Senior Caster Pulpit Operator
Direct Strip Production Complex
When I graduated there were a lot of job opportunities at the time. I chose Algoma Steel because it was the largest manufacturer in Northern Ontario, they offered good money and benefits and I knew there would be plenty of opportunity for advancement.
I started in Ironmaking at No. 6 Blast Furnace. I worked in that department for 12 years before transferring over to the Slabcaster where I was introduced to the command room line of sequence, starting as a strand operator and working my way up to shift coordinator. Around that time they started construction on the Direct Strip Production Complex (DSPC) and I watched that facility being built, from the first pilings to the shingles and all of the equipment and technology therein. I secured a position in the DSPC and underwent some of the most rigorous training in my career – in the classroom, on the job, they even sent us to Italy to Danieli’s (technology supplier) training facility. Then I worked every job on the casting floor, learning all aspects of the operation before I took the role of caster pulpit operator.
Our customers are constantly seeking lighter yet stronger and more flexible steel. It takes a knowledgeable and dedicated workforce to meet these demands and the Algoma team is up to the challenge.
What are the more challenging aspects of your job?
The greatest challenge is coordinating the flow of the steel from the time it comes over from Steelmaking– right time, right temperature, right pacing to meet customer specifications, all while ensuring the mill is ready to receive the steel downstream. You need to make this all happen within a 27-minute window. You need to be on your toes.
Can you recall a project you found particularly interesting / satisfying?
The start-up of the DSPC was particularly challenging. It was a long learning curve as we worked through issues and fine-tuned the system. We were continuously improving the process and while it was frustrating at times, the hard work and the investment paid off. It is our cornerstone asset today, and it gives us a competitive edge in the market.
How would you describe the work culture?
We have a very diverse workforce with differing personalities and cultural backgrounds, yet we share the same teamwork ethic, and together we get the job done. Upper management plays an active role which gives you the opportunity to provide direct feedback and share ideas.
Sault Ste. Marie offers great quality-of-life opportunities. How do you like to spend your time outside of work?
The Sault is a great place to live and raise a family. You can hunt, and fish and every season offers a mix of activities such as hiking, biking, swimming, skiing, snowmobiling and playing sports. I enjoy watching the Sault Steelers football team and I coached my daughter’s basketball team and my son’s soccer team when they were younger. Now I look forward to coaching my granddaughter in these sports.