Dennen Settles Into Its New Site

February 4, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Dennen Steel Co. celebrated the first anniversary of its new plant in Burns Harbor, Ind., in January.

The opening of the 30,000-square-foot plant last year was especially meaningful to Dennen Steel because it marked the first time in 55 years that the company had ever gone to a secondary site, said vice president and CFO John Genualdi.

The company's headquarters and only other plant is at 3033 Fruit Ridge NW in Grand Rapids.

The new stamping, distribution and warehousing plant in Burns Harbor is located at 325 Technical Drive on a five-acre site formerly occupied by Chicago Steel.

"It was a strategic location for the Chicago market and the I-65 corridor and what that connects to," Genualdi said.

The company invested some $3 million in construction of the BurnsHarbor facility and in new equipment.

The plant currently employs 10 people, several of whom are Grand Rapids "transplants," Genualdi noted. He said up to another 30 jobs would be created at the plant over the next few years.

Because of Burns Harbor's noise ordinance and neighbors' concerns about noise emanating from a steel stamping plant, Dennen Steel's decision to purchase Chicago Steel initially sparked some controversy in the community.

"That's because their predecessors down there kind of didn't do all the right things," Genualdi said.

"We did it right from start,"

Dennen Steel spent $250,000 on noise abatements to keep its production noise from afflicting the neighborhood.

"It involved creating a sound abatement wall to stop the noise from leaving and also a special foundation for the press that's down there so that would be no noise or vibrations exiting the building.

"It was a new spin but something we had to address with the local community, otherwise it would not have worked."    

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