Global Fastener News

2003 FIN – No Parting Shots From ‘Loose Cannon’

February 02
00:00 2011

1995 FIN: Distributor Hayes Now Manufacturing Fastener Jewelry
March 31, 1995 FIN – Distributor Bill Hayes of Hawaii Nut & Bolt, Inc. has begun manufacturing fasteners – gold and silver screws and other fastener motif jewelry.

Hayes introduced his company, Precious Screw, at the Western Association of Fastener Distributors spring meeting by donating samples of his fastener jewelry for the scholarship fund drawing.

Several items are available now, and the first showing of the full line of jewelry will be at the Chicago Bolt, Nut & Screw Association’s September 12, 1995, Chicago Fastener Show.

Precious Screw is manufacturing sterling silver and 14K gold fastener jewelry and custom designed jewelry such as logo pins and pendants, registered insignias and employee anniversary items.

Products include tie tacks, cuff links, lapel pins, ear rights, collar points, belt buckles, pendants, rings, charms and medallions.

There will be designs with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, jade, and other stones, Hayes said.

“All work is being done by my Hong Kong master jeweler. All items are solid 14-K or sterling – not bogus plated,” Hayes said in a light-hearted reference to potential certification requirements with the impending U.S. Fastener Quality Act. “Certs are available.”  ©1995/2011 Fastener Industry News

February 21, 2003 FIN – He was widely known as a “loose cannon.”

He also has been called a “lighting rod” and a “thorn in our side.”

He temporarily became the focal point of deep divisions in the fastener industry, but in the long run he may have helped spur the unity the industry needed.

“I wish I had a nickel for every time I was called that,” Bill Hayes reflected on the loose cannon description. “It was not a compliment.”

“Things change, and you move on,” Hayes said of his role in amending the U.S. Fastener Quality Act.

After 32 years in the fastener industry he has put his Hawaii Nut & Bolt Inc. up for sale and is retiring to his lakeside house in a Montana forest. His feelings may be conciliatory today, but less than a decade ago he was unwelcome in some sectors of the fastener industry.

Some domestic manufacturers were livid after a Hawaii senator blocked last-minute action on two manufacturing-oriented amendments – chemistry and minor nonconformance – at the end of the 1994 session.

Hayes and other distributors were angered that the manufacturers appeared to be sacrificing the distributor-oriented third amendment on commingling.

The Industrial Fasteners Institute threatened to sue Hayes after he printed and distributed buttons with the IFI logo crossed out with the international “no” symbol at the Columbus trade show.

At that point it became “better for the industry if I backed out” for much of the rest of the amendment process, Hayes recalled. For several years he wasn’t even a member of the National Fastener Distributors Association.

Ironically, some credit Hayes for helping unite the industry.

Though a few sought to banish him, Hayes’ actions made cooler heads realize division was hurting the cause.

Indeed, congressional staff and the National Institute of Standards & Technology told the industry to go home and not come back until they were united.

With Hayes – a member of NIST’s Fastener Advisory Committee – away from the bargaining table, the industry started working together.

The IFI and the NFDA formed a working group, briefly dubbed the “Committee of 6” to develop an industry wide position.

The Fastener Industry Coalition, representing regional and related associations, appealed for three spots at the table. The group was expanded to nine members and became the Public Law Task Force. Manufacturers, distributors and importers sat down at the table together. Previously the lobbying effort had been primarily ad hoc. Hayes and numerous others, including Mel Seitz, Doris Johnson and Larry Stanley, had gone door-to-door in the halls of Congress trying to find senators, representatives or staff to listen to problems with the legislation signed into law in 1991 by then-President George H.W. Bush. Though the doorknockers found an ally in junior staffer Eric Fox of Sen. Conrad Burns’ office, talk about solving problems wasn’t what amended the law.

Hayes lamented that eventually it took money rather than the school textbook lessons of “How a Bill Becomes Law” to change the FQA. “It is based on your checkbook,” Hayes observed of 1998 campaign contributions and industry associations hiring lobbyists leading to the 1999 changes. “Write a check. If you want a favor, be prepared to pay. It is absolutely sad but true.”

Hayes also objects to the absolute power of a few members of Congress. He blames Rep. John Dingell of Michigan and his “arrogant” staff for blocking needed changes. A delegation including Jerry DeMars, Nancy Rich, Alina Agresto, Wally Olczak, Steve Schonholtz, Vickie Lester, and Hayes was told they were “irrelevant,” and they were “kicked out” of Dingell’s office.

Hayes’ congressional contacts told him that they understood the problems the law presented for the fastener industry, but they couldn’t oppose Dingell.

The eventual changes came only after Dingell lost his committee chairmanship, Hayes pointed out.

Despite his disillusionment with the process, he remains confident that “one person can make a difference.” Hayes recalled teaming with fellow FAC member Schonholtz in a “good cop, bad cop” relationship. “He was a heck of a negotiator,” Hayes credited Schonholtz.

Hayes calculates he spent $240,000 on the FQA fight, including many 10-hour flights from Honolulu to Washington, D.C.

He has a pallet of FQA history. “I’d be happy to ship it to anyone who wants it,” Hayes offered.

As he retires Hayes has no complaints. “I want to thank all my suppliers, supporters and ‘fastener friends’ for their backing through the years,” Hayes remarked. “Special thanks go to Mel Kirsner [of Pell Mell] for giving me a start in the industry.” He founded Hayes Bolt & Supply in San Diego and then Hawaii Nut & Bolt in 1979. In 1984 he sold his Hayes Bolt to his first employee, Suzanne Dukes.

In the mid-1990s Hayes also started Precious Screw to design and manufacture fastener jewelry. He has sold his inventory but retains the molds.

In the late 1990s Hayes built a house in Montana six and a half miles from a town and more than four miles from a neighbor. This winter he looks out over a frozen lake at the hundreds of birds, deer and other wildlife. “Going to town is a job,” Hayes said of the drive, mostly on gravel roads. He is enjoying his fastener memories. “Business has been good to me.” Hayes, who suffered polio at age 13 and was told he might never walk again, added, “Life has been good to me.”

His parting advice for future fastener leaders? “Work hard, be honest and make a profit. As they say, ‘nobody goes broke making a profit.’” ©2003/2011 Fastener Industry News.

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