because they believed in them. Companies would
shake hands, roll up their sleeves and make the
impossible possible. And if a company made a
mistake, they would own up to it, and get it fixed.
It seems a far cry from today’s business
environment, littered with 300-page contracts
stipulated by liability rather than substance, where
finger pointing becomes the first reaction when
anything goes wrong.
The new St. Marys Cement renovation in
Charlevoix would make a connection to this
earlier time, an older and arguably better
generation. It would also signify the beginning of
the bulk loading spout industry in Charlevoix,
which stemmed from a relationship Midwest
shared with Medusa in Detroit, Michigan.
In fact it started in the late 1960s on a cocktail napkin at Sinbad’s Bar and Grill on the Detroit River. On that cocktail napkin, Ron and Hayes Jensen, an engineer from Medusa Cement designed what would later become the MC22 bulk loading spout, a much needed answer to the problematic
dust emitted during the loading process; a problem that was worsening as silo withdrawal technologies were yielding higher loading
capacities. The loading spout provided a standard approach to dust-free loading and would make all other loadout apparatuses at the time obsolete.
As Ron Pair Enterprises began manufacturing these dust free loading spouts for Medusa, Peerless, and Huron Cement in the Detroit area during the late
1960s and early 1970s, it was that grand project surrounding the
Medusa Charlevoix plant that would help bring the bulk loading
industry to Northern Michigan.
Today, as the renovation at St. Marys Cement takes effect, and
the new Midwest spouts begin their next 40-year voyage, it’s hard not to appreciate the efforts of a past generation and their
contributions to our industry. It’s been a long time since my first
days at Midwest, sitting in that dark little room, plugging away at
books. But for a company that has been through the thick of it,
and the family as well, we are ready, willing, and prepared for
anything that comes our way.