McDonald Steel Sees Big Boost With Infrastructure Bill

McDONALD, Ohio – A $1 trillion infrastructure bill poised for President Biden’s signature means “outstanding growth,” for a local steel company that manufactures components for bridges and railways, its president says.

“We’re busy right now,” says Jim Grasso, president of McDonald Steel Corp., noting that order inquiries have stepped up since the U.S. House of Representatives passed the massive bill last week. “We’re optimistic that it will even get busier.”

Grasso says that the bill appropriates more than $100 billion for bridges and close to $75 billion for railways, two of the major segments McDonald Steel engages in.

Recently, the company hired six new hourly employees and he hopes that McDonald Steel could add more depending on how business improves as spending from the bill frees up.

The company employs about 85, he says.

Grasso and other McDonald executives joined U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, members of organized labor, and local business officials for a press event and tour at McDonald Steel’s mill Wednesday afternoon. 

Brown says the new bill covers rebuilding infrastructure networks such as water systems, bridges and railroads. More importantly, he says that the bill contains a stringent “Buy American” amendment, which compels companies to use materials manufactured in the United States. 

“We have a provision that senator Portman and I worked together on for the strongest Buy American provisions ever in U.S. law,” he says. 

Mike Havalo, vice president of sales and marketing, says bridges and railroad components make up more than half of the company’s market share.  McDonald produces these parts on the plant’s 14-inch mill.

“Today, we’re actually producing on the mill today that is steel grid deck that is finishing up the Ambassador Bridge and the Newburgh Beacon Bridge,” he says.  

McDonald Steel opened its doors in 1981 in the wake of the shutdowns in the steel industry across the Mahoning Valley. 

The plant was originally part of U.S. Steel’s McDonald Works, which was constructed in 1918 by Tom McDonald, one of Andrew Carnegie’s chief associates. 

Pictured: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown meets with McDonald Steel President Jim Grasso and Jerry Moxley, director of operations.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.