O'NEAL STEEL

O’Neal Steel executives cut a ribbon at the company’s grand opening ceremony Thursday.

O’Neal Steel celebrated its grand opening Thursday at its new 64,000-square-foot facility at 2901 S. 22nd St. in St. Joseph with executives and employees from the company, Altec, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Bill McMurray.

O’Neal Steel was lured to St. Joseph because of its long-standing partnership with Altec, which provides products for electrical utilities, telecommunications and tree care. O’Neal Steel produces the steel used to manufacture many of Altec’s products. This new facility will save Altec money on distribution costs.

“St. Joe has Altec’s largest manufacturing facility in the United States and it only made sense for us to put a location here to continue to support them in the way that we have for the last 73 years,” said Tate Forrester, vice president of sales and marketing. Forrester will assume the role of CEO starting Oct. 1.

The new facility will employ eight people. Forrester said the company plans to expand in the future, which would increase employees to about 25.

The company’s steel typically is distributed to manufacturers of construction and agricultural equipment.

“The local manufacturing companies in St. Joe, which there’s a lot, they’ve never had a local steel service center of our scale and our size and so we think that the benefits from that will only grow over the years,” Forrester said.

The vacant warehouse that now is home to O’Neal Steel was previously a grocery store distribution center before turning into the company’s 19th U.S. location.

“Bit of a different building than the one that we would normally use in our operations, but we have been able to repurpose it and it’s working out fantastically for us,” Forrester said.

The new facility will bring a supply of steel to everyone in the St. Joseph area from large companies, like Altec, to a hobbyist making homemade metal art.