Remaining mills carry on Valley’s steel legacy after Black Monday

Remaining mills carry on Valley’s steel legacy after Black Monday

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday was the 40th anniversary of Black Monday — the day Youngstown’s first big steel mill, the Campbell Works of Youngstown Sheet and Tube, announced it was closing.

At its peak, it’s estimated that 50,000 people were employed in steel and steel-related jobs around Youngstown.

Over the next ten years following Black Monday, many of the steel-related jobs were gone. But not all of them.

McDonald Steel closed for a short time in the early ’80s, only to reopen and thrive again.

WKBN archives chronicle Youngstown’s struggles after Black Monday

Two weeks ago on a Wednesday afternoon, McDonald Steel’s famous 14-inch shape mill hot rolled D-bars used to reinforce railroad tracks.

“They’re not building mills like this nowadays. The market just isn’t big enough,” said Tim Egnot, president of McDonald Steel.

McDonald Steel formed in 1981 from what was left of U.S. Steel’s Mahoning Valley operations.

The 14-inch mill was built in 1926 and though some of it has been rebuilt, much is original.

Ray Fowler has worked in steel for 48 years — all of it inside the McDonald mill.

“Probably the most diverse mill in the country, maybe even in the world,” he said.

Fowler said when he started in 1969, there were about 3,500 people. Today, McDonald Steel employs about 100 people, making products for whoever wants to buy them.

“Bridge grid, bridge expansion joints,” Fowler said.

“If you’re driving a Jeep Cherokee, all the hinges on the Jeep Cherokee come from this mill here in McDonald, Ohio,” Egnot said.

Bill Clark is another survivor of Youngstown’s steel industry.

“Other than the last year and a half, business has been slow. Other than that, we were always booming,” he said.

Clark has worked at the McDonald mill for 47 years.

“If you had the 14 mill, that was the moneymaking mill in this plant,” he said.

The men running McDonald Steel are really hoping the federal government passes an infrastructure bill with “Buy American” provisions.

“It’s going to help us a lot because it’ll eliminate some of the foreign competition that we’re experiencing now,” Egnot said.

But even with slow business now, there’s still optimism for the future.

“It’s important to the folks in the greater Youngstown area to have a steel industry and we intend to be here 40 years from now,” Egnot said.

More stories on Black Monday

There are still 73 steel-related companies in Mahoning and Trumbull counties employing 4,000 people — a number that includes Mercer County, too. This does not include spinoff jobs.

