Changing of the Guard: Doyle Collar announces his retirement from General Broach

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

They say the average longevity for a plant manager in America is about five years.

They get fired, they move on to something bigger, they leave the field completely—whatever the reason, no one seems to stick around in one place very long.

So what happened to Doyle Collar? How come only now, 34 years after being named plant manager of Morenci’s Eklund Broach, is he finally getting out?general_broach

It’s just time, he says. It’s time to move along and let someone else take control.

Doyle hired in at Wayne Production Broaching in 1961. He worked as a machine operator and also did some truck driving.

Two years later, he went across the street to Eklund Broach on the east side of Salisbury Street. Another two years passed before he was promoted to foreman.

In March 1968, Karl Eklund asked Doyle to serve as plant manager and Doyle has remained with the company ever since.

The firm moved back across the street when Wayne went out of business. Later, an addition was constructed, and last year, when a machine division was added, the company began renting 25,000 square feet of space at the former Morenci Rubber Products building.

It’s been a history of success and growth under Doyle Collar’s leadership.

“It’s been a heck of a ride,” he said. “I’ve seen the good times and the bad times, but I think this company’s going to be here a long time. We’ve got a strong foundation.”

General Broach now ranks as either the first or second in the nation for the production of perishable broaches. The company is the largest buyer of powdered metal (high-speed steel) in the nation.

Collar has known for a long time that the day for him to step aside was getting closer. He’s mentioned it now and then to parent company owner Stefan Wanachek, but the threat was always brushed aside. Finally, it couldn’t be ignored.

“The hardest thing I had to do was to spend about an hour with Stefan breaking the news to him,” Doyle said.

It’s not until the end of January that Doyle will walk out of his office for the final time, and that will be a bittersweet moment.

“Everyone wants to know if I’m going to enjoy retirement. I don’t know. I’ve never tried it,” he says in a typical Collar wisecrack.

But leaving the company won’t be easy.

“I think I’m going to miss the guys more than anything,” he said. “I won’t miss the meetings.”

Meetings don’t easily fit into the Collar management style. However, a good relationship with each employee does.

“Karl Eklund told me, ‘Doyle, you treat them the way you want to be treated.’ I never forgot that. If you don’t have a team effort, you aren’t going anywhere.”

He’s proud of his work force, including the new, younger workers.

“Don’t tell me the younger generation doesn’t want to work,” he said. “They’re working great.”

Of course he does his best to make sure he hires the best workers. Ask an employee about the job interview.

“I put the fear into them during an interview,” he said. “If they get through the interview, I figure they’re going to be good workers.”

All in all, it’s been a good match between Doyle Collar and General Broach, and he’ll go out feeling proud.

“I’d guess you’d say I’m pretty happy.”

    – Dec. 18, 2002 
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