STEEL: Investment keeps plant strong

For years, Empire Steel on Brigham Road faced plenty of troubles. Cash was always tight. Jobs were never certain.

In 2001, it closed its doors. Many thought the plant would never recover.

Then came Universal Stainless Steel, which has run the plant since 2002. Since taking over, nearly 300 are employed at the plant and last week the leading U.S. manufacturer of semi-finished and finished specialty steel products unveiled nearly $10 million in upgrades.

Needless to say, it is a big deal. “The renovations and continued investment are big wins for Chautauqua County, ensuring the longevity of Dunkirk Specialty Steel’s operations by staying current and competitive,” said George Borrello, Chautauqua County Executive. “We’re thankful for outstanding partners like general manager Wendel Crosby, as well as the Universal Stainless’ Board of Directors for significant ongoing capital investment into their Dunkirk facility, thereby supporting local employment in Dunkirk.”

Western New York lost thousands of jobs in the 1980s and ’90s when steel plant closings happened far too often. This facility, however, keeps on producing. That is a testament to the staff and its management.