Steelite Announces Youngstown HQ, Maintains New Castle Operations
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Steelite International’s experience in its space in the Commerce Building downtown led to the decision to move its corporate headquarters to the city’s central business district, President and CEO John Miles said.
During a news conference Thursday afternoon at Steelite’s global showroom and experience center downtown, Miles – who twice restarted his remarks because he was overcome with the emotion of the announcement — told reporters and guests that his company had entered into a 60-day exclusivity period with the Youngstown Business Incubator for space as it works out final details on incentive packages with the city and JobsOhio.
“Our corporate offices and global headquarters will be in downtown Youngstown,” Miles said. “We anticipate that transition will occur sometime in October of this year.”
The move would bring 70 jobs to downtown Youngstown.
Steelite reached an agreement with YBI to occupy most of the Taft Technology Center and the second floor of the adjoining Semple Building, said Barb Ewing, incubator CEO.
“We’ve reached an agreement on what the terms will be. But until all of the other pieces are in place, they probably won’t sign the lease,” Ewing said.
Currently headquartered in New Castle, Pa., Steelite is a global supplier of tableware to the hospitality industry, with approximately 1,400 employees around the world, Miles said.
The company opened its global showroom in December 2018 in the space formerly occupied by the Youngstown Club. Company officials were attracted to the space because of its proximity to the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, which had opened earlier in the year and provided a place for customers from around the globe to stay when they visited.
“This really led to us thinking: If our customers love the hotel, and people love to come to downtown Youngstown, wouldn’t it be great to be in a position where we could have our offices down here?” he said.
A consultant for Steelite reached out last July to the Youngtown/Warren Regional Chamber, which engaged Team NEO. Youngstown city officials plugged into the project around the same time, said Walt Good, managing director of projects for Team NEO.
“This probably is the biggest announcement for downtown Youngstown in more than 50 years,” Guy Coviello, regional chamber president and CEO, said during a phone interview following the event.
In February, JobsOhio made an incentive offer that Steelite rejected, Coviello said.
Shortly after that, during the chamber’s Columbus Drive-In, chamber officials took a couple of the Mahoning Valley’s most influential business leaders to meet with Gov. Mike DeWine’s chief of staff in the evening, and the following morning they met with JobsOhio’s president.
“Two days later, JobsOhio revised its offer as a result, and Steelite accepted it,” Coviello said.
Mayor Jamael Tito Brown and 1st Ward Councilman Julius Oliver both expressed their appreciation in brief remarks at the news conference.
“It’s just another example of what’s happening right here in downtown Youngstown,” Brown said. “The construction is hard to take right now. But when it’s all over, we’ll have a beautiful community.”
Oliver called the announcement “just another puzzle piece that’s putting Youngstown back” and expressed hope that another hotel might come downtown.
The city is working with Steelite on a job creation incentive, said Nikki Posterli, director of community planning and economic development and Brown’s chief of staff. “We’re trying to see if that model fits what they need in order to help the employees transition over,” she said.
“We couldn’t be more ecstatic. This is yet another opportunity for Youngstown to be noticed for the talent we have here, for the partnerships we have here and for the ability to build your dream right here,” Posterli said.
The move of the headquarters operation to Youngstown will enable Steelite to expand operations in New Castle, where the bulk of its domestic workforce is and where it will maintain warehousing, distribution and light manufacturing operations, Miles said.
He projected employment at the new Youngstown headquarters could grow by 50% over the next four years. The company is working through some acquisitions, and each time a company is acquired, it will mean more employees at the headquarters.
“So it’s really a great win-win for the region,” Miles said.
Pictured at top: Steelite International President and CEO John Miles.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.