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Long-time Nucor Steel workers — some retired and some not — still recall the soybean field that turned into a large mud pit when construction began on the new steel mill southeast of Crawfordsville.
They remember the long line of cars that stretched nearly two miles as more than 800 people waited to fill out a job application to work at Nucor. They can also still remember the excitement when the plant successfully produced its first thin-slab cast and its first coil in the summer of 1989. Nucor’s location in Crawfordsville was the first mini mill anywhere to make such quality rolled steel using a new technology that others in the steel industry at that time didn’t think would work.
“Nucor had a couple hundred people here in Crawfordsville, Indiana proving that it could work,” John Ferriola, the current chairman, president and CEO of Nucor Corporation, said while addressing nearly 600 people Friday during an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of Nucor Steel’s location in Montgomery County.
“It’s still working today,” Ferriola said. “And sheet steel — the first one was (produced) right here in this small community. And now, today, this facility makes some of the highest quality steels that go into our cars. Just think about what you have accomplished.”
Nucor has been an incredible community partner for 30 years, too. They have made over $7 million in charitable donations to Crawfordsville and surrounding communities in addition to more than $11 million handed out in scholarships to students of Nucor employees and others within the community.
On Friday, Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton read a proclamation declaring that Friday was Nucor Steel Day in Crawfordsville and Montgomery County. It was a joint proclamation between the city and county commissioners.
“On the behalf of the citizens of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County, I want to congratulate Nucor Indiana on your three decades of success at this particular site,” Barton said. “Your achievements here in Crawfordsville have led to a transformation in the steel industry and has positively affected the lives of countless people in our community.”
Ron Dickerson, former Nucor general manager and current president of the Montgomery County Redevelopment Commission, and commissioners Dan Guard and John Frey assembled an “Indiana care package” to send home with Nucor’s corporate officials, including Ferriola. The package included local sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and Crappie fillets.
The Nucor campus in Crawfordsville originally hired between 500 and 600 employees and now has more than 750 workers there.
“Nucor Steel in Crawfordsville is proud to be a part of this community for 30 years,” Ferriola said. “I guarantee you that Nucor Steel Crawfordsville will be here for at least three, four or five more decades. We’re not going anywhere.”