Alumnus Leads Venerable Steel Corporation
By Mark Donahue
NLU Alumni Magazine
To say George Babcoke (M.S. in Management '94) is busy is an understatement.
As senior vice president, Europe and global operations services, with United States Steel Corporation, he oversees a diverse swath of functions for the multi-national steel producer. He has executive responsibility for its operations in Slovakia and global oversight of safety, marketing, research and development, engineering, procurement, raw materials, materials management, real estate development and process excellence functions.
George said the steel industry, like most manufacturing industries, was hit hard by the recent recession, and U.S. Steel has been recovering, with some of its target markets either ahead of (automotive) or behind the curve (housing). He is heartened that housing starts and non-residential construction have shown recent signs of life.
While maintaining its footing, George believes U.S. Steel is well positioned in 2013 to make big gains. Its tubular business, which primarily services the energy industry, could tap into a growing market around shale recovery of oil and gas — which may have a side benefit of driving down domestic fuel prices leading to a resurgence of stateside manufacturing.
In addition, 2013 will see the culmination of a number of projects for U. S. Steel. It's just opened a state-of-the-art coke oven in its Clairton, PA, plant in the Pittsburgh area and is commissioning new technology to make a coke substitute in Gary, IN. In the first part of 2013 the company will launch a continuous annealing line as part of its joint venture with Kobe Steel in Leipsic, OH, producing state-of-the-art steels for the auto industry to help auto-makers meet new fuel standards while improving the vehicle’s safety performance.
George said he finds the wide scope of his position refreshing, with significant developments coming along nearly every day. But if there's one thing he truly cherishes in his nearly 37 years at U.S. Steel, it's those he's shared the journey with.
"I enjoy the people I work with, the people I've gotten to know over the years," he said. “ That's one of things that keeps it interesting for me these days; I get to work with a lot of great, smart people, and I get to play a role in developing future leaders in the company."
Read more from the Winter 2013 NLU Alumni Magazine.