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Former Novelis Boss Leads West Virginia Aluminum Plant

By Steve Yablonski

Buddy Stemple managed the local plant for nearly 10 years. He is still an Oswego homeowner but he serves as CEO of Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood

After more than four decades, Buddy Stemple, former works manager at Novelis, is still going strong in the aluminum business.

The family is fine, he said. His children, Stephen and Krisi, both reside in Burlington, Vermont. Stephen is a process engineer for Hazelett Strip Casting who make continuous casting machines for aluminum, zinc and copper. Krisi is a doctor of pharmacy at the University of Vermont Medical Center in the emergency department.

He and his wife, Carol, are “doing fine” and will celebrate their 40th anniversary this June. They still own a home in Oswego and Buddy is on the board of directors of Pathfinder Bank.

A fortunate career

“I have been very fortunate throughout my career. I have worked for great companies — and with great people,” he said.

He added he’s had “amazing mentors” along the way.

“Early on, I asked one of my mentors what his keys to success were. He told me that there are three things that will lead you to success. First, hire people who are smarter than you in their discipline. Second, provide them a clear strategy of where the business is headed so that they can make decisions on their own and know how to behave. Third, remember the first point; they are smarter than you,” he said. “I have worked with some amazing teams in my 40-plus years in the industry!”

Stemple started with what was called Alcan in 1983.

“I came to Oswego as works manager in 2000 under Alcan,” he said. “Novelis was founded in 2005 and it’s still Novelis today, as you know.”

He left Novelis in 2009 and spent the next four years in the Sultanate of Oman in the Persian Gulf.

“I was the CEO of Oman Aluminum Rolling Company. It was a rolling mill which we built and commissioned for Takamul, an investment arm of the Omani government,” he explained.

Oman was selected as the country because it already had an aluminum smelter, which was the source of the aluminum inputs for the plant, Stemple said.

He left Oman in 2014 and went to work as the CEO of Constellium Rolled Products in Ravenswood, West Virginia.

“We have more than 1,100 employees at Constellium Ravenswood. We support the aerospace, transportation and defense markets,” he said.

Constellium has headquarters in Zurich and Paris.

“Both are amazing cities to visit,” he said. “I occasionally get to do some site seeing when I visit — but the food and wine are always amazing.”

Stemple was born and raised in Ravenswood.

“My father worked for the company [Constellium Ravenswood] for 37 years and I actually worked there for three summers as a college student. It was under different ownership at the time by Kaiser Aluminum,” he said. “Carol and I both went to high school in Ravenswood and we still have close family in the area.”

This past fall, he was elected chairman on the US Aluminum Association, an industry association representing the North American Aluminum Industry Producers and Associate Members.

“I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time in Washington with Congress on behalf of the industry and I have testified in front of the International Trade Commission several times on trade issues for the industry,” he said.

Oswego connections

They still have many connections to Oswego and get back often.

“We still have our house in Oswego and I am still on the board of directors of Pathfinder Bank, since 2004. I attend as many board meetings in person as I can and then usually spend the following weekend in town,” he said. “It’s great to see Oswego today. The city is so vibrant and has many more opportunities. During COVID, we made many trips to Oswego as our only chance to get away.”

His job still requires a lot of travel and now many trips to Europe, as that is where Constellium is headquartered.

“I will admit that I enjoyed not traveling during the pandemic and since I have returned to travel, it’s nowhere near being the fun it was,” he said.

“I have worked more than 40 years in the aluminum industry and think I still have a few more left,” he added. “Although, I am thinking about other things I want to do and getting closer to the kids.”

His daughter-in-law, Amanda, “is due any day” with Stemple’s first grandchild (Hattie Stemple arrived on April 10).

“[Amanda] is originally from Burlington. They have been married for three years. So, definitely a lot of time in Burlington is in our near futures,” he said.

He spends his free time golfing, spending time for family and traveling to the family’s cottage in Canada.