Founder and CEO
CMI Novacast sadly announces the death of our founder and CEO Paul Gouwens on Saturday January 23.
Born March 8, 1922 in South Holland, Illinois, Paul spent his life associated with the Foundry Industry. Paul received a B.S in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University, Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma honors, his post-graduate, metallurgical engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. He was also an Electronics specialist in the US Navy. He served in the US Navy during World War II in China and Korea. Except for his military service, Paul’s entire career has been in the casting industry.
From 1940 to 1957, Paul began his career in research metallurgy at Fahralloy Foundry, Harvey, Illinois starting as a Co-op student and becoming Technical Director.
From 1957 to 1966, Paul served as Manager, Foundry & Steelmaking Research at IIt Research Institute. He contracted with government and industry developing, promoting and managing research programs. Projects included utilization of waste materials, shaping of metal, molding aggregates, ceramic molding, alloy additives, powder production, pattern wear, melting problems, cast cutting tools, cast forging dies, high temperature alloys, centrifugal casting, cleaning techniques, refractory metals, thermocouples, high temperature reactions, radiography, monotype casting, grain refinement, inoculation and plastic casting.
From 1966 to 1971, Paul served as Vice President-Technology, with American Foundryman Society, with responsibility for all technical activities. He coordinated over 100 technical committees which controlled programming of the Casting Congress, monitored research, and promoted information exchange.
From 1971 to 1972, Paul was Managing Director of AFS T&RI (now Cast Metals Institute). His task was to implement its research and continuing education.
In 1972, along with his son Lee, Paul formed Cast Metals International to find good, innovative technology from around the world, and bring it back to the United States. Technology involved included the French Fluid sand process, the Japanese V-Process, the Renault low pressure casting process, and the French Electromagnetic Pump for metering molten aluminum.
In 1981 Cast Metals International became CMI Novacast Liquid Metal Systems to exploit the use of Electromagnetic Pumps for automated pouring of Aluminum. Later becoming CMI Novacast, Inc., this privately owned company continues to seek innovative solutions to the task of pouring all different types of metals including Zinc, Sodium, and Magnesium. Paul served as CEO until his retirement in 2008.
We will all miss him very much.
Lee has always had a dominant interest in technology and especially in applied electronics. As a boy, he tinkered endlessly with radios and TV’s, and often startled everyone by discharging perhaps lethal voltages from his Tesla coils. His basement lab was scary.
In college, he and a friend constructed and usually operated the college radio station.
He maintains an active interest in community theater technical plans, creating all kinds of illusions and mood enhancing situations. Perhaps this is similar to making aluminum pumps having no moving parts? Is it just an illusion too?
As President of a small company he also is fully involved in all management functions, ranging from accounting systems to production equipment designs, to modifications to tooling, to cash flow predictions.
It’s a life that requires many talents and yet continual pump and pump system improvements are always on his mind.
Since he officially joined the CMI Novacast team in 2011, there are few business functions Thom hasn’t been involved with. After working on the floor as a machinist and welder for several years, Thom moved into the office where he oversaw accounts payable and managed other HR responsibilities. In 2018, joined the sales team, which he now leads. He’s come a long way since he assumed his first (un)official role with the company at the age of 6: assistant bubble wrap popper.
Now, as sales lead, Thom supports clients, manages projects, and continually seeks opportunities to build CMI Novacast’s customer pipeline. He travels frequently to clients’ foundries to help get new projects off the ground and to troubleshoot issues when they arise. From spearheading experimental initiatives with international clients, to helping stateside foundries squeeze out as much yield as they can, Thom has been integral to ensuring all clients get the most out of their electromagnetic pumps.
Thom finds fulfillment in working through challenges with clients and helping them accomplish their goals. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time outside, gardening and grilling.
When Rob joined CMI Novacast in 2010, he brought with him a wealth of engineering experience. During his time with the company, Rob has built countless electromagnetic pumps and helped legions of clients move molten metal with safe, efficient automation.
As engineering manager, Rob wears many hats. Chief among his responsibilities is ensuring each CMI Novacast pump fits clients’ specifications and foundry layouts. He does this by designing new pumps – from conception, and with end use in mind – and building custom 3-D models that allow him to adapt existing pump models to the individual needs of each client. Rob’s unique value lies in his ability to leverage his extensive technical expertise and apply his deep knowledge of the principles of electromagnetism to create pumps that best suit a client’s application and foundry.
Prior to joining CMI Novacast, Rob worked with Mathews Company for 24 years, first as a mechanical engineer, then engineering manager, and, finally, plant superintendent. During his tenure, he also ran the Research & Development Department and managed outside construction crews. He holds a B.S. in Industrial Technology Engineering from Southern Illinois University.