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Leadership team members at American Zinc Products keep us growing to achieve sustainability by sticking to our Core Values of Safety, Integrity, Teamwork, Drive for Results, and Customer Focus. They set the standard for our day-to-day operations and further into our future goals. Learn more about each of them here.

Michael Griffin

President and Chief Executive Officer

Mike Griffin has been with American Zinc Products since 2017, when he joined the company as the Chief Operating Officer. Prior to that, he worked in numerous roles in the Primary Aluminum industry, including Primary Metals Business Unit President at Noranda; CEO and Vice President of Operations for Ormet Aluminum; Alcoa Lakes Charles Carbon Plant Manager; Alcoa Becancour, Quebec, Canada Operations Manager. Prior to this, Griffin held multiple management, operations, casting, supervisory, and technical roles at Reynolds Metals Company. In total, he has over thirty-five years of experience in all aspects of the primary metals industry.


  • Bachelor of Electrical and Power Engineering, Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY
  • Licensed Professional Engineer

Kobus de Wet

Vice President and General Manager 

De Wet joined our team in Rutherford County in 2015. He is a 20-year industry veteran, having begun his career in the metals and mining industry in South Africa. He began his career as a key member of the team responsible for the development of the Skorpion Zinc Project, the first application of zinc solvent extraction and electrowinning to treat a primary ore. This is the same process used at the facility here in our Rutherford County facility, only we work with solely recycled materials.


  • Ph.D., Metallurgical Engineering, University of Pretoria
  • Honors Degree, Mining Engineering, University of Pretoria

Roselynne Bud Lawen

Safety and Training Manager 

Lawen joined AZP in Oct 2018. She has worked in the field of safety at multiple facilities such as Bausch & Lomb and BMW (Facility Services contract) in a variety of roles. She started her safety journey at Auburn University’s Hazardous Waste Management Lab before moving to Greenville, SC. Her journey has involved writing safety data sheets, being a lab safety officer, leading an emergency response team, and such. She drives safety at our site for each task, each workday, and each quarter to continue to improve our performance.


  • Bachelor of Science, Chemistry focused in Biochemistry, Auburn University
  • Master of Science, Occupational Health & Safety – Environmental Management, Columbia Southern University

Michael Zelesko

Site Execution Manager 

Zell has been on the Rutherford team for 8 years and counting. He began work on our team as the Manager of Maintenance and Engineering; as we continued to grow, he assumed his current role of Site Execution Manager. His essential role is to oversee the timely and quality completion of projects across our entire 300-acre site. Michael has 22+ years of experience in utilities and maintenance management roles.


  • Bachelor of Science, Industrial Business Management, The University of Akron
  • Master of Science, Environmental Engineering, The University of Findley

Simon Joy

Operations Manager 

Joy began working with the AZP team in 2015 as the Superintendent of our Leaching Process and earned the role of Operations Manager in 2019. Prior to his time at AZP, he worked for the mining corporation Freeport-McMoRan in a number of operations and technical roles. His role as our Operations Manager is to see that all operational areas are working in a safe, efficient, and environmentally compliant manner.


  • Bachelor of Applied Science, Metals and Materials Engineering, University of British Columbia

Charles Howell

Environmental Manager 

Howell has been with American Zinc Recycling since July 2012, working first at our Rutherford County facility, transferring to our Recycling Facility in Rockwood, TN, and now is back home in Rutherford. He has worked in the environmental field for 10 years.


  • Bachelor of Science, Natural Resources Conservations & Management, Western Carolina University

Jay Bishop

Project Manager 

Bishop began working at our Rutherford Facility in 2013, and has held a variety of positions such as Superintendent of Site Services, Superintendent of Solvent Extraction and Bleed Treatmen, and Maintenance Manager. Jay has always had a focus on ensuring proper maintenance is completed to ensure our process can run as designed, and serves us well as our Project Manager. Before joining the team he worked at United Southern Industries as Vice President of Operations.


  • Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Gardner Webb University

Barry Fitzgerald

Procurement Manager 

Fitzgerald is a 30-industry veteran in the metals and mining industry and has been with the Rutherford County team since construction began. Barry oversees all purchases made on behalf of AZP, and ensures they are in the best interest of our operation. Prior to joining our NC team, Barry started his career with the company as a zinc miner for 10-years and then relocated to the Corporate office in Pittsburgh for 15-years, where he assumed the role of the Purchasing Manager.

Joey Cashwell

Technical Manager 

Cashwell began working at our Rutherford Facility in 2012 and has held several positions such as Sr. Process Engineer, Operations Superintendent, and Commissioning Manager. Joey is responsible for ensuring our process runs as designed and meets efficiency requirements. Prior to joining our team, he worked at Freeport-McMoRan Morenci Hydrometallurgical Operations as a Metallurgist.


  • Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering, University of South Carolina

Kendall Oliphant

Process Quality Manager 

Having joined our team in 2012 as a Senior Process Engineer, Oliphant has always had a keen awareness of our emphasis on producing high-quality metal and co-products. Kendall manages our reagents, production reporting, and metal accounting. He also oversees the laboratory, which analyzes plant samples to keep the process running well. Prior to joining our team, Kendall worked at Freeport-McMoRan in Morenci, Arizona as a Senior Metallurgist.


  • Bachelor of Science, Metallurgical Engineering, University of Utah
  • Master of Business Administration, Brigham Young University

Martin Houge

Plant Controller 

Houge joined the team in 2015 as Plant Controller. He previously worked in financial management positions in the chemical process and other manufacturing enterprises as well as spending 10 years in Public Accounting. His primary role at AZP is to manage and control costs and provide useful financial information to others on the management team at Rutherford County and in our Corporate Offices.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Accounting, California State University


  • Public Accountant

Stephen Fisher

Human Resources Manager 

Fisher began working at the Rutherford County facility in 2015, as our Human Resources Manager. Prior to joining our team, Steve worked for many years as a labor and employment attorney in Greenville, South Carolina. His duties with our team include overseeing all human resources, employee relations, and recruiting functions at AZP.


  • Bachelor of Science, Wofford College
  • Juris Doctoral, University of South Carolina

Alex Ferrari

Maintenance Manager

Alex joined the Rutherford Facility in 2022 as the site Maintenance Manager.  He is a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional with experience in program development and optimization primarily in chemical manufacturing.  His goal is to keep plant equipment safe and reliable through Lean Manufacturing Techniques and Continuous Improvement.


  • Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia
  • Master of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Balseiro Institute University of Cuyo
  • Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional