Celebrating 110 years

ALPENA -The Besser Company has a long history in Alpena, not only as an employer, but also offering educational opportunities, and supports and sponsorship of many local events.

On Friday the company that was founded by Jesse Besser celebrated its 110th anniversary as a business and its 60th anniversary in its partnership with the Alpena Community College concrete program. Hundreds of people attneded the party to enjoy tours of the plant, games, food and to pay tribute to Besser Company Chairman Jim Park.

Park, a tennis enthusiast, was recognized for his contributions at Besser and the community with a special tennis tournament that will be held each summer. The James C. Park Open will be held in Alpena sometime around the annual Michigan Brown Trout Tournament.

When Park stepped to the podium he thanked past and present Besser board members, employees, customers, suppliers and the Alpena community. He said Besser would be proud of what his business had grown into and the role it plays in helping to make Alpena better.

“Jesse would be so pleased to see how many people have come out to celebrate 110 years of the business he started. It was started a year before Ford did,” Park said. “I think Besser is now bigger than even he imagined, although he had a great vision for where this industry was going to go. He would be a very, very happy camper if he could see what is transpiring to day.”

Park said customers and distributors from all over the world came to Alpena to help celebrate the event Friday. He said he had the privilege to know Besser, and his father also worked at the plant. He said it is an honor to be recognized by the company and the public who was in attendance.

“It is so significant to have everybody here and I couldn’t be happier,” Park said. “We have had a great succession of leaders with Jesse, Phil Park and now myself and it is very humbling to see all this happen during my lifetime.

Park said the plant is in good shape and the market is rebounding after it was severely impacted by the recession. He said he anticipates great days ahead for Besser Company.

“We’re back on track after a couple of tough years because there wasn’t much construction going on in the United States,” Park said. “Things have perked up over the last two or three years and we are able to continue to make and sell the best equipment for concrete masonry.”

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.