Business Alabama: Wally's Bessemer Alchemy

TEXT BY GAIL SHORT • PHOTOS BY CARY NORTON

(Photo: CARY NORTON) Luke Evans and his dad, company founder Wally Evans, on the factory floor — where every Special Shapes Refractory employee starts work with the company.

Wally Evans tempered his arcane Special Shapes Refractory Co. in a recession. Fired by R&D, it flourishes with a growing list of big name customers, whose brands are shaped in glass.

Wally Evans, 66, knows a thing or two about running a family business. While growing up in Decatur, he spent many hours helping out at his father’s company, which manufactured aluminum and canvas awnings, patio covers and storm doors, among other products.

Fast forward to today, and Evans, the founder of Special Shapes Refractory Co. Inc., has spent more than a quarter of a century operating the privately-held, family-owned manufacturing enterprise in Bessemer.

Continue Reading