Duct (Work) Dynasty

Mike McLure thought he knew plenty about installing duct work. Then he took an ICD sheet metal class with Fran Arabia, the USW/ATI Safety, Health & Environmental Coordinator, and really learned something.

“I told Fran I wish I had taken the class years ago,” said McLure, an electric tech at ATI Local 1196 in Brackenridge, Pa. “I had to go back in my basement and fix all kinds of stuff. Maybe it wasn’t stuff the normal eye could see, but I knew it wasn’t right.

“It just made me so much more confident in what I was doing.”

McLure, who has worked at ATI for 13 years, said after gaining knowledge in the seven-session ICD customized class, he went back into his basement and couldn’t believe the things that needed fixed.

“I fixed corners after Fran showed me how,” McLure said. “Duct work is different – it’s definitely a different beast – and I struggled. After the classes I was like, ‘Wow, this job could have went so much smoother.’”

The funny thing is, McLure never really took advantage of the ICD benefit and fell into the class by accident.

“I happened to run into Fran and we got to talking about his sheet metal class and I said, ‘You’re doing what? Put me down for it,’” McLure explained. “It was just great timing and a little luck.

“I still can’t believe how valuable the class was.”

Arabia is passionate about HVAC training and believes strongly in the ICD program.

“I take the students through my 35 years of knowledge in residential, commercial and steel mill industrial experiences,” he said. “By the end of the class they are marketable in the trades, if ever needed.

“And most importantly, they are able to work in their home for themselves, or to give a hand to family and friends.”

McLure’s success story didn’t just start at the mill, either. He actually was a former NBC union cameraman who specialized in aerial footage. He also did work for the Golf Channel in helicopters and blimps, but his claim to fame is the work he did for NBC Sports at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece where his crew won an Emmy for the opening ceremonies.

“We spent 31 days there,” McLure said. “Definitely great memories.”

McLure said the wear and tear of travel – and the influx of drones – really made him start thinking about changing careers. He said he saw the writing on the wall around 2006 and ended up landing a job at ATI. He’s also turned his basement – with the duct work he’s now proud of – into a recording studio where he plays guitar and enjoys time with his wife of 10 years, Laura.

“I’m new to ICD, but I’ll tell you when you look at the cost of education and the benefit, it’s so valuable,” he said. “I just told Fran I wish I took advantage of it 10 years ago. Now I see what you can get out of it.”

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 12 December / 0 Comments
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Learning Summit Highlights

Wow! 2019 is just flying by. ICD had two Learning Summits this year. One was in Pittsburgh, the other in Des Moines.

Maybe you missed one? No sweat. Just click the link below and check out the highlights.

And always remember ... learning, it's your benefit for life.



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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 13 November / 0 Comments
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Steel's in his heart and his art

You can call Tom Furey a steelworking artist, or an Artistic Steelworker.

Either way, he’s a Steelworker turned Fine Art Painter these days.

“I started in the mill (at U.S. Steel Fairless Works) for college money and thought I’d quit for good after I graduated,” the former Local 4889 member said. “But two weeks after graduation my mom said the mill called. ‘They want you back.’ I couldn’t refuse. It was such good money.”

After 42 years as a third-generation Steelworker, Furey has hung up his steel-toe boots for a painting brush.

“It’s not a hobby, I’m a Professional Fine Art Oil Painter,” Furey said. “I waited 42 years to paint full-time.”

Furey’s not kidding, either. He has an impressive gallery on his own personal website () and his painting “Safety Huddle,” an oil painting on canvas, depicts Steelworkers on the job. It was accepted into the Art of the State exhibit in Harrisburg, Pa., this year. Only 104 works from nearly 1,800 entries were picked.

Furey paints images that reflect moments of time in his life and cover a wide variety of subject matter.

“Safety Huddle” Oil Painting on Canvas is actually from his days at U.S. Steel Gary Works where he traveled back and forth for two years when he was helping with training for the No. 14 Blast Furnace build. Furey also has a painting titled “Cold Train,” which depicts a setting outside the U.S. Steel Fairless plant as well as "Team Work", which shows a group of Steelworkers slinging a Gantry Crane part that has been unloaded from the large green ship in the background.

“It is a typical scene in the steel industry and part of everyday work for these men to work together to get the job accomplished,” Furey said. “Just the physical size and weight of everything they are handling makes this job dangerous. Together they get it done.”

Furey is a father of four and grandfather to five and both his father and grandfather, also named Tom, were Steelworkers.  He has a son-in-law working at the U.S. Steel Fairless plant.

Furey, who is also a fully crafted goldsmith, started as a laborer and worked everywhere from the blast furnace to the open hearth before getting an electrical apprenticeship in Fairless. He said he taught himself computers on the job at the mill and got into the graphic illustration side as well. He helped set up the computer network for the ICD program in Fairless Hills before leaving the steel industry in 2013.

“I could pick a Steelworker out of a crowd,” Furey said. “We’re all old-school kind of people.

