Ron Lee McDaniel

Class of 1957

In 2009,  Ron McDaniel gave quite a nice gift to his alma mater, the University of Dayton.  He donated $1million to UD to help expand a program call “Flyer Angels”.  The 1957 alum of RHS and 1969 alum of UD was impressed at the national attention the program had garnered, ranked 4th in the nation in 2008 by the Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine.  We received notice of his generous gift from RHS classmate, Dave Gossett who sent in an article from the Dayton Daily News.

His gift will allow students majoring in entrepreneurship to experience first-hand investing in start-up companies of their selection and participate in the company’s expansion.  It allows the students the opportunity to study the company’s financial stability and participate in its growth.

His investment in the college’s program was made possible by his personal success in business.

As chance would have it the employment bureau sent Ron to Hayes Track Appliance for work after he graduated high school.  He worked for Bryce Hayes, son of founder Stanley Hayes for 14 years when he learned that Hayes had decided to sell the business.  From 1963-1969 Bryce had developed products and ran the company.  He had two sons who didn’t show an aptitude for the business and, because of health issues he wanted to sell.

History of Western Cullen Hayes

1855- American Signal Company organized to make items for the railroads

1895- the company became known as Railroad Supply Company

1903- RSC purchased Chicago Railroad Signal and Supply Company

1936 they developed the first automatic crossing gate in the US

1953 they were purchased by Western Industries

in 1968, they were purchased by the Federal Signal Corp

in 1970, the Federal Signal Corp purchased Hayes Track Appliance Company of Richmond.

Hayes Track Appliance had begun in Geneva NY in 1903 by Stanley Hayes.

In 1911, he moved the company to Richmond.  From that time until 1970, the company held more than 60 patents for their products.

In 1977, the Federal Signal Corp was purchased by a group of investors in Indiana and Rhode Island and the name was changed to Western-Cullen- Hayes Inc.

When Bryce Hayes decided to sell the company, Ron McDaniel convinced him to sell it to him.  Over the years, he had “been paid well” and had amassed enough assets to approach a bank to back him without shareholders.  He had received stock in the company for the 14 years he had been there and it had helped build his fortune.

Ron knew the business and could get answers to questions for Hayes, building his confidence in his knowledge of the business.  The sales department had dictated prices, decreasing profits.  He remarked that at that time they were selling a particular crane for $98,000.00 and it was costing them $119,000 to build.

His first task was to cut costs where possible and create new operations and products.  He commented that he kept existing clients and found new ones due to attitude.  He stated that if you have a quality product and offer customized information, your superior work will back the clients confidence in the purchase of those products.

When asked who else competes for customers with Western-Cullen-Hayes he commented that they are 3rd in the nation.

The business offices and two manufacturing plants are in Chicago, the hub of the nation’s railroad network.  The third plant in Richmond, located at 120 N 3rd Street holds about 75% of the market for its particular type of products.

The company does not do installations but educates it clients on customized situations and offers product to fit needs.  His inventory is generic to what every specifics they encounter, allowing them to keep current inventory that is salable.

Ron didn’t sit still with his UD diploma.  His earned a MBA at the University of Chicago in 1977 and is a CPA.

He has donated to Earlham College and to IU East at Richmond.  His gifts allow others the opportunity to begin a business career in hopes of attaining the success he holds.  When asked what his plans are for the future, he comments that he has worked with Western-Cullen-Hayes “for 52 years and hopes to be there another 28.”  He enjoys what he does and has confidence in his employees.  He states that they do not go outside the company for new hires, promoting from within.

He honored the Hayes family when the new company formed, returning the nationally known Hayes name.

He serves on the Hayes Arboretum board as its current treasurer. The arboretum was home to Stanley Hayes after he moved his family from 206 N 5th Street in 1915.  Hayes planted 285 acres of 147 varieties of trees and built a new home in 1924.  He left his property as a gift to Richmond.

He says he enjoys living with his wife Martha in Chicago, where he plans to continue to live there.  He also servers as a director for the Baler Corporation in Jacksonville Florida.








  380 Hub Etchison Parkway, Richmond, IN 47374

 (765) 973-3338