Industry News

Fifth Annual SteelDay Draws Attendance of More Than 10,000 People

More than 10,000 people attended 125 free events around the U.S. on October 4 in celebration of the structural steel industry’s fifth annual SteelDay, hosted by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), its members and partners. AEC professionals, university faculty and students and the general public learned about the contributions the industry has made in the design and construction of steel buildings and bridges by visiting various structural steel facilities, touring job sites, attending educational presentations and joining in networking events.

“SteelDay enjoyed much success again this year for the fifth annual celebration,” commented Ross Allbritton, AISC industry mobilization manager. “Many hosts and attendees have participated in all five years, and new people join us every single year. We continue to add new opportunities to the events, and the feedback this year has been very rewarding.”

One new opportunity for participants was a SteelDay Twitter contest. Those who follow AISC (@aisc) on Twitter and ‘tweeted’ about SteelDay were entered into a drawing to win a Google Nexus 7 tablet. The contest winner was Chris Marvin (@BarelyCivil), a staff engineer with Cives Engineering Corp., an AISC member, in Atlanta. He attended a SteelDay event at the Gerdau mill in Cartesville, Ga., also an AISC member, for a guided tour of the facility and a presentation on BIM and the steel market.

“I think from a steel industry standpoint everyone should go see a mill at least once in their life,” tweeted Marvin.

“Working for a fabricator I have always been curious about the process steel goes through to get to our plants,” he explained. “Seeing the massive operation at the mill I visited gave me a lot of clarity as to just how efficient our industry is. I knew going into the tour that mills were dependent on scrap to recycle into their steel, but I had no idea just how many sources they acquired the scrap from. I am so thankful to the people that took the time out of their schedule to lead our tour through the mill. I had a really great experience and hope to attend more SteelDay events in the future!”

SteelDay kicked off with a special event hosted by the National Steel Bridge Alliance (NSBA), in conjunction with the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the House and Senate Steel Caucuses, at AISI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Dozens of attendees learned about the importance of engineering education as well current issues surrounding the nation’s infrastructure.

The event featured remarks from Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Pete Visclosky (D-IN), AISC President Roger Ferch, AISI President and CEO Thomas J. Gibson, and Pat Natale, executive director of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“We want a strong steel industry in this country,” commented Congresswoman Foxx. “We commend you for what you’re doing, and thank you for educating us.”

Added Congressman Visclosky, “Thank you to the National Steel Bridge Alliance and AISI for continuing to remind people that we ought to make things in the United States of America and we do have a strong, efficient, vibrant steel sector in this country.”

At the event, the winners of the 2013 ASCE/AISC National Student Steel Bridge Competition from the University of California – Berkeley, as well as competition contestants from the University of Akron, University of Delaware and University of Maryland showcased their large-scale, modular steel bridge designs, illustrating the importance of engineering education and training. The annual Student Steel Bridge competition brings together the next generation of structural engineers to demonstrate their skills in steel design, fabrication, and teamwork in building scaled designed and fabricated bridges.

“We need to be investing in our future and our students,” said Natale. “We need the leadership of our faculty who are helping to grow these students, and we need to excite these young folks to get them into our profession.”

Live webinars were also offered during SteelDay, including AISC’s “
The Life of the K Factor
,” presented by Charlie Carter, S.E., P.E., Ph.D., AISC vice president and chief structural engineer. The recording of the live webinar is available for free online viewing and attendees can still receive 1 hour of continuing education credit for viewing the webinar and completing an online quiz at no charge.

SteelDay also featured creative elements, including a “STEEL-a-palooza” music competition. Artists involved in the structural steel industry submitted their original compositions for a compilation CD that was distributed at various SteelDay events. If you didn’t have a chance to attend an event and receive your free CD, you can view the featured artists and listen to, download and share their music at

In addition, AISC members entered their own innovative steel sculptures for this year’s SteelDay Sculpture Competition for a chance to be one of five finalists to have their creation on display at the 2014
NASCC: The Steel Conference
, March 26-29, in Toronto, where the ultimate winner will be chosen by attendees. Fourteen sculptures were entered into the competition with their photos posted to
where fans voted for their favorites. The top five finalists headed to The Steel Conference are: Memories of Steel; Lunch Atop a Skyscraper; Get a Grip; Reflecting the High Way; and Steve the Robot.

Photos from this year’s SteelDay events can be found on AISC’s Facebook page at
in the “SteelDay 2013” photo album. If you’d like to share your photos, please contact AISC’s Victoria Cservenyak at

If you attended a SteelDay event, you can receive your certificate of attendance and share your feedback at
. Next year’s SteelDay is scheduled for September 19, 2014.