All You Need to Succeed Is Initiative and PPE

All You Need to Succeed Is Initiative and PPE

By Natalie Steenberg

I must confess: When I accepted the position of operations coordinator for the (MCA), I knew nothing about metal construction. I even mentioned in my interview that though I was interested in the opportunity, I was completely clueless about the industry. What I did know about is association management, which is why I got the position.

Since I started working with MCA, I’ve attempted to get a grasp on what the members of my association do within the industry. For my research, I’ve read white papers, technical bulletins, and even taken the Metal Roof Installation exam. I’ve also watched YouTube videos of our member companies explaining how their factories produce insulated metal panels and metal composite materials, but I needed to do more to sort out who MCA’s members are and what we do for them. I would have to find out for myself, in person.

I was able to put more pieces together when I exhibited at METACON, a trade show that MCA sponsors. I walked the floor with our technical director and learned how our member companies work with each other. They buy and sell from one another and want to increase the use of metal in roofs and walls overall. When visiting the US Steel booth and talking with MCA board member, Dave Durham, we decided that it would be helpful for the 911’s MCA staff to tour the US Steel mill in Gary, IN, to get a firsthand look at how steel is made.

On a chilly Friday morning in November, Liz Giannini, Louise Ristau, Kelly Kellermann, and I arrived at the largest steel mill in North America for a tour. After putting on personal protective equipment (PPE), we watched in awe as coke and scrap metal were heated in a blast furnace until they became liquid metal, which was then poured into casters to make slabs of steel. Next, the slabs were heated, blasted with water, and rolled into a sheet. The sheet was then rolled into a giant coil. After that, we toured Precoat Metals, another MCA member company that treats and paints the giant coils for the industry. Precoat buys paint from several of our coating manufacturer members.

Going on these site visits and experiencing metal production firsthand has helped me realize that one of our biggest member benefits is the networking that occurs at MCA’s two annual conferences and on committee and council conference calls. Now that I made the effort to see with my own eyes why some of our companies are members, I am hopeful I can better serve them. Sometimes, you have to put on your PPE and spend some time with coworkers and members to figure out how to do your job better. 

Natalie Steenberg serves as the operations coordinator for the Metal Construction Association, a client partner of 911.

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