholarships will assist students in climbing the ladder of opportunity and becoming valuable members of society.”

Conner retired from Citation in 2001. He continues to live in Birmingham with his wife Dorothy, affectionately known as “Pug”. They have two children, Kim and Wade. All four are Auburn graduates.

Hall of Honor Inductees
Bernard N. Ames
*E. William Aylward Sr.
*Xarifa Bean
*George N. Booth
*W. Scott Brown
*Donald G. Brunner
Paul Carey
Samuel Clow
*Edward H. Cooley
*A. Stubbs Davis
*Herman H. Doehler
*Robert W. Eck
*Murvin Enders
*William E. Gephardt Jr.
*William J. Grede
*Joseph W. Harrison
Daryl F. Hoyt
Louis Iannettoni
Burleigh E. Jacobs
*Earl W. Jahn
Lyle R. Jenkins
*Greg J. Kedrosky
Ezra L. Kotzin
Lawrence S. Krueger
*Max Kuniansky
*Karl L. Landgrebe
*Walter O. Larson, Jr.
Carl R. Loper, Jr.
*George W. Mathews, Jr.
Paul H. Mikkola
*Keith D. Millis
Jack R. Moore
Henry M. Rowan
*Francis Schumann
Hugh M. Sims Jr.
*Glenn W. Stahl
*Vickie Van Steenberge
*Parker A. Stroom
John A. Wagner Sr.
John F. Wallace
*Ray H. Witt
*1992 Charter Inductee deceased

In 1992, FOUNDRY Management & Technology celebrated 100 years of publication and established the Hall of Honor, a perennial presentation conceived as a way to preserve and prolong recognition for men and women who have made significant contributions to metalcasting. In each of the twelve years since then we have devoted our September issue to elevate new members to the roster of honorees.

This recent tradition is our tribute to them, and so to continue it we are pleased to recognize this year one outstanding individual whose contributions to the industry are well known to his many friends and admirers. His route to influence in metalcasting circles was not direct. He was an aviator and then an industrial engineer before joining Citation Corp., where he was an administrator, a salesman, and a finance executive. He helped shape that company's accounting systems, and so became critical to the growth and prosperity of what is, after all, a metalcasting company. By his many contributions of time and insight he enlightened the metalcasting community through its professional associations. The foundry industry took notice, and now, so do we.
Robert Brooks, editor