Tomorrow, August 8, 2019; JADCO Manufacturing Inc. celebrates our 39th birthday.

Here are excerpts from a recent interview with our founder, James A. Davison about how the company has grown since it was started on August 8, 1980.

Jim Davison went to work for Ryerson Steel in Chicago for 12 years after graduating from Westminster College in 1965. After leaving Ryerson he was a manufacturer’s representative for a wear resistant steel company.

At that time, it was known as James Davison Company Inc., where he represented different companies. Over the years, he hired a few sales people and added several other product lines aligned to support the coal mining industry.

He was 37 years old when he started JADCO after his rep agency was replaced when the steel company decided to hire direct employees.

Working with Lukens Steel*, Jim developed a proprietary line of through hardened wear resistant steel, buying a truck load of steel at a time. That was the start of JADCO QT Plus ®, our high Nickel alloy steel wear resistant plate.

JADCO would have never happened without Lukens, who was a family oriented steel mill. They were the premier heat treat specialists in the country then, and still are today.

Other steel mills have attempted to compete in this market, but today Arcelor Mittal is still the company who makes armor plate for the US military. They are also the only steel mill to make QT Plus ®.

Having JADCO QT Plus ® made in America, and all of the Chromeweld Family of clad products made in our Zelienople, PA facility; is a source of great pride to Jim and every one of JADCO’s employees.

Where many steel distributors sell whatever abrasion resistant plate is available at the lowest price this week, every single plate of JADCO QT Plus ® is made to our unique formula specification. This means our customers can rely on it for same performance every time.

While Arcelor Mittal may make 100,000 tons of commodity AR400 steel annually, JADCO QT Plus ® is made exclusively for JADCO in smaller quantities. This way the quality and hardness of each individual QT Plus ® plate are tightly controlled.

Early on, the steel shipments were staged at a friend’s fabrication shop. There they unloaded the steel, cut it to size and shipped it out to the customers. Gradually Jim invested in the equipment needed to handle and cut the steel to size.

The first JADCO building was built in 2006, and the second building went up in 2012. That was quite an accomplishment at the time, considering how the 2008 recession greatly impacted the steel industry.

By including the JADCO employees in decision making which determines the direction of the company, everyone is involved and all benefit. Jim believes in treating people like they are family, hosting different events and picnics each year.

This may be the reason why many employees have been with JADCO for some time. John Acord was the first salesman hired in 1983, and he is still with the company today.

Perhaps Jim’s greatest achievement was hiring Sam Anderson as President in 2004 to lead JADCO. Sam had also started his career with Ryerson Steel.

In 2007, JADCO installed their first clad machine and began making the Chromeweld family of products. They now build their own equipment to make the clad products at the headquarters in Zelienople, PA, just North of Pittsburgh.

Scott Rife came on board as Vice President of Sales in 2009. Scott worked for Kennametal Inc. servicing the mining industry for many years.

Celebrating 39 years seems amazing to Jim, who says he has been incredibly lucky. He said if someone had asked him on August 8, 1980 if they would be celebrating 39 years later in 2019, the odds would have been 99% against that success. “Yes I’ve worked hard, but I have still been lucky.”

Congratulations Jim on JADCO Manufacturing achieving 39 great years!

The future at JADCO looks bright indeed.


Jim Davison with Sara Jacobs at the JADCO Manufacturing 2018 Christmas party.

* Bethlehem Steel bought Lukens in 1997. International Steel Group (ISG) bought Bethlehem in 2003 and Mittal Steel bought ISG in 2004. Arcelor and Mittal merged in 2006 to become the world’s largest steel company.