Mill Steel expands Cascade Township headquarters

October 9, 2011
| By Pete Daly |
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Mill Steel, a Cascade Township-based flat-rolled carbon steel service center with customers throughout the eastern half of North America, has announced new construction at its corporate headquarters large enough to accommodate 50 new employees. The expansion follows what the company CEO calls “triple-digit” increases in sales volume and customer and employee growth in the last two years.

The announcement issued last Monday by Mill Steel states that the 5,000-square-foot addition will provide more office space and a training facility that can accommodate 80 at its headquarters at 5116 36th St. SE, just north of the airport. It has also acquired another plant in Birmingham, Ala., and has opened a distribution center in Kentucky.

David S. Samrick, president and CEO, said Mill Steel “continues to see opportunity in all of its business segments and the Grand Rapids expansion is a necessity given the company’s triple-digit growth in both processed and sold tons, customers, and employees since late 2009.”

According to Metal Center News (MCN), an online industry publication, Mill Steel ranks 30th in its annual survey of “the largest, most successful” metal service centers in North America. The latest survey was done in September.

MCN reports that Mill Steel had 2010 revenue of $330 million, with projected revenues this year of $480 million. Samrick told the Business Journal that those revenue numbers “are pretty accurate.”

He said the firm employs from 100 to 125 people locally.

Mill Steel was founded in 1959 by Samrick’s father, Harry H. Samrick.

David Samrick said metal manufacturing had been in decline in Michigan for about 10 years, and apparently bottomed out in 2009. It has been improving since then.

“But it has definitely been in decline. The amount of steel consumed is nowhere near what it was 10 years ago,” he said.

Mill Steel has been “aggressively” expanding into more geographic areas, said Samrick, and is now active in Canada, most of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, and in Texas and Mexico.

The growth in sales has led to an increase in administrative staff at Mill Steel in Cascade Township.

“The growth in our business has been more outside of West Michigan than within West Michigan,” he said, although he noted West Michigan sales are improving, too, “but not as rapidly.”

Nonetheless, Samrick said, “West Michigan is a great place to run a business,” with a labor pool of “the highest quality.” He praised “the great team we have” at Mill Steel and said they have been “a big part of this growth” of the company.

He noted Mill Steel has a close and active relationship with Grand Valley State University, which provides it with interns and other assistance.

Mill Steel also announced that it opened a 50,500-square-foot facility in Louisville, Ky., on Oct. 1 for expanded distribution of its painted flat-rolled steel products to Midwest and Mid-Atlantic customers.

In September it opened a 55,000-square-foot addition adjacent to its current 121,000-square-foot processing operation in Birmingham, Ala., which serves the automotive, appliance and general fabricating industries, as well as building products companies, including those that sell metal roofs.

Mill Steel has slitting plants in Melvindale, near Detroit; Birmingham; and Laredo, Texas. Its distribution centers are also in Kentucky, Texas and Alabama.

Eric Lambert, senior vice president at Mill Steel, said in the company’s announcement that the new distribution center for painted flat-rolled steel in Louisville also allows the firm to increase its sales presence for automotive, appliance, tubing and general fabrication customers receiving steel from Mill Steel’s Detroit and Birmingham plants.

Only about six Michigan companies made the MCN Top 50 list this year; most are in southeast Michigan but two are in Grand Rapids, the other being Magic Steel in Wyoming, which had revenue of $270 million in 2010 and projected revenue of $275 million this year. Magic has a total of 150 employees, according to MCN.

According to MCN, its Top 50 metal service centers account for less than 40 percent of a market worth about $120 billion. Service centers ship, store and prepare steel and other metals for use by the manufacturing industry.

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