Nucor Steel Plant Tour - A Leon County Success Story

NUCOR -- Clay Dodgen - Rebar Fabrication Manager, Jason Morris - Controller, Ross Simmons - Melt Shop Manager, Caleb Strother - Sales Manager, Travis Greene - Maintenance/Engineering Manager, Roger Young - Roll Mill/Shipping Manager, Cari Box - Cost Analyst, and Al Behr - VP/General Manager.

A team of Leon County Economic Development Association members led by President Tommy Neyland and Buffalo Mayor Jerrod Jones travelled to western Leon County to learn more about the success story of this Nucor Steel Jewett Texas plant built in 1975.

Upon arriving at the front entrance, it was clear to this reporter that the theme of this highly successful/employee driven manufacturing operation was ?No One Gets Hurt on Our Shift Today.?

The tone was set from the beginning when our motor caravan was greeted professionally and swiftly by the Nucor guard station and we received paperwork and permission to enter the 700-acre facility.

Our group walked into the meeting area and was professionally greeted by 31-year Nucor veteran tour guide Johnny Greene and 9-year Nucor veteran cost analyst Cari Box. After a brief informative Nucor video, we received our safety gear ? hard hat, safety glasses, protective jacket, head phones, and ear plugs. Theme understood!!!

Safety procedures were stressed and highlighted again before Johnny Greene and Cari Box took us on a highly informative/detailed approximately 2-hour walking tour of the massive manufacturing facility. Just prior to the group leaving the meeting area I was greeted by Willy Radio 103.5 / Nucor Pickem show teammate and Nucor welder Travis Bynum ?he flashed that large smile and I could certainly tell he was glad to be employed by this major Leon County manufacturer.

We proceeded to the ?Furnace? and the information ?lights? were about to be turned on for this group of Association members. We entered the air conditioned/armor protected computerized control room manned by Nucor veteran operator Buddy Dorman. After 100 + plus tons of scrap metal were dumped into the massive furnace the electric probes and gas heated barrier began the melting process. Holy Smokes does not do this event justice!!!

Note ?The 60 Nucor facilities make this ?top of the line? manufacturer the largest steel mill and recycler in North America - Impressive accomplishment.

The ?Furnace? contents were heated to 3000+ degrees and the scrap metal was transformed into a molten liquid during this 30-minute opening phase of the manufacturing process. Operators in the adjacent control room were computer monitoring the proper carbon and alloy content to attain the ?rightblend? in the bar stock that will be trucked or railed to Nucor?s finishing manufacturer customers throughout the United States and Mexico.

The ?Furnace? rocked back and forth using huge hydraulics on its massive frame and continued heating the molten liquid to the proper temperature. The process then moved to the pouring phase and the molten material was transported ?down the line? moving through the different processing stations throughout the building. It was during these processes that the molten metal was transformed into the finished product that Nucor?s manufacturing customers would receive. Rebar, angles, flats, and/or billets will be shipped to Nucor?s customers and converted into finished retail product ? this finished retail product will be used by all of us in some form or fashion on a daily basis.

The true USA manufacturing system at its finest point ??a great finished product that is profitable and beneficial to everyone!!!! Wow ? Impressive?.

We continued our walking tour through buildings Texas 1, Texas 2?. you bet I sure do like those building names - and proceeded through the maintenance area to the final warehouse staging and shipping areas. I was greeted in the maintenance area by another Willy Radio 103.5 Pickem show teammate and show host - Nucor employee Monty McGill. He spoke and quickly moved on to his task at hand ? another committed Nucor employee ?taking care of business.?

During our tour of the plant we experienced and observed several enlightening events ? production starting at level one and materials be transformed into a finished manufactured form, many temperature changes, technology being utilized to an advanced stage, employee valuable input being utilized, safety being stressed, waste control, emission control, proper utility and natural resource (water) conservation, recycling of product, and a ?common sense? approach to an outstanding business philosophy /model.

What a totally awesome operation ?? business people if you will study and learn this model, properly implement your own procedures and fit them to your own type of operation, treat your employees and customers properly/ fairly, control variables and expenses and adopt a honest / straight forward business approach using common sense - you will succeed.

We concluded our walking tour of the plant and returned to the meeting room and were greeted by Vice President / General Manager Al Behr and his management team.

During the next phase of the meeting Mr. Behr outlined an extremely positive and detailed presentation of Nucor?s business philosophy. Employee importance and input, being a family-oriented business, employee training and promotion, fair pay practices, choosing the correct plant location, proper hiring practices, job security, low employee turnover, growth plans, reinvestment back into the company and community, and planning for the future. Tenured Roll Mill/ Shipping manager Roger Young and Maintenance/ Engineering manager Travis Greene added support to the discussion highlighting training and education of current and future Nucor employees with emphasis on opportunities for company advancement and promotion.

The Leon County Economic Development Association Nucor tour attendees Tommy Neyland, Jerrod Jones, Guy Alford, Michael Dvorak, Chase Glick, Betty Heffler, Clayton Loftin, Richard Parrish, Laura Petty, Dianne Ryder and this reporter walked away from the meeting with an overwhelming appreciation of this dynamic Leon County business and what it provides for our community, county, state, and nation.

Thank You Nucor Team ? you are admired and appreciated!!!