  • American Wire and Shapes — Struthers
  • Arcelormittal USA, LLC — Warren
  • Arconic Titanium-Engineered — Niles
  • Bar Processing Corporation — Newton Falls
  • Bayloff Stamped Products Kinsman, Inc. — Kinsman
  • Bral Corporation — Warren
  • Bull Moose Tube Company — Masury
  • Converse All Steel Services, Inc. — Canfield
  • Coronado Steel Co. — Youngstown
  • Ellwood Engineered Castings — Hubbard
  • Erie Concrete and Steel Company — Warren
  • Flexangle Corp. — Austintown
  • Flex-Strut, Inc. — Warren
  • Hynes Industries, Inc. — Youngstown
  • International Steel and Counterweights, LLC — Youngstown
  • Kenilworth Steel Co. — Warren
  • L B Industries, Inc. — Struthers
  • Latrobe Specialty Metals Distribution, Inc. — Vienna
  • Lawrence Steel Services, Inc. — Hubbard
  • LB Steel, LLC — Warren
  • Liberty Geneva Steel LTD — Youngstown
  • Liberty Steel Pressed Products, LLC — North Jackson
  • McDonald Steel Corporation — McDonald
  • Metal Service Co. — Warren
  • Metalico Youngstown, Inc. — Warren
  • Mid America Sales, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Munroe, Incorporated — Struthers
  • New Middletown Metal Products LTD — New Middletown
  • Niles Iron & Metal Co., LLC — Niles
  • North Jackson Specialty Steel, LLC — North Jackson
  • Nuflux, LLC — Cortland
  • Oakes Foundry, Inc. — Warren
  • Ohio Star Forge Co. — Warren
  • Ohio Steel Sheet & Plate, Inc. — Hubbard
  • P & L Heat Treating & Grindings, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Phoenix Supports — Niles
  • Procon Metals, Inc. — Vienna
  • PSK Steel — Hubbard
  • Quality Bar, Inc. — Struthers
  • Quality Match Plate Co. — Southington
  • Quality Metal Works — Youngstown
  • R B Fabricators, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Reichard Industries, LLC — Niles
  • S & S Welding, Fabricating and Machining, Inc. — Newton Falls
  • Select Steel, Inc. — Niles
  • Sharon Steel — Brookfield
  • Specialty Pipe & Tube, Inc. — Mineral Ridge
  • Taylor Steel, Inc. — Warren
  • The Florand Company, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Therm-O-Link, Inc. — Warren
  • Thomas Steel Strip Corporation — Warren
  • TMK IPSCO/Premium Oilfield — Brookfield
  • TMS International, LLC — Girard
  • TPC Metals, LLC — Youngstown
  • Tube and Pipe Solutions, Inc. — Girard
  • U S Extrusion & Steel Corp. — Mineral Ridge
  • United Steel SVC, Inc. — Brookfield
  • United Steel SVC, LLC — Brookfield
  • Vallourec Star, LP — Youngstown
  • Vari-Wall Tube Specialists — Columbiana
  • Vulcraft Sales Corp. — Youngstown
  • Warren Fabricating & Machining — Warren
  • Warren Precision Heat Training — Warren
  • Webco International — Youngstown
  • Western Reserve Metals, Inc. — Masury
  • Wheatland Tube Co. — Warren
  • WT Pettit & Sons Co. — Girard
  • Youngstown Bending & Rolling, Inc. — Warren
  • Youngstown Heat Treating & Nitriding, Inc. — Youngstown
  • Youngstown Pipe & Steel, LLC — Youngstown
  • Youngstown Specialty Steel Service Center, Inc. — Hubbard
  • Youngstown Tube Co. — Youngstown
  • Zekelman Industries, Inc./Wheatland — Niles
  • Zekelman Industries, Inc./Wheatland — Warren

Buy American Executive Order

To Our Customers:

On April 18, 2017, the President signed the Executive Order on Buy American and Hire American. This presidential directive clearly delineates a new policy to maximize, through its inclusion in Federal financial assistance awards and Federal procurements, the use of goods, products and materials produced in the United States. In specific reference to steel products, the Executive Order defines “Produced in the United States” as meaning all steel manufacturing processes, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, must occur in the U.S.

The decree actively encourages participation of American workers in the manufacture of materials destined for the redevelopment and maintenance of our country’s infrastructure. Our customers who participate in federally-assisted infrastructure projects, such as bridges, railroads and utility pipelines, can rely on McDonald Steel Corporation to be in full compliance with the Executive Order.

America’s steel industry has long been a stimulus for our country’s economic engine. Today, the President is asking steel customers to utilize American-made products that will generate new domestic growth.  Toward this end, McDonald Steel can further assist in bringing your complete stocking inventory into compliance with the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order.

On behalf of the employees of McDonald Steel Corporation, I look forward to working with our customers to assist in rebuilding our country’s infrastructure with American-made steel produced by American steelworkers.


A. Timothy Egnot
President/COO – McDonald Steel Corporation

McDonald Steel Finds Success Reviving Plant

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Two steel companies – McDonald Steel Corp. and Hynes Industries – have found success in rehabilitating older manufacturing complexes to sustain strong market demand for their products.

McDonald Steel Corp. first realized the potential of U.S. Steel Corp.’s former McDonald Works shortly after the steel giant shuttered operations there in 1980. And, just recently, Hynes Industries Inc. finished remodeling and moving its production operations to the former Wean United plant on Henricks Road in Austintown.

“Their business plan was solid,” Tim Egnot, president of McDonald Steel, says of the founding partners of his company. “They knew what they were doing.”

