First employee at Walker Forge in Clintonville retires
Mike Loberg has retired from Walker Forge after 36 years of service. Loberg was the first employee hired to work at the Clintonville plant on Dec. 8, 1975.
He has spent all of his 36 years in the hammer shop, operating the same machines that were in place when he first took the job.
His daughters-Jackie, Jody, Jamie, and JJ-paid him a surprise visit at work on Monday, July 25, to help celebrate his retirement.
“We wanted to congratulate him-and surprise him,” said daughter Jody Lehman. “There are not a lot of guys out there like my dad. He just does his job and doesn’t complain. He is always positive. He enjoys his family on his off-time, and we’re looking forward to his retirement so that he can do more of these kinds of things with his wife, children and grandchildren.”
Loberg’s wife Sandy said she is excited for her husband to begin his retirement years.
“I do not plan on retiring just yet, but I will have a list of things for Mike to do around the house,” Sandy said with a laugh. “We hope to do some travelling later, however. His children and grandchildren are excited about his retirement, not only because it was a lot of hard work that he did and many hot summers, but also they do lots of water sports in the summer and lots of snow sports in the winter together.”
Plant Manager Rick Recktenwald congratulated Loberg on his retirement and stated that it is rare for a company to be able to honor its first employee.
“Many times, you don’t get to meet employee #1,” Recktenwald commented. “Walker Forge remains a small, tight-knit family, and most everyone knows who Mike is. It’s pretty special that we are able to recognize Mike and thank him for his hard work.”
Loberg has forged about 6,830,200 pieces (185 pieces/hr. x 8 hrs. x 52 percent uptime x 250 days x 35.5 years). He has moved about 54,641,600 pounds with his tongs. This could be compared to bench pressing four sets of 10 reps at 140 pounds per day, five days per week, for 35.5 years.