Warren E. Fenzi
2001 Medal of Merit Recipient
Warren E. Fenzi was born in Santa Barbara, California, in 1915 and earned a civil engineering degree from the California Institute of Technology. He joined Phelps Dodge in 1937 and, other than time spent as a Navy Seabee during World War II, he spent his entire career with Phelps Dodge.
Fenzi started at the Morenci Branch as an engineer when the company was beginning its massive open pit development. In 1947, he was appointed as General Superintendent at Morenci. He moved to Douglas ten years later to become Assistant to the General Manager of Western Operations.
He relocated to New York in 1957 as assistant to Phelps Dodge President Robert Page. However, he remained a westerner at heart and was known for wearing his trademark Stetson hat. In 1963, Warren Fenzi was appointed a Vice President of Phelps Dodge and became Executive Vice President in 1966. In 1975, he was named President of the company. He retired from Phelps Dodge in September 1980 after 43 years with the company.
Fenzi’s legacy with Phelps Dodge includes helping to bring the Tyrone, New Mexico, and Metcalf (Morenci, Arizona) open pit mining operations into production, and bringing the Hidalgo smelter on line. He guided the company during the challenging operating environment of the 1970s when constantly changing environmental regulations, coupled with escalating fuel costs and sharply rising interest rates, made for difficult times in the copper industry.