Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 by The Press in Local News

Phillip Retter

Mr. Phillip Retter was reared in Easton, graduating from Easton High School in 1988. At age 13, he started to work at his uncle’s garage, Fluerer’s Auto Body, in Nazareth.

He recalled, “I worked there after school and each summer. My father, Glenn, helped out and was on the pit crew of Al Loquasto, an Indy race car driver who drove the Frosty Root Beer car in the famous Indy 500.”

After graduation, Phillip worked at Einfalt Salvage Yard, starting at $4 an hour, running every piece of equipment, including loader, trucks and bulldozer, and working as a truck mechanic. After 18 years at Einfalt, he was hired by Smith & Hahn, a construction company that did work in our local cement plants.

With this experience, he was hired by Essroc as a millwright.

He said, “I was hired by Essroc, and in a few days, we were sold to Lehigh Heidelberg.”

Phillip is one of 18 millwrights who man two shifts at plant No. 1 and plant No. 3, the old Lone Star facility. The supervisors are Jon Hahn, Jack Santo, Todd Eck and Brian Jones.

He said, “Each day is a challenge, but I like the mechanical aspects of the job, working on equipment in the coal mill, preheater, crusher, packhouse and quarry. Mike Haberle and other employees have shared their experiences with me. Most employees live close to the plant, so there is a community spirit here.”

Each morning, a safety meeting — a tool box talk — discusses safety issues in the plant and the industry. Safety is always stressed!

Mr. Retter has had an interesting career racing modified cars from 1989 to 2006. In his 44x car, he has won 43 feature races on many tracks, from Flemington to New Egypt.

He remembered, “My largest purse was $12,000 at the Flemington Challenge of Champions race in 1996, but it is a costly sport when engines cost $15,000.”

Mr. Retter is very friendly and still enjoys working on automobiles. He enjoys driving one of his three pickup trucks with companion Stacey Cerino.

We wish Mr. Retter and all my friends at the Nazareth plant a safe and prosperous 2019.