Alfab President Danny Dicus talked about the 50-year history of Aflab, Inc. at last week’s Enterprise Rotary Club Meeting.

Alfab, Inc. President Danny Dicus spoke to the Enterprise Rotary Club on March 9 to discuss Alfab, Inc.’s 50th anniversary of operations.

Dicus broke down the history of the custom metal fabricating company that has been in operation since February of 1971. Dicus’ father, Bruner Dicus, and Robert Sanford were longtime employees of the Washington Aluminum Company (WACO) based in Maryland.

In the 1960s, WACO landing a large contract to build AM2 landing mats – portable aluminum mats used by the military to land jets in combat – but needed to find a place in the Southeast to produce the mats.

“The City of Enterprise had just built a manufacturing building for a trailer manufacturer but as fate would have it the trailer manufacturer backed out of coming to Enterprise and the city was left with a vacant building,” Dicus said.

Enterprise stalwarts Yancey Parker, Ben Anderson Sr. and Mayor Jug Brown flew to Maryland and worked out a deal for WACO to purchase the facility and begin building the AM2 landing mats in Enterprise.

“Bob (Sanford) and Bruner (Dicus) would come to Enterprise on a regular basis to oversee the contract but another young man – Carlton Speigner – oversaw the day-to-day operations,” Dicus said. “The contract was successful and went on for a number of years but eventually it came to an end, and management decided it would close the facility in Enterprise and move on to something else.

“Bob and Bruner saw that as an opportunity and cut a deal to buy the building and resigned from their jobs and moved their families to Enterprise and on Feb. 8, 1971 started Alfab, Inc.”

In the early years, Alfab, Inc. built metal stairs and handrails along with weldments embedded in concrete for nuclear power plants. Then, in the 1970s the Navy began soliciting for a company to manufacture AM2 landing mats for the Navy. Bruner Dicus and Sanford had left everything involved with the manufacturing of AM2 mats just as it was in the facility when WACO had operated it and with Speigner’s history overseeing the manufacturing of AM2 mats, and many of Alfab’s employees having manufactured them in the past, it was the perfect opportunity for Alfab.

“There was a small blurb on the front page of the Wall Street Journal that said, ‘Alfab wins $20 million Navy contract’ and that was a big deal,” Danny Dicus remembered. “That was a successful contract and there have been subsequent contracts and Alfab has been able to get all but one of them.

“The one company that beat us out went default and the president (of the company) went to jail for defrauding the government. The government came back and asked Alfab to finish out that contract, too.”

Danny Dicus started his speech at the Rotary Club asking what the headhunters of the island of Borneo had in common with Alfab. During World War II, U.S. troops crashed on the island and those indigenous headhunters not only saved the allied soldiers but built a landing mat out of bamboo trees so that allied forces could rescue the soldiers.

“The wild men of Borneo were committed to building an airstrip to complete the mission of rescuing those U.S. Airmen and the employees of Alfab are committed to building AM2 landing mats with zero defects to support the missions of our marines and warfighters throughout the world,” Danny Dicus said.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.