BSMaterials Science and Engineering, 1973
Willard has a generational history in materials science. His uncle, Charles Willard, started Willard Industries, a secondary lead refinery and manufacturing facility in Charlotte, soon after WWII. In 1958, with Clarence Willard’s (Laurens’ father) help, the Willard brothers purchased a small galvanizing facility in Harrisburg, NC that grew into Galvan Industries. Galvan is the company Laurens Willard now owns and serves as the president and chief executive officer. He has been with this family-created company for 40 years. The company has expanded from the original plant Charles and Clarence Willard began that was equipped with a 10′ x 3′ x 4′ kettle suitable for small parts to becoming one of the largest capacity job galvanizing plants in the Southeast, processing more than 30,000 tons of fabricated steel products a year. In its electrical products business, Galvan Electrical is the second largest manufacturer of copper coated and galvanized ground rods in the United States. Willard led the internal development and patenting of a unique copper plating process that produces heavy copper coatings directly from copper scrap utilizing dimensionally stable, insoluble, iridium oxide coated, titanium anodes. By developing and implementing various recycling processes, Willard also lead Galvan to achieve zero discharge status on its process streams. With 120 employees, Galvan Industries and Galvan Electrical manufacture and ship products all over the United States, Canada and Mexico, with exports to the Middle and Far East.
Under Laurens Willard’s leadership, Galvan Industries has received numerous accolades and awards for both companies, including the 2015 American Galvanizers Association(AGA) Galvanizing Excellence award in Building and Architecture for the Charlotte Douglas Airport parking structure, the 2012 AGA Lifetime Achievement Award for Metrolina Greenhouse, the Nation’s largest greenhouse in Huntersville, NC, the 2008 AGA award for Industry for the National Gypsum plant in Mt. Holly, NC, the 2005 AGA National Award For Excellence for a one-of-a-kind pedestrian bridge using hot-dip galvanized steel reinforcements in Greenville, SC, and the 2003 Excellence In Hot-Dip Galvanizing Bridge And Highway Award from AGA for its work on the Goshen Bridge in Virginia. Willard has also been active in the American Galvanizer’s Association serving on the Association’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.