Dave Carpenter, who founded the Electric Arc Furnace Dust Recycling industry in the late 70’s and as CEO led the development of the world leader, Horsehead Resource Development Corp (HRD), died on June 22, 2007.
Dr. Carpenter started his career with The New Jersey Zinc Company (NJZ) in 1963. He was recognized early on for his expertise in zinc oxide applications with improved semi-conductor properties. Amongst many accomplishments during this time, he developed coatings essential to the first NASA Mars landers. In 1976 Dr. Carpenter was named the head of NJZ’s Metals and Minerals Research Division and received several promotions thereafter.
In 1981 Dr. Carpenter, with other executives, founded Horsehead Industries, which acquired NJZ from Gulf & Western. Horsehead went on to acquire and develop several businesses’ including purchasing Great Lakes Carbon from the Skakel family. He was instrumental in growing the company into a Fortune 500 manufacturing company with over $1 billion in sales, serving as President and Chief Operating Officer until 1996.
Perhaps his most significant achievement was leading the development and commercialization of the EAF Dust recycling industry. EAF Dust is a hazardous by-product of the mini-mill steel industry that previously had to be land filled. Dr. Carpenter, in conjunction with fellow team members, developed a process utilizing pyrometallurgical and hydrometallurgical technologies to recycle all of the contained material for re-use. Horsehead created a separate subsidiary for this business, HRD, which Dr. Carpenter was CEO until its IPO. HRD was and remains the world leader having recycled more than seven million tons of EAF Dust.
Horsehead sold off a number of companies in the late 90’s with the original zinc and recycling business remaining. Dr. Carpenter, who had retired in 1996 and subsequently founded Riverside Management Group with his son James Carpenter, returned in 2002 when the company was in trouble and facing potential liquidation. He invested a significant amount of money, installed new management and saved the company. Perhaps most notable was that he realized he would lose his investment as the company needed to go through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to survive but felt compelled in order to save thousands of direct and in-direct jobs.
Dr. Carpenter was born and raised in Woodhull, NY. He went on to college attending Alfred University and earned a PH.D in Ceramic Engineering.
Dr. Carpenter was also active in his community and with charities. Amongst many activities, he served as a trustee and treasurer of the Palmerton Hospital for more than 10 years. He also has been a strong supporter of women’s sports through his personal sponsorship of the Stratford, CT Brakettes, the top amateur women’s fastpitch softball team. The Brakettes are an institution in the sport, as well as a community centerpiece, and have won 27 national championships. In May of 2006, he, and coach and friend John Stratton, received the Sterling Spirit Award which recognize sportsmanship in the state of Connecticut.
Dr. Carpenter was above all else, dedicated to his family and friends. He would credit his wife, Dorothy, for much of his success.