UECo U Grant Series 1: Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing

The UECo U Grant program is part of the larger UECo U(niversity) effort to support our employees in their personal efforts at continuous improvement. We believe strongly that the company benefits when the individual skills of our team are enhanced.

Under the UECo U Grant program, employees can request funding for opportunities that foster inspiration and learning outside of the office. Employees have received grants for a variety of learning activities including a recent trip for several craftsman to the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing.

Craft team members Kevin, Jacob, and Nathan traveled to Waynesboro, VA where they were able to attend a special 2-day course at the Institute taught by co-founder Dale Morse to learn all about the methods used in traditional blacksmithing. After learning some of the techniques, the guys were quickly able to put their new skills in action to create their own designs out of old railroad spikes. By first heating steel in a handmade forge, they were able to take anvils and hammers to shape and stretch the metal into knives and bottle openers. In a very short time, they were able to understand the history and process of blacksmithing and bring that knowledge back to apply to future projects at headquarters.

In addition to running the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing, Dale is also a proprietor of Clay Hill Forge, an artisanal blacksmithing operation that specializes in architectural and ornamental ironwork.  Read more here.