“We’re tough as nails, but I’ve always found that we’re good people.”

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 5 November / 0 Comments
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Announcing the 2019 Tino Fulimeni Scholarship Winners

Tino Fulimeni was an advocate for education.

He would have loved Karlie Hill.

Hill, one of the Institute for Career Development’s eight recipients of the memorial scholarship named in honor of former Steelworker Tino Fulimeni, continues to pursue further education.

The daughter of USW Local 1196 member and contract coordinator Walt Hill, Karlie is currently working on her master’s degree at Penn State University.

A recent graduate of Jacksonville University, Karlie Hill is also working at nearby Penn State-Altoona as an assistant coordinator in the Residence Life Office.

“My career goals are to make an impact in college students’ lives, empower student leaders, and to hopefully one day become a Dean of Students at an institution,” Karlie said.


Tuscaloosa lands a Tino

Matthew Landon Jones couldn’t be more proud of Local 351L in Tuscaloosa.

“The union has helped my family out a lot and been a big part of our lives,” said Jones, one of eight winners of the Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship.

“I appreciate everything the union has and continues to do for me.”

The younger Jones, whose father Matt has worked at BF Goodrich in Tuscaloosa for 20 years, is a freshman majoring in Family and Consumer Sciences with a concentration in education at the University of Montevallo (Ala.).


Two Tickets to Paradise at Local 9231-01

Blake Lewis and Rebecca White are both recipients of the Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship. Both their fathers work for ArcelorMittal-I/N Tek & I/N Kote in New Carlisle, Indiana.

Lewis, the son of Kent Lewis, attends Purdue University Northwest and is majoring in Organizational Leadership and Supervision with a concentration in Environmental Health and Safety.

Blake served five years as a construction mechanic in the Navy before being honorably discharged in 2016. His younger brother, Collin, is a senior at Ball State University.

White, the daughter of Jeffrey White, is a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Rebecca was a member of the National Honor Society and lettered in cross country and track in high school. She’s majoring in biology and is a member of the IU rowing team. Her father, Jeff, is a Computer Technician at I/N-Kote/Tek and has been a Union Steelworker for more than 30 years.


Local 979 in Cleveland earns a Tino

Owen Davis is a Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship recipient.

Davis attends the prestigious Dana School of Music at Youngstown State. He’s the son of James M. Davis.

Davis, a National Honor Society member all of high school, is on the Dean’s List at Youngstown State where he plays in the YSU Youth Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble. He’s earned several honors, including Instrumental List Magazine Musicianship Award in 2016 and the Academic Excellence Award (British Literature). He’s helping as a drum teacher for Music 101 and is a pit percussion instructor for two local high schools in Ohio.


 Local 5133 member’s daughter awarded a Tino

With the talk of layoffs at U.S. Steel-East Chicago Tin, Andy Govert was happy to hear some good news: His daughter, Anna, was one of ICD’s eight recipients of a Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship.

“I’ve got 20 years here,” Andy said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but this made my day.”

Anna Govert is a TV major with a focus on camera operation at Columbia College in Chicago.

“I’ve loved TV for as long as I can remember and after watching the BBC show ‘Merlin’ I decided I had to be a part of it,” Anna Govert said. “I just have a love for TV and want to pursue a career in it.”


Local 1010 awarded a Tino

How ironic that Art Holmes has used the ICD tuition assistance program to earn two degrees. He truly believes in education.

His daughter, Rhianna Holmes, was a winner of the Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship.

Rhianna is currently working on her associate’s degree in aviation maintenance technology at Vincennes University.

“One of my favorite quotes is from (Greek writer) Nikos Kazantzakis: ‘In order to succeed, we must first believe we can,’” Rhianna said.


Local 6103 parents have been Steelworkers for 55 years

Melanie Massey has worked at U.S. Steel-Midwest Steel for 25 years; her husband, Lee, has been at the plant in Portage, Indiana, for 30 years.

Their daughter, Valerie, is a winner of a Tino Fulimeni Memorial Scholarship.

Valerie, a sophomore at Purdue University, is studying Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics with a business minor. In addition, she’s pursuing a degree in English education, educational philosophy, and creative writing.

“We are very grateful for the Career Development program,” Melanie Massey said. “It’s a great benefit for the Union.”

Mom and dad have both utilized the ICD benefit as well.

Melanie, who works on the galvanize line as a production employee, obtained an associate’s degree from Ivy Tech, a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a master’s degree from IU, and a master’s certificate in English Composition, while being a dues-paying member.

Lee, a millwright and planner in tin products, has received certifications in computer information systems as well as college credit from Ivy Tech.

“This was made possible largely by the Career Development Program negotiated by the Union,” Melanie said.


2019 Tino Fulimeni Scholarship Winners


District 1

* Owen Davis of Vienna, OH. Owen is the son of USW Local 979 member, James M. Davis, USW/ArcelorMittal-Cleveland.


District 7

* Anna Govert, Crown Point, IN. Anna is the daughter of USW Local 5133 member, Andrew Govert, USW/U.S. Steel-Gary/East Chicago Tin.

* Rhianna Holmes, LaPorte, IN. Rhianna is the daughter of USW Local 1010 member, Arthur Holmes, USW/ArcelorMittal-Indiana Harbor West.

* Blake Lewis, Westville, IN. Blake is the son of USW Local 9231-01 member, Kent Lewis, USW/ArcelorMittal-I/N Tek & I/N Kote.

* Valerie Christine Massey, Valparaiso, IN. Valerie is the daughter of USW Local 6103 members, Melanie Jean Masseyand Lee Massey, USW/U.S. Steel-Midwest Plant.

* Rebecca White, Chesterton, IN. Rebecca is the daughter of USW Local 9231-01 member, Jeffrey White, USW/ArcelorMittal-I/N Tek & I/N Kote.


District 9

* Matthew Landon Jones, Cottondale, Ala. Matthew Landon is the son of USW Local 351L member, Matt Jones, USW/BF Goodrich-Tuscaloosa.


District 10

* Karlie Hill, Freeport, PA. Karlie is the daughter of USW Local 1196 member, Walter Hill, USW/ATI-Brackenridge.

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 11 October / 0 Comments
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Learning is cool, and knowledge warms you up

The Institute for Career Development continues its national video series showcasing the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) program in Burns Harbor, Indiana at USW Local 6787.

Retired Steelworker Dennis Matney, a member of both USW Locals 6787 and 1010, is the instructor of the HVAC program. Ironically, Matney utilized the ICD benefit during his steelworking days and then took over the program once he retired. The HVAC class is so popular that it has a waiting list; however, it fits the needs of all Steelworkers with numerous classes offered each day to accommodate shifts at the mill.

Please enjoy our latest video from one of the USW’s greatest benefits.


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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 30 July / 0 Comments
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Luis Aguilar's family, including his wife Cynthia, sitting at one of the benches made by the Joblink program through ICD and USW Local 1010.

Former Steelworker gone, but never forgotten

Luis Aguilar is gone, but will never be forgotten.

That was evident by the turnout at his dedication at USW Local 1010 on Tuesday.

The veteran Steelworker passed away suddenly on October 7, 2018. Aguilar spent 48 years and 41 days in the steel mills of East Chicago, Indiana.

The USW Local 1010 members, through the ICD program at Joblink, built two benches and planters in honor of Aguilar, a friend of the ICD program, and hundreds of others.

“He made a lot of sacrifices to be a leader in this local, and he was a darn good one,” USW 1010 President Steve Wagner said. “He pushed our young workers to be the next generation of Steelworkers, and he mentored us old representatives as well.”

Aguilar served many roles and wore many hats over his career. Over the years he was a contract coordinator, dealt with civils rights and training, was a grievance officer, and was an advocate for Women of Steel.

“We are so, so grateful to (Local) 1010 and the Steelworkers,” Aguilar’s wife, Cynthia said. “1010 was there to support our family through it all. They would visit and really gave us strength. Without them we would have been lost.”

The engraved benches and planters will be a part of the Local 1010 headquarters for years to come. The strong turnout, which included co-workers, friends, and family, showed what an impact Aguilar had on anybody he met.

Aguilar’s daughter, Adrianna Gonzalez, as well as Arthur Delgado, Bill and Carol Gnerlich, Dorine Godinez, Julie Mathews, Larry Miles, Mike Misiukiewicz, Jeff Noel, Jose Pabey, Gail Richardson, Rosa Maria Rodriguez, and Don Seifert all participated in the making of the benches and planters for Aguilar in woodshop classes taught by ICD instructor Nick Nash.

Away from the mill, Aguilar was known around the area for coaching baseball. He spent decades as an assistant high school coach at Lake Central and Griffith, even coaching his son, Sal, back in the day.

“We coached for many, many years together,” said former Lake Central and Griffith head coach Todd Iwema. “He is one of the best people I’ve met through baseball in my 40 years in the sport.

“The players absolutely loved him. The players, coaches, and myself were fortunate to be around him. I wish I could share one great memory, but there’s too many to talk about. He was a great man.”


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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 10 July / 1 Comments
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Save the Date: ICD National Conference coming to Nashville in 2020

We’re heading back to one of our favorite cities for the 2020 ICD National Conference.

We hope everyone will join us April 30-May 1, 2020, for a good ole time in Nashville. We are fixin’ to have plenty of opportunities for learning, networking, and educating about the wonderful benefits of the ICD program.

Pre-conference activities, including a Coordinators’ Meeting, Union-Only Meeting, and ICD Reception will take place on April 29.

Conference registration and hotel reservation information will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead, so be on the lookout.

So save the date. We’ll pitch a fit if we don’t see you there!

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 1 July / 5 Comments
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Hola! She loves to learn

Some people