Catasauqua Press

Sunday, November 17, 2019
Contributed photoGary Butko Contributed photoGary Butko

Cement Worker of the Month

Wednesday, September 11, 2019 by ED PANY Curator, Atlas Cement Company Memorial Museum in Local News

Gary Butko

Mr. Gary Butko was reared in Northampton, graduating from Northampton High School and vo-tech, specializing in masonry, in 1976.

Gary’s first job was with a bricklaying firm, earning $5 an hour. After a few years, he was employed by MCP, a metal company, for 18 years.

When the plant closed, he started his cement career at Lafarge, recalling, “I started on the tire dock, feeding tires into the plant’s kilns, later transferring to the labor gang and the pack house.”

Today, Mr. Butko is part of a nine-man packing team. Old-timers Jim Schneck, John Chimics, Bob Taniser and Jerome Nederostek all shared their skills with him.

The pack house runs two shifts loading trucks with Lafarge quality cements. Flatbed trucks carry loads of 520 bags. The pack house team consists of Ed Gassler, Ryan Morgan, Eric Cser, George Morgan, Bob McGowan, Glen Muth, Greg Schmalzer and supervisor Barry Schlosser, all excellent employees.

Cement is shipped to loyal customers in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut and Ohio.

Gary said, “I operate a forklift and work with a good group of co-workers. We work together packing and loading cement in a safe and efficient manner. There are two packing shifts. In packing, we daily meet many truck drivers and have developed a good relationship with them. Lafarge has provided us with a good standard of living.”

Mr. Butko is a humble, hardworking cement worker at the plant and one of this writer’s former students.

He has a daughter, Aubrie, and a grandson, Kaiden. Gary resides in Northampton and enjoys his trips to Cape May, N.J., the casinos and taking his Corvette to car shows.

We wish Gary and all my friends at the 120-year-old plant a safe and prosperous year.