McDonald Steel was created following retrenchment of the steel industry in the Mahoning Valley that began in the late 1970s. As U.S. Steel wound down its production, David Houck put together a business plan, recruited a top management team and raised the capital needed to create what today is one of just a handful of mills in the world that manufacture nonsymmetrical shapes. The mill started operations in 1981.

“We’ve really grown the business,” Egnot says, noting how the company has adapted to the changing nature of manufacturing. “We’ve persevered through the ups and downs.”

Over the last several years, for example, McDonald Steel has embraced and executed the principles of Lean manufacturing, Egnot says. “In the past, everyone was buying large volumes. Now, no one wants to carry inventory.” Lean concepts are used to make manufacturing processes more efficient without sacrificing quality, and to ensure a quicker turnaround to meet the demands of just-in-time inventory.

McDonald Steel employs 105 and ships its products around the world. Critical to its success are a diversified customer base and ability to produce specialized products that few mills in the world can manufacture, Egnot says. “We’ve been in a growth pattern over the last couple of years and able to grow through the downturn of 2008 and 2009,” he adds.

McDonald Steel manufactures nonsymmetrical steel shapes used in products such as truck rims for over-the-road transportation, hinges for the automotive industry, components for the railroad market, concrete water pipe couplings, off-road wheel rims and decking for highway bridges.

“We’ve tried to diversify as much as we can,” Egnot says, and not be tied into or dependent upon a single market. The off-road market, for example, is weak while the automotive, rail and water construction sectors are performing well. “Our backlog looks good,” he reports. “We continue to see increases in business volume from a tonnage standpoint.”

Across the Mahoning Valley in Austintown, Hynes Industries is relocating its operations to the former Wean United building on Henricks Road, vacating its operations on Oakwood Avenue.

Last summer, Resilience Capital, based in Cleveland, assumed majority control of the company, says Mike Giambattista, senior vice president – roll-formed sales and marketing. “We’re looking forward to growing the company and expand our business possibly through location and acquisition. It’s going to be an exciting period.”

This year the company will also undergo changes in management, Giambattista says, as Hynes welcomes a new president and CEO, Greg Gyllstrom. Gyllstrom succeeds Jim Blair, who is retiring.

Hynes’ most ambitious project, however, is the consolidation of five manufacturing operations into one location, Giambattista says. “Everything will be moved over to Henricks Road, a facility that has 291,000 square feet of manufacturing space,” he says. The plant served as the headquarters and manufacturing plant for Wean United and most recently was occupied by Main Steel.

“Having everything under one roof is going to bring some efficiencies that we didn’t have before,” says Pat Montana, senior vice president – sales and marketing of Hynes’ strip steel, flat wire and FlexAngle divisions. Previously, Hynes had operated production plants along Four Mile Run Road, Industrial Road and leased space on McDonald Steel property.

“It will cut down freight costs,” Montana says. “We’re transferring a lot of material. So once it’s produced, we could just send it over to the next bay instead of the next plant.”

He estimates the expansion should result in Hynes increasing its production workforce by 10%. The company employs 160 in the Mahoning Valley.

All of the production work is operating from the new site, Giambattista says, and the company’s offices should be finished within several weeks.

The expansion includes a $2.5 million investment in a new roll-form line. Hynes specializes in manufacturing flat wire, roll-formed shapes, slotted angle, and strip steel products that serve the truck/trailer, appliance, outdoor furniture, hardware, storage, and solar energy markets.

“In all of our product groups, we anticipate growing about 15% this year,” Giambattista says. Hynes operates 50 production lines and stocks 38 million pounds of steel it buys from producing steel mills. “We slit our own steel and process it, streamlining the supply chain,” he says.

The new location was retrofitted with new lighting and the interior is freshly painted in bright colors. “I’d say the investment is approaching $4 million,” he says.

Hynes’ new plant adds another 50,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity. “To have a blank sheet of paper that you can design and place the equipment where you need it, Giambattista says, “and to maximize efficiencies, was a real luxury for our team.”

Pictured: McDonald Steel Corp.’s plant in McDonald.

Copyright 2016 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.