Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Published: February 8, 2011 3:00 a.m.
Steel Dynamics hailed for exports
Wins certificate from Commerce
Paul Wyche | The Journal Gazette

BusseFORT WAYNE – If others followed the lead of Fort Wayne-based Steel Dynamics Inc., President Obama’s goal of doubling the nation’s exports by 2014 would easily be met, a U.S. Department of Commerce official said.

Ro Khanna, deputy assistant secretary, awarded the Export Achievement Certificate to Steel Dynamics CEO Keith Busse at the company’s headquarters Monday. Figures for 2010 aren’t complete, but through the first nine months of last year the business had $256 million in net export sales, while total annual sales were $6.3 billion.

“We can bring jobs back to this country,” Busse said in front of several employees and government officials assembled for the award announcement. “We’re pleased with our efforts.”

So is the Obama administration. During the president’s State of the Union address last month he stressed the need to help businesses sell more products abroad, “because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home,” he said.

Because Steel Dynamics’ plants primarily are located in the Midwest – where ocean ports are not easily accessible – the firm’s exports mostly have been to Canada and Mexico. Company spokesman Fred Warner said the 2007 acquisition of OmniSource has boosted exports as copper and aluminum extracts flow.

Warner said there has been increasing interest by other foreign buyers in some of the high-value steel products, including special-bar-quality steel, specialty shapes and special grades of flat-rolled steel. Warner said Khanna plans to tour the company’s structural and rail mill today in Columbia City.

Khanna said Steel Dynamics serves as a template for similar companies in United States. The business added about 100 jobs to its more than 6,000-person workforce in 2010.

“It shows that we can compete with other countries,” he said. “Steel Dynamics is a great model of how we can make jobs here in the U.S.”

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