Up close and personal with steel

HOUGHTON – Tanner Ingersoll hadn’t thought about a career working in the steel industry, but he decided to talk to some industry representatives during Michigan Technological University’s Steel Day Tuesday to see what they had to offer.

Ingersoll, who is a mechanical engineering major, said after talking to the steel industry representatives gathered in the atrium of the Dow Environmental Sciences and Engineering building, a career in the industry is something he may consider.

“It’s definitely interesting,” he said. “Everything they make, I’m probably going to use.”

Taking part in the event were Arcelor Mittal, Cliffs Natural Resources, Gerdau and Nucor.

Michael Matthieu, quality engineer with Arcelor Mittal, said the Luxembourg-based company took part in the event partly to clear up some misconceptions about the steel industry.

“There’s some conceptions out there the steel industry is old and arcane,” he said. “We want to change that.”

Matthieu said about 100 students had stopped at the Arcelor Mittal display in the first two hours of the event, and he was explaining to them how they could have a career in the steel industry.

Brad Jonas, metallurgist with Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor, said he was telling students although they may not have thought about the steel industry for a career, many types of engineers are needed in the field.

“We’re trying to present opportunities engineers have with the steel industry,” he said. “There’s all sorts of avenues in our environment.”

Jim Turnquist, Tech director of career services, said the first-ever gathering of steel industry representatives separate from Tech’s Career Fair was created to highlight the growth of the steel industry and because many students may not realize the career potentials in the industry.

“(Students) have a chance to focus on the steel industry,” he said.

Turnquist said he is on a committee of an international organization called the Association for Iron and Steel Technology, and that organization is looking for ways to get university students thinking about steel for their career path.

“How do we get students more knowledgeable about the steel industry?” he asked.

As a result of those discussions in the committee of which he’s a member, Turnquist said the idea of the gathering in the Dow building was formed.

Although they could have had more than four industry representatives, Turnquist said it was the first time for the event, it was decided not to have a large gathering.

“We wanted to start out small,” he said.

The event was paid for through a AIST grant received by Dr. Paul Sanders, Tech assistant professor in material sciences, Turnquist said. It’s a multi-year grant, so it’s expected there will be similar events for the next two years. There may be similar events for other individual industries, also.