Chapter History

Chapter History

The ASM Alamo Chapter History Written by: Daniel J. Benac. P. E.
Updated by: Donald A. Norsworthy

The Alamo Chapter became an official ASM chapter in April of 1962. The main organizers of the Chapter included Bob Wiley who would later die in a tragic airplane crash, H.G. Fraunhofer, Charles R. McGrail, Bob Brown, A. L. Lowenberg, Herman Burghard, Elwood Norris, and Henry Davila. Herman Burghard, Chairman in 1967-1968, and 1986-1988 and a staff engineer at SwRI remembers, "The local chapter provided a forum to share technical problems; one of the hot topics was related to the construction of power plants. No welding society was in place, so the ASM Alamo Chapter was a place to meet other technical people, exchange ideas, and provide technical training to address real problems." The Alamo Chapter still functions today to meet other technical people, exchange ideas, and address real problems.

The original ASM Alamo Chapter Charter

The membership in the early sixties was about 60 members; the peak membership was 160 in the early eighties. In the year 2002, the Alamo Chapter had a membership of 94. Since 1962, the Chapter has had 31 chairmen at the helm of the ship, but several of these served more than two terms. The leadership of these 25 men provided the energy, vision, and interest to keep the Chapter active and meaningful.

ASM ALAMO CHAPTER Chairmen, 1964 - 2013



H. G. Fraunhofer

1964 – 65

Charles R. McGrail

1965 – 66

A. L. Lowenberg

1966 – 67

Herman C. Burghard, Jr.

1967 – 68

Clarence E. Lautzenheiser

1968 – 69

Elwood B. Norris

1969 – 70

William Hawkesworth

1970 – 71

Henry Davila

1971 – 72

Harold F. Fears, Jr.

1972 – 73

Syl A. Visclovsky, Jr.

1973 – 74

Henry Davila

1974 – 75

Leon J. Rodriguez

1975 – 76

Fred F. Lyle, Jr.

1976 – 77

Wilbur R. Schick

1977 – 79

Orel H. Douglass

1979 – 80

Elwood B. Norris

1980 – 81

Dr. Ulric S. Lindholm

1981 – 82

Edward C. Zoloski

1982 – 83

Frank A. Fournier, Jr.

1983 – 84

Cip Mireles

1984 – 86

Herman C. Burghard, Jr.

1986 – 88

Wilbur R. Schick

1988 – 90

Swami Swaminathan

1990 – 92

Charles Serafini

1992 – 94

Daniel J. Benac

1994 – 96

Charles Serafini

1997 – 99

Ron McAlpin

1999 – 02

Daniel J. Benac

2002 – 03

Emil (Chuck) Tschoepe

2004 – 05

Ryan Mitchell

2005 – 06

Don Norsworthy

2006 – 07

Paul Redmond

2007 – 09

Mehdi Rahimi

2010 – 12

Daniel J. Benac

2012 – 13


As the Chapter matured it ventured out from the confines of the Alamo city and held Quad-chapter meetings with New Orleans, Houston and Dallas. "These meetings were always well attended," according to Henry Davila, chairman in 1971-1972 and 1974-1975, and a former worker at Kelly AFB. In the mid 1980's one of the milestones for the Alamo Chapter was to support the formation of a chapter in Mexico City, Mexico. This included many trips to Mexico, one of the favorite places being Monterrey, Mexico. According to Cip Mireles, chairman from 1984-1986 and a Kelly AFB worker, and Frank Fournier, Chairman 1983-1984 an owner of a pattern shop and retired life member, "The formation of the chapter in Mexico City and the Monterrey trips were highlights of their time with the local chapter." Even though the Mexico chapter does not exist because of the economic climate, the good memories are still there for those early members.

Over the years the Alamo Chapter toured at various businesses such as Sony, Dee Howard, Lone-Star Brewery, San Antonio Express News, and City Public Service. One favorite tour spot is CMC Steel Texas, formerly known as Structural Metals Incorporated (SMI). Nick Franzen, an employee at CMC stated, "We enjoy playing host to a variety of groups. Not only does a tour offer an opportunity to showcase its facility, but people get an appreciation for the process of steelmaking. The company also likes for the visitors to understand its important role as a scrap recycler.

The ASM Alamo Chapter bell that was rung to start the meetings.

