by Office of Corporate Communications
December 9, 2015
The year was 1965 — the Los Angeles Dodgers were on their way to winning their fourth World Series behind MVP pitcher Sandy Koufax. Bonanza was the number one TV show and The Sound of Music was tops at the box office. A first class stamp was five cents and a gallon of gas was 31 cents. Just over five billion coins were struck that year by the United States Mint (a far cry from the more than 17 billion coins we expect to strike in 2015).
Things were quite different back in the summer of 1965 when Louis Massanova was hired at the Mint in Philadelphia. In fact, the current Philadelphia Mint building was nothing more than a vision and a large hole in the ground on Independence Mall.
Louis Massanova, the longest tenured Philadelphia Mint employee, was born and raised in South Philadelphia in an area known as the Italian Market. That’s where he quickly learned the importance of family and friends and the value of a good work ethic. Louis has been working since he was eight years old; everything from shining shoes to selling pretzels, to loading trucks. He worked his way through High School, graduating from Bishop Neumann in 1961.
Married to his childhood sweetheart, Joanne, and with their first child on the way, Louis was looking to advance. He heard from a cousin that the U.S. Mint was hiring. He eagerly applied, even though he had no idea what was produced at the huge granite facility on 17th and Spring Garden Streets. Louis remembers thinking, “I don’t know anything about making candy.”
He proudly recalls his score of 98 on the entrance exam. Louis was hired in August 1965 in the cutting section (now called blanking), earning $2.40 an hour. It was a good job, but it was also a pay cut, so he kept an outside job to make up the difference. Louis quickly advanced to become a Weigher WG–08, where he used a fork truck to lift heavy coin buckets and lower them onto scales.
It was during that same year that construction had begun on what would become the world’s largest Mint. Ground had been broken for the fourth Mint facility in Philadelphia; returning to Independence Mall just 100 yards from the site of the first Mint building. Louis was there to help build the facility from the ground up. Promoted to a trainee position in plant engineering, Louis worked for Tony Leone and Frank Rush. For the next two and a half years, he studied every morning and worked engineering assignments in the afternoon. Louis was proud when the Mint opened the doors to its new facility on August 14, 1969.
Half a century later, Louis works in facilities maintenance on the four to twelve shift. As a Utilities Repair Operator, he’s responsible for all utilities in the 650,000 square foot coin factory. “He’s one of the most dedicated, dependable and knowledgeable workers in this place. A great guy and a true asset to the Mint,” asserted his past supervisor, Sal Liberto. His current supervisor, Chris Pacetti, said, “Louis is always positive, always here, and he always gets the job done correctly, safely and on time. He’s one of the best to work with and at keeping this place running smoothly.”
Louis has seen many changes throughout his fifty year career; too many to recall. He’s extremely proud of the facility and his co-workers, and after fifty years, he’s even more dedicated to the mission of the Mint. “This job continues to get better. I’ve never had a bad supervisor over these past fifty years. And I’ve never had a bad day in this building,” he emphasized with a smile.
Congratulations, Louis! Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Mint, your co–workers and the American public. The Mint is a better place because of your efforts.
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