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Wheeling Corrugating’s Roots Run Deep

February 21, 2011
By FRED CONNORS

BEECH BOTTOM - Things are looking up at Wheeling Corrugating - way up.

For more than 110 years, the company has taken up the gauntlet to survive in a volatile domestic steel industry and has emerged as a leader in its field.

Wheeling Corrugating's roots run deep. Founded in 1890 by Alexander Glass, the company joined the industrial revolution when its steam-powered machinery began churning out galvanized culvert pipe, expanded metal, cut nails and what would become iconic Wheeling Steel galvanized buckets and tubs.

Article Photos

Photo provided
Checking newly painted steel coils at Wheeling Corrugating’s Beech Bottom plant are Brian Taylor, left, plant operations manager, and Doug Robbins, vice-president of sales.

As the bucket business dried up over the years, the company diversified its product line to include residential and commercial roofing and siding, various forms of decking, highway products, painted coil and galvanized sheet products.

Headquartered in the Severstal Wheeling Building in downtown Wheeling, the company has facilities in Louisville, Ky.; Lenexa, Kan.; Grand Junction, Colo.; Fallon, Nev.; Houston, Texas, Fort Payne, Ala.; Emporia, Va.; Beech Bottom and Martins Ferry.

Doug Robbins, vice president of commercial sales, said Wheeling Corrugating generates more than $200 million in revenue annually and the firm's five-year plan is trending to hit $500 million.

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Despite the decline in the domestic steel industry, Wheeling Corrugating Co. remains successful. What's the company's key to success?

Along with being a major player in the residential and commercial roofing and siding business, Wheeling Corrugating reinvented itself in the late 1990s and is now leading the industry in galvanized decking for complex structures and high rise vertical construction. The decking serves as an underlayment for concrete floors.

What makes Wheeling Corrugating's success so amazing is that it's happened at a time when the domestic steel industry has suffered.

The company has approximately 100 employees between its Beech Bottom plant and the corporate offices. It also is the primary buyer of galvanized products produced at Severstal's Martins Ferry plant.

While remaining a major player in the residential and commercial roofing and siding business, Wheeling Corrugating reinvented itself in the late 1990s and is now leading the industry in galvanized decking for complex structures and high rise vertical construction. The decking serves as an underlayment for concrete floors.

"We are more sophisticated and more in line with the green movement," Robbins said. "We are environmentally correct and are continually reducing our carbon footprint."

Wheeling Corrugating is supplying 4,000 tons of decking for what will become the 108-story One World Trade Center being built at the former site of the Twin Towers in New York City. Robbins said competition from foreign imports is not a factor for his company because of logistics.

"Due to the complexity and time constraints on domestic projects, building materials are purchased through domestic suppliers," he said.

He explained that Wheeling Corrugating is able to place 45-foot trailers carrying 20 tons of decking under the hook of cranes within the time frame of scheduled street closures.

Included the company's customer list are several high profile projects.

The Beech Bottom plant provided 128,00 square feet of bridge deck for the Pat Tillman Overpass, a 1,900- foot-long, four-lane span near the Hoover Dam.

Another significant structure is the 975-foot Comcast Center, the tallest building in Philadelphia.

Complex structures supplied by Wheeling Corrugating include the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minn.; Heinz Field and PNC Park and the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh; the Cleveland Browns stadium and the Paul Brown stadium in Cincinnati.

As the complex buildings and high rise market flourishes, the company continues to grow its roofing and siding business through exporting.

"Last year, we shipped 500 tons of roofing and siding to Haiti for housing and light commercial rebuilding after the January, 2009 earthquake," Robbins said.

As Wheeling Corrugating shoots for its five-year sales goal, it appears the sky is the limit for a company that once banked on buckets and tubs.

 
 

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