FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Metals might never have started without a helping hand. Now, the company’s plan to return the favor is underway.
The first employees hired as part of the James Project are at work in the company’s newest facility. CEO Scott Glaze told WANE 15 last year the company located in the old Mr. Wiggs on Hannah Street intentionally. “Because there aren’t a lot of businesses in the area, it’s very hard for residents to find jobs.”
The James Project is named after the man who first helped company founder Ardelle Glaze find his first job. Fort Wayne Metals posted the story on Facebook.
When Ardelle Glaze, age 12, admitted to stealing pecans from James Bakery in 1922, the owner, Roy McKinley James, did something that changed Ardelle’s life – for the better. He gave Ardelle the opportunity to work off his debt by employing him at James Bakery. Mr. James became his mentor and helped Ardelle to succeed in school and in life. This encounter propelled Ardelle on a path to do amazing things, including the creation of Fort Wayne Metals.Fort Wayne Metals Facebook
Scott Glaze, our Chairman and CEO, has long wanted to honor Mr. James and the influence he had on his Dad’s life – by paying it forward. The James Building, our newest facility located on the city’s southeast side, aims to honor Mr. James’ impact by providing people in an underserved part of our community an opportunity to good-paying jobs.
Michael Fernandez, 18, is one of the first new hires under the James Project. With only four weeks training, Fernandez is about to be launched into another Fort Wayne Metals location that provides wire to the aerospace industry. Much of Fort Wayne Metals wire is used in medical devices.
“It’s going inside people’s bodies,” Fernandez said. “It’s something that is very crucial to the medical field and it has to be taken seriously.”
It also aligns with Fernandez’s future. “I want to get into biomedical engineering,” he explained. “I live with my parents at the moment but as a teenager, I’m able to save up and look towards the future. With tuition reimbursement, I’m able to be financially stable but also support my family, have savings, and also go to college with a pretty good financial status.”
Fort Wayne Metals takes referrals from various southeast churches and Fort Wayne United. The company says applicants can live anywhere but southeast residents are the primary target.