Q&A: The General Managers of OFR Metals

The General Managers Part One

OFR General Manager Calene IngramOur sales representatives are on the front lines when it comes to interacting with our customers. But how many of our customers regularly interact with our General Managers? I talked with two of our GMs to find out just what it is like to be in their position and what they believe OFR Metals stands for.

OFR General Manager Seth WeinerCalene Ingram is the GM of the Utah region, covering Utah, Idaho and Nevada. She has worked in the metals industry for 21 years and has been at OFR for 16 of them.

Seth Wiener is the GM of the Southeast Region, covering Alabama and parts of Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Although he has worked in the industry for 29 years, he is in his first year at OFR Metals. Seth came to OFR from O’Neal Steel in August of 2014.

Describe your role here at OFR Metals as a General Manager.

CI: My role is to provide a vision and direction for our future, in an environment where employees can meet personal and professional goals, always striving for profitable growth.

SW: I feel that my role as GM for OFR Birmingham is somewhat unique because we share this market with [our sister company] O’Neal Steel. I have the normal OFR GM responsibilities, but I also am responsible for managing our relationship with O’Neal Steel and supporting their efforts in selling sheet in this market.

At OFR Metals we believe in being a company that employees will want to work for. So, what is your favorite part of working for OFR?

CI: The people. The people I work for and work with are passionate about what they do, genuinely care for each other, and at the highest level, integrity guides all decisions.

SW: I would have to say that my favorite part of working for OFR has been getting to meet the people who make up this company. It is all about the people. There is a ton of positive energy and a real sense of determination and purpose. That is great!

Obviously no job is all sunshine and roses. What is the biggest struggle you have experienced working at OFR? Has it had any impact on where you are today?

CI: The economic pressures of the recession have been challenging for customers and employees. Struggling is not a bad thing. In struggling you find strength, new ideas, and new approaches.

SW: Every job comes with struggles, which I equate to challenges. I can’t say that I have experienced a biggest struggle or challenge in my short time here. Like most people, I just take on each challenge as they come up and keep rolling.

Did you have any role models (famous or not) that had an influence on where you are today? Who are they and how did they help you get here?

CI: I believe everyone has many people who influence their lives but the person who influenced mine the most was my father. He instilled in me a strong work ethic and a belief that I could do anything I set my mind to.

SW: My parents developed my foundation and have had the greatest influence on where I am today. They are great folks who have a great sense of work ethic, humility and humor. While growing up under their roof, they gave me just the right amount of hugs and kicks in the butt. There have been a handful of leaders in my working life who have had a significant impact on the way I look at business. We are fortunate to have one of those folks leading our company.

The bottom line to what OFR values and believes is our customers and their success. In your opinion how does doing business with OFR help our customers succeed?

CI: We look for new ways to help solve customers’ business issues and are constantly evolving to meet customers’ changing needs. We look for ways to be more than a supplier.

SW: From what I have seen so far I believe that our folks know that we can’t really be successful if our customers aren’t successful. It begins and ends with the customer.

We have seven regions at OFR Metals. That means we have five more GMs to talk with. Check back for more interviews coming soon!

Galvanized Steel: How it is Made

Galvanized steel coils, ofr metalsMany people know what galvanized steel is. It is used for a wide variety of applications ranging from HVAC ductwork to gardening pails; household decorations to garbage cans. The spangle finish on the surface makes it visually appealing, but also makes it more durable and corrosion resistant.

So, how is galvanized steel made? Where does that spangle come from? Well, let’s find out.

Hot-Dip Galvanization

Galvanized steel is a carbon steel that has been coated with zinc. The most common method of zinc coating is the hot-dip process.

The hot-dip process consists of submerging the carbon steel into a molten zinc bath (approximately 680 degrees Fahrenheit). When the material is removed from the zinc bath and cooled a reaction to the oxygen in the air occurs. The reaction causes the zinc to become part of the steel (an iron-zinc alloy bond). The new surface finish appears to have a crystalline finish or spangled finish.

While this is the most common form of galvanization, it is often used for steel products that have previously been fabricated as the thickness of the final product is not easily controlled. Another method of the galvanization process is continuous galvanizing.

Continuous Galvanizing

Continuous galvanizing applies the zinc coating to the surface of a continuous ribbon of steel (coil) as it passes through a zinc bath. The coil travels at speeds of approximately 600 feet per minute.

As the coil leaves the zinc bath it carries with it an extra layer of molten zinc. The extra zinc is removed with high pressure air (air knives) to create the desired thickness. The material is then allowed to cool and the spangled finish is formed.

Skip with Galvanized Steel FinishContinuous galvanizing allows for more precise control of the thickness and is typically used for steel products that have not yet been fabricated. As the coating thickness increases, the risk of losing some coating during fabrication or forming also increases.

Overall Surface Finish

Galvanized coil and sheet are produced for applications in which corrosion resistance is important. The zinc coating lengthens the life of the end product, making it desirable for manufacturers. The appealing surface finish also makes it desirable for the consumer.

O’Neal Industries Origins: Where our Family Comes From

Kirkman O'Neal, fournder of O'Neal Steel-O'Neal Industries

Kirkman O’Neal 1890-1988
Founder of O’Neal Steel

Like many employees who work at an O’Neal Industries affiliate company, especially in Birmingham, I have probably taken for granted the rich history and impact of our company on the City of Birmingham and the steel industry in the South – in fact, in the entire U.S. I heard the stories of Kirkman O’Neal founding the company and was blessed to even receive a copy of his memoir from the man himself before his death. And the enormous magnolia tree that graces the front of the O’Neal Steel corporate office is a horticultural wonder, but when my office was still at O’Neal Steel, I didn’t take much time to ponder it.

This summer our Chairman, Craft O’Neal was asked to do a presentation on the history of O’Neal Industries to the Birmingham Chapter of Kiwanis. During his presentation, I listened with new ears, and marveled at the treasure trove of historical photographs in our possession. I thought right then that all employees and customers of O’Neal Industries companies should understand the legacy of our great company, and so we created a video narrated by Craft.

No matter where we work, we are all a part of the fabric of the company that Kirkman O’Neal founded nearly 100 years ago.

O’Neal Industries Origin Video

Guest Post By: Shirley Fagan
Director of Communications
O’Neal Industries

For more information on the history of the O’Neal family of companies visit www.onealind.com.