The Alamo Chapter enthusiastically supports the education community, especially college students, encouraging them in the area of materials technologies and engineering. The Alamo Chapter supports two universities with scholarships: the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and University of Texas at Pan Am (UTPA). According to Dr. Bob Jones, professor at UTPA, "The Alamo Chapter of ASM has enriched the education of manufacturing and mechanical engineering students in the Rio Grande Valley by broadening their exposure to the technical world of engineering materials through a variety of activities over the last nine years. The chapter made a substantial contribution to the beginning of a materials reference library through gifts of ASM publications to the UTPA library early in the program's history. ASM has encouraged students to consider their long-term professional development needs through the sponsor a student program and by offering seminars at UTPA, either live or by video conference. The regular trip to join the chapter at its annual pilgrimage to CMC Steel in Sequin has been the highlight of the year for numerous students and never fails to energize a class for the remainder of the semester. Finally the annual Herman C. Burghard Memorial Scholarship is a very visible and tangible reminder of the chapter's commitment to materials education in South Texas.

Dr. Wang, professor at UTSA believes, "The local chapter has been an asset to the university students through many diverse opportunities such as, 1) the ASM Elwood B. Norris Memorial Scholarship awarded to one UTSA student each year, 2) the yearly factory tours for UTSA students in Materials Engineering class to local materials industries, 3) at least one technical seminar each year to UTSA students, and 4) ASM members providing internships at local companies for UTSA students."

The Five-star award certificate

Since 1962, the chapter has been committed to providing education and training to the local community and businesses. Courses have been conducted in the area of material processing such as welding, heat treating, and materials technologies of castings and forgings. Popular courses are: "Failure Analysis and Prevention" and "Metallurgy for the Non-Metallurgist." Wibur Schick (Vick), chairman from 1977-1979 and 1988-1990 employed at Southwest Research Institute, Kelly AFB, and StandardAero; has been a course lecturer and states the following, "Teaching has been part of the Alamo Chapter tradition from the beginning when Bob Wiley (Director SwRI Materials Division) organized the chapter. In the 70's we enjoyed a great amount of support at Southwest Research Institute where the majority of our membership was from. Many of the courses were taught there in the Material Sciences Division and in the SwRI Library top floor conference room. The following are benefits of teaching local courses: companies get specialized instruction for a reasonable price, the Alamo Chapter makes money useful for Chapter scholarships, the instructors get good course material and the opportunity to develop presentation skills that are useful many times over, and there is live interaction with the class which beats watching a video every time. The Alamo Chapter has been blessed with the bonafied experts and talent that we have in San Antonio who are willing to contribute their part to making these courses a great success."

UTSA and UTPA students at SMI Tour

The Chapter has been challenged with changes in the business climate and the diversity and distance between members. Kelly AFB was always a major participant in the meetings, but in mid 1990s the base was officially closed and many of those members either retired or transferred, which affected the chapter greatly. Another challenge that the Alamo Chapter faces is to stay in touch with its members who extend from San Antonio to Austin, to Seguin, and to the Rio Grande Valley near McAllen and Brownsville. In more recent years, with the advent of communication by wire, the Alamo Chapter has kept in touch with the members about new items and activities through email and a new website ( that was launched in 2003. The chapter has adapted to the many changes and is still running strong, indicated by the fact that the ASM Alamo Chapter was designated as a Five-Star Award winner from 2001 to 2012.

The ASM Alamo Chapter has a great heritage and has great members to make it a great local chapter. The future success of the chapter will depend upon the executive committee leadership as they continue to meet the needs of the local membership and as they are on the leading edge of material technologies. Through effective leadership and communication the ASM Alamo Chapter will continue to make a difference in the community and the life of the members.

The following is a list of Alamo scholarship recipients since 2002:

2002:   Scott M. Geister, Jason E. Sattler and Veronica M. Serrato
2003:   Jeanette De Leon and Nurit Hernandez
2004:   Mey Lin Cabrejos and Rogelio Benitez, Jr.
2005:   Christopher Long, Gary Weston Allen and Tom Petty
2006:   Rugved Nakade and Joshua Wilkins
2007:   Gary Weston Allen and Wasiela Salinas
2008:   Samantha Salinas and Rugved Nakade
2009:   Shesh Narayan Das Vaishnav
2010:   No Applicants
2011:   No Applicants
2012:   Suzanna White and Jacob James
2013:   Luke Keller and Luz Sotelo