SINTON – It was a packed house at the Sinton Chamber of Commerce’s State of the City Luncheon on Oct. 30. The sponsored event allowed county and city officials, business owners and citizens to learn more about the city’s preparation for Steel Dynamics and how the incorporation will affect Sinton’s future.
After participants enjoyed a nice meal provided by Cavaleri’s Kitchen, Sinton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lesly Sence opened the presentation introducing City Manager John Hobson.
Hobson began by dispelling rumors that questioned Sinton’s preparedness for Steel Dynamics. One of those rumors say that Sinton does not have water.
“We actually have a half million-gallon elevated storage capacity, a million gallons of ground storage capacity for drinking water,” said the city manager. “The state requires that we have 100 gallons of elevated storage per connection and the state also requires that we have 200 gallons of total storage per connection. We have approximately 2,400 connections in the city, which would require us to have 240,000 gallons of elevated storage and 480,000 gallons of total storage capacity. We have easily more than double our capacity and what we’re required to have right now.”
Another rumor Hobson wanted to disprove was that the city’s wastewater plant cannot handle Steel Dynamics or anymore developments that may come to Sinton.
“Our current load at our wastewater treatment plant is about 4,000 gallons per day,” Hobson said. “We have a permanent load of over 800,000, and our actual capacity for our sewer treatment facilities is too many gallons per day.
“We’re more than ready to accept SDI and the additional development that comes along with that.
“We’re here to say welcome home to Steel Dynamics.”
Then taking questions from the audience, a concerned member questioned where housing developments could develop.
Hobson responded by explaining how the city has met with developers and property owners that go out to Highway 181 behind Sinton High School. They are exploring the area for options for single-family housing, multifamily housing and commercial development
After all questions were asked, Hobson introduced Steel Dynamics Vice President Glenn Pushis.
With a warm welcome, the vice president thanked everyone for coming out to the event. Pushis then showed a video presentation that is currently available on Steel Dynamic’s home page.
Pushis explained the five topics he wanted to discuss at the luncheon: who Steel Dynamic is, how the company is run, the company’s culture, plans for Sinton’s plant and what the new plant means for the company’s shareholders.
“We have about eight different locations right now so Sinton would be the ninth, and one of the largest locations,” Pushis said.
The vice president went on to talk about each location and what they produced.
“We’re one of the largest and the most differentiated steel producers,” he said. “So if you think about it, the only thing we really don’t make is heavy plates and we don’t make fasteners.”
Pushis even commented that the company has the ability to build almost the entire building from their materials.
Steel Dynamics also has state-of-the-art facilities and is environmentally friendly by using recycled bass electric guard furnace technology.
Pushis then explained that the business is run by six pillars: safety, culture, customer commitment, growth, innovation and financial strength.
“Safety is our number one value,” he said. “Seventy-two percent of our facilities last year had zero recordable incidents and accidents.”
He went on to talk about why Sinton was one of the best locations for Steel Dynamics.
“The advantage we’re going to have being located in Sinton, our freight advantage is huge over our competition, being in the Midwest,” Pushis said.
“Number two, you know when you get the acreage, you get the water when we have excellent logistics. We get three different railroads working with us as well as truck. And it does have an existing mature dependable power source coming to this facility. So it’s going to be bringing a lot of power here to help the infrastructure in this whole area.”
Going into the design of the plant, the vice president explained that out of the 2,600 acres that is going to be used for the company, 1,000 acres will be left alone.
“At front 1,000 or so, around 1,500, we’re just going to basically leave alone,” Pushis said. “Even this past year, we’ve been talking about bringing some cattle and steers back in there once we’re done with the construction process.”
He then began to talk about Steel Dynamic’s culture.
“Success is not driven by state-of-the-art technology alone but, more importantly, it’s linked to managing the technology and creating a culture in which to exploit the right will remain our greatest asset,” Pushis said. “I really don’t like that term.
“We know they are our best resources; they’re not an asset. And that’s why we’re here. You guys have one hell of a hardworking community out here. We looked at that real strong tie; that’s one of the main reasons we’re here.
“You guys are going to be the backbone of a quality organization and truly the force that creates and sustains value for the company, our customers and our shareholders. It’s important to us. It’s all about people.”
The vice president went on to talk about the environment the company creates for their team and went into depth about employee benefits.
Pushis discussed the timeline for Sinton’s location. The company expects by February 2020 to receive their environmental permit.
By the second quarter of 2020, the company plans for an open job application day.
“We’re going to begin in 2020 here with about 20 employees. We’re going to end 2020 with close to 304 employees,” he said.
February of 2020 through April of 2021 will be the company’s planned construction period.
From March 2021 through June 2021 will be their planned commissioning of various production lines.
“So we’ll start it up. We’ll melt our first piece, casting our first piece, rolling our first coils, galvanizing our first coil; so on and so forth,” Pushis said.
The vice president commented the planned schedule is aggressive.
“For a steel mill to be built in 14 to 16 months is an extremely impressive step,” he said. “We’re going to go after it.
“We so much appreciate everyone’s support, and thank you for letting me have a conversation with you here today.”
Pushis ended his presentation following questions from the audience members.