Steel – it’s all around us. It anchors large commercial buildings, reinforces bridges, runs our appliances, and strengthens our cars. Henry Bessemer revolutionized the steel manufacturing process in Britain in the 1850s, which was a huge contribution for the Industrial Revolution. In the late 1800s, US steel companies adopted the Bessemer process for mass-producing steel. Therefore, steel demand increased as railroads, urban infrastructures and factories expanded. Through innovative advancements, America’s steel production has stood the test of time, and continues to be a major building block for many finished products and a source of income for many American workers.
During my most recent on-site client trip, I visited our long-time friends at Gerdau Ameristeel. The folks at Gerdau are some of the warmest, proudest, and hardest working employees I’ve met. First, I worked alongside Jeremy, who straightened and cut the rebar. Before we placed Jeremy at Gerdau about 4 years ago, he commuted 5 hours each day to his job in Maryland. Needless to say, he’s happy to work closer to home so he can spend more time with his family.
Then, I worked with Elliot (7 year Gerdau employee) who operated the crane that bundles the rebar for delivery. He also tagged and picked up rebar from each station. Elliot shared how Gerdau takes care of their employees – during the hot summers they stock the break room with fresh fruit and provide each station with coolers of water and Gatorade.
Gerdau also places a huge emphasis on safety. Before walking on the floor, I watched safety videos and had to pass safety tests. Despite the hot working conditions, I was required to wear safety glasses, ear plugs, steel-toe boots, a hardhat, gloves, and forearm guards. For safety reasons, they also reserve the higher skilled, machine-operated jobs for permanently placed employees. Not to worry – you can still get your hands dirty and work up a good sweat shaking and shearing the rebar. Then, I met two more employees responsible for shaking and shearing to ensure precise rebar cuts for the customers.
The Gerdau work family takes care of each other and likes to promote from within. Heather, the Plant Manager, started at Gerdau working on the production line. During the 2nd shift meeting, the employees cheered at the announcement of overtime with the upcoming busy season.
Thank you to the Gerdau managers and employees for giving me a small glimpse into your workday. And, thank you for impacting our communities with the goods you manufacture and people you employ!
Let’s work together! Contact me if you’d like me to spend the day learning your job!
Stay tuned to see where you’ll find me next…