June 18, 2022
Alcoa’s Massena Operations celebrates its 120th anniversary
Site is home to the world’s oldest continuously operating smelter
Massena, NY, June 18th, 2022 - Alcoa Corporation’s Massena Operations is celebrating its 120th anniversary and its title as the world’s oldest continuously operating smelter.
Built in 1902, Massena Operations has a rich history of dedicated employees producing high-quality aluminum for the transportation, construction, defense and food industries. The plant has provided for families, served as a strategic partner to defense and aerospace industries and helped humankind explore the surface of the moon.
“I am so very proud of what Massena Operations has accomplished over these many years, all due to the hard work and dedication of generations of Alcoans and contractors,” said Alcoa President and CEO Roy Harvey. “Massena’s history is impressive – it has helped drive forward innovations that have shaped our industry and the world.”
A recent economic impact study, which was commissioned in connection with the plant’s anniversary, shows that the site’s approximately 450 employees also help make an impact statewide in New York. The study showed that the plant’s direct, indirect and induced effects contribute to more $150 million in payroll earnings.
“As one of the largest employers in St. Lawrence County, we’re proud of the economic and fiscal benefits that our operations in Massena offer not only to our employees but also to our neighbors and other businesses in the county and throughout state,” said Derrick Lucey, Plant Manager at Massena Operations.
Employees and their families, along with retirees and community stakeholders, celebrated the smelter’s anniversary on June 18.
Five generations - Matthew Vierno, an employee at Massena, stands with his father, Joseph Vierno, who was an engineer at the plant, his grandfather Michael Vierno, an Alcoa retiree, and the 25 year picture of his great grandfather Joaquin Vierno. Matthew’s great-great grandfather, Joaquin Vierno Sr. also worked at Massena Operations.
Retirees of Massena Operations helped mark the 120th anniversary celebrations. Shown is Alcoa retiree Arnold LaPlante who retired from Alcoa after 30+ years of service.
“This important milestone could not have been achieved without the tremendous work of our employees and the steadfast support of our community stakeholders and elected officials,” added Derrick Lucey. “Thank you for your dedication and passion in making the Massena smelter the success that it is today.”
Massena started producing aluminum soon after Charles Martin Hall, the inventor of the original aluminum process, signed an agreement to purchase renewable power from the powerhouse connecting the St. Lawrence and Grasse rivers. That sustainable electricity continues to power the smelting and casting operations today.
- On July 12, 1902, ground was broken in Massena, to form the smelter that has been at the root of Alcoa’s legacy of innovation.
- In 1934, Alcoa engineers and researchers developed a casting method at Massena that created larger and higher quality aluminum ingots that could be used in a greater variety of alloys, including those used for aircraft. The plant’s employees have produced aluminum for World War II fighter planes, Titan II rockets, Saturn IB space vehicles and Vietnam War helicopters.
- In 1946, the plant helped build the first aluminum bridge span in the United States on the nearby Grasse River Railroad Bridge.
- In 1969, Apollo 8 was constructed with a welding electrode from Massena Operations while the Apollo 11 lunar module contained Massena aluminum.
In its 120 years, the facility has undergone many changes and upgrades. In 1977, the smelter had the longest potline in the world. Learn more about Alcoa's history and legacy of innovation.
Today, the Alcoa facility continues its pursuit of excellence. Earlier this year, Massena Operations earned certifications from the Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI) for both its smelter and casthouse.
“Earning certifications from ASI aligns with our vision to reinvent the aluminum industry for a sustainable future,” said John Slaven, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. “This recognition for Massena is welcome news for the facility’s 120 years of continual production and the important work that our employees do there every day to consistently improve for the benefit of our customers, communities and the environment.”
The ASI Certification program is the most comprehensive in the industry, developed through a multi-stakeholder consultation process that defines robust environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and criteria, including key issues such as biodiversity, rights for Indigenous Peoples, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Alcoa launched the aluminum industry, and Massena Operations employees played an important role in that history. Now, Massena Alcoans are writing the smelter’s next chapter.