Steel is in their blood: Three generations of steelmakers at Burns Harbor

Steel is in their blood: Three generations of steelmakers at Burns Harbor
By: ArcelorMittal Last Updated: July 13, 2020

Kyle Sims had some big shoes to fill when he was moved into the new job of shift manager at the No. 2 roll shop at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor’s hot strip mill last October. He had been working at the plant for about six years, and he was transferring into a role that was once held not only by his father, Jon, but also his grandfather Tim, before that.

Tim Sims worked at Burns Harbor for three decades, most of that time in the roll shop. 

“The roll shop was always my dad’s passion,” Jon recalls. Tim is retired now, and Jon has moved on to another career, but Kyle is continuing the family tradition. 

“It’s funny,” said Bob Meyer, maintenance technician mechanical in the #2 roll shop, “some of us have worked with all three of them over the course of our careers.” 

Bob gets it – he’s a 4th-generation steelworker himself and he knows what it is to have steel in your blood. 

“I started working in the steel industry when I was 15,” Kyle remembers. “I was fixing cars in the garage with my dad, who worked at Burns Harbor at the time, and I was explaining that I wanted to try something different from the summer job I had at my mom’s flower shop. The car we were working on belonged to a friend of my dad’s, and he offered me a job as a laborer at a local steel processor. I’ve been in the steel industry ever since,” Kyle said. 

Kyle has always been motivated to uphold the family name. He’s a hard worker who enjoys solving problems and seeing the results, which is probably what drew Tim and Jon to the roll shop too.  

“Each of us is different, but we are also very much the same. We each may have our own management styles but we share very similar work ethics. When I hear others at the plant talk about my dad or grandfather, they always have good things to say. I’ve even worked with guys that remember working with my dad on the day I was born.” 

Jon has always been a big influence in Kyle’s life. “We are really close. When we’re not at work, you can usually find us out in the garage fixing cars. It’s what we do,” Kyle said with a smile. 

According to Jon, working on cars – restoring vintage Mustangs, to be exact – has not only been a shared passion of his and his sons, but it also provided early hands-on training for the skills required in manufacturing. 

“The steel industry has been good to our family,” he said.  

Indeed, the No. 2 roll shop isn’t the only place in ArcelorMittal that has had the Sims touch. Kyle’s younger twin brothers Joshua and Drew also work for the company, at the Burns Harbor sintering plant and Indiana Harbor hot mill roll shop, respectively.  

Jon is proud of all three of his sons. Steel might be the family business, but the thing that really bonds them is their love for Mustangs. They have nine restored cars among them. “Yeah, we’ve always got a few projects going,” he laughed.