Lincoln Legacies

Welding company loses two all-time greats
Omer W. Blodgett, 99, a pioneer in the welding industry and celebrated longtime employee of Lincoln Electric, died on Jan. 11 in Cleveland.
omerblodgettportrait

Omer Blodgett

Blodgett, who spent 60 years at Lincoln, was considered by many a great authority on the design of welded connections. He retired from the company as a senior design consultant. During his tenure, he authored numerous manuals and textbooks for the arc welding industry and his seminars on welding were known throughout welding circles.

“We are indebted to Omer, who was a mentor to many,” says Christopher L. Mapes, Lincoln Electric’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “He left a lasting legacy in our industry and will be fondly remembered with great honor. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.” Blodgett became involved in welding when he struck his first arc at the age of 10 with his father’s Lincoln Stable-Arc welding machine in Minnesota. Through his high-school years, Blodgett worked as a welder at his father’s company and became certified as a welder for high-pressure applications in 1938.

Mr. Blodgett credentials were aplenty. His initial degree was a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering—followed by a master’s degree in mechanical engineering—both from the University of Minnesota. He then became a welding superintendent at the Globe Shipbuilding Company. Under demanding war-time production conditions, Blodgett learned firsthand how to solve welding-related problems, such as distortion and cracking, and met James F. (“JF”) Lincoln, with whom he would share a lifetime friendship.

After World War II, Blodgett joined Lincoln Electric at JF’s urging, first serving as a technical representative and later as a design consultant – working in both the mechanical and structural fields. In this role, he became the primary presenter of the Lincoln Electric Welding Design Seminars, which continue today and are named in his honor. Additionally, Blodgett frequently spoke on welding design at the American Welding Society (AWS) sectional and national meetings and conducted welding design seminars all over the world. During his career, he authored numerous technical articles and handbooks on design, including Design of Weldments and Design of Welded Structures. He was a licensed professional engineer in the State of Ohio, a fellow of the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers), fellow of the ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) and of the AWS. Other affiliations include Tau Beta Pi and Sigma Xi.

Blodgett also was a long-time member of and contributor to a number of professional organizations, including the AWS D1 Structural Welding Committee, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) Committee on Specifications, and the Welding Research Council (WRC) Task Group on Beam-to-Column Connections. AWS recognized his contributions in 1962, 1973, 1980 and 1983, when he was awarded the A. F. Davis Silver Medal for his work in structural design. From the AISC, he received the T.R. Higgins Lectureship Award in 1983, the Engineering Luminary Award in 1997 and AISC’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999.

In 1995, LeTourneau University awarded Blodgett an honorary Doctor of Science degree, in addition to naming the Welding Engineering chair in his honor. In 1999, he was named by Engineering News-Record as one of the construction industry’s top 125 innovators over the past 125 years, a distinction also given to John Roebling, Buckminster Fuller, Thomas Edison, Frank Lloyd Wright and R.G. LeTourneau.

EA is also saddened to learn of the death of Donald F. Hastings, a former Lincoln CEO.

Mr. Hastings passed away on Dec. 27, 2016, at the age of 88.

Hastings had a celebrated 44-year career at Lincoln Electric, which he joined in 1953 as a trainee in its welding school after earning a degree in economics from Pomona College and a master’s degree in marketing from Harvard Business School. Hastings held various leadership positions in the organization. In 1986, he was named president and served as CEO and chairman of the board from 1992 to 1997. During his tenure as CEO, Hastings achieved consecutive quarterly sales records through mid-1993 and celebrated achieving Lincoln’s $1 billion sales goal in 1995 – Lincoln’s centennial anniversary.

Don Hastings

Don Hastings

“Don Hastings will be remembered for his leadership and his devotion to Lincoln Electric during his more than 40-year career,” says Christopher L. Mapes, Lincoln Electric’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “We are indebted to Don and have lost a good friend, who will be fondly remembered. Everyone at Lincoln Electric extends heartfelt condolences to his family.”

During Hastings’ career and through retirement, he was involved in numerous professional organizations. These include serving as chairman and CEO of the Cleveland Council of World Affairs; an executive committee member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association; chairman of the International Trade Alliance; chairman of the Cleveland World Trade Center; and chairman and was a member of the board of governors for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). He also served on a number of professional organizations’ boards, including the American Welding Society (AWS) Foundation; Salvation Army Cleveland; Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University; and Lake Erie College.

Hastings was honored at the National Welding Supply Association’s (NWSA) annual meeting in 1997 and also by the Gases & Welding Distributors Association (formerly the NWSA) in 2009. The Cleveland Engineering Society recognized Hastings with its 1998 Leadership Award. In 2001, he received the AWS Counselors Award for outstanding service to the welding industry.

AWS has honored Hastings’ career in the welding industry with two scholarships. The Donald F. Hastings Scholarship is awarded annually to an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering or welding engineering technology. The second, the Donald and Shirley Hastings Scholarship, is funded through direct contributions made to the AWS by Hastings and his wife, Shirley, to promote higher education in welding.

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