MEET THE CEO
Rob Simon of Bayou Steel Group
Though it’s just over a year old, Bayou Steel Group has deep Louisiana roots. Technically, the company has existed in various incarnations, but only in 2016 was it established as an independent distributor and rolling operation. CEO Rob Simon oversees a staff of approximately 450 employees at the company, which produces high-quality steel products and serves as a finishing operation producing and selling Merchant Bar and Small Beam products in North America.
Upon graduating from West Virginia University with an Industrial Engineering degree, he worked as a production manager, and then as the general manager for Oregon Brass Work. Within a few years, he worked his way up to vice-president and general manager for CF&I Steel, which at the time was a newly acquired division of Oregon Steel Mills. His career then expanded to Steel Dynamics, the country’s fifth largest steel company, where he took on the role of Vice-President Structural Products. He led the organization through a recovery from the financial crisis that quickly re-established a strong presence in the company’s markets while also developing a significant presence in new markets for the company.
A natural leader, Simon is passionate about working in environments where core values drive his team members to realize their potential. He has established a track record of improving and managing businesses throughout the steel industry.
He says that daily duties at the helm of the company include “first and foremost, doing what it takes to ensure a safe work environment for all team members.”
He also works with the leadership team to implement the initiatives of strategic planning, including rebranding the newly formed company as a chief supplier of choice in the markets it serves.
Can you give Port Log some background on what Bayou Steel Group does, and how it has grown or expanded over the years?
Bayou Steel Group was newly formed in 2016. However, our history is deeply rooted. In 1981, operations at our LaPlace headquarters began on the Mississippi River. Our goal was to transport raw materials and semi-finished and finished goods. Years later, in 1995, we extended our rolling and distribution operation by adding our Harriman location in Tennessee. As of today, our locations continue to produce high-quality steel products. Our mills use a scrap-based Electric Arc Furnace steelmaking production process which is the cleanest and most energy-efficient process available. Our rolling mill facilities in LaPlace and Harriman create a variety of structural steel, merchant bar and small beam products. Our LaPlace facility makes use of the Mississippi waterways to barge product to three BSG depots located in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Catoosa, Oklahoma. We distribute products throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Our facilities enable us to ship by barge, rail and from all mill locations as well depot locations.
What are some challenges you’ve faced as a leader of the company?
Bayou Steel Group has experienced several ownerships and as such, has struggled with its identity as an independent company. We have a terrific culture that represents a great opportunity for our company to be the supplier of choice we strive to be as our work ethic and dedication is unique and will enable our success.
What are some of your goals for the future?
To continue working with great people and being a part of their success and experiencing the joy of watching my children develop into unique and happy individuals.
What are the accomplishments you are most proud of?
I have been privileged enough to be part of some significant turn-around situations including my work at Rocky Mountain Steel Mills in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as my work with Bayou Steel Group. Most importantly, I have two kids who make me the proudest of dads.
interview by Sarah Ravits