Graniterock Salutes Women’s History Month
Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015
Graniterock Salutes Women’s History Month – “Our History is Our Strength”
Graniterock’s history includes strong women who played key roles in leading the company over the past 111 years. In 1929, only days before the stock market crash that heralded the Great Depression, company founder Arthur R. Wilson died suddenly. His young wife, Anna Rhea Wilson, found herself majority shareholder and president of Granite Rock Company. Although she relied on the expertise of her stepson, General Manager Jeff Wilson, Anna had to make tough decisions to keep the company going during a very difficult time. Work was scarce and families faced hardship, but Anna persevered. A woman in a man’s world, Anna signed business correspondence “A.R. Wilson”.
By 1950, some in the industry expected the family business to soon be sold. Jeff Wilson had retired, Anna was of retirement age, and Anna’s daughters could surely not be expected to run the company. But to everyone’s surprise, in 1952 twenty-six year old Betsy Woolpert stepped up to take over as president and Chairman of the Board. Betsy eventually resigned in favor of her husband, Bruce G. Woolpert, but stayed very involved in the company and returned to full time work when her children were grown. Betsy was Personnel Manager for several years, became company president again in 1982 and later served again as Chairman of the Board.
Today it is not unusual for women to be found in our industry, but it is through the work of trailblazers like Anna Wilson and Betsy Woolpert that we are where we are now, and we salute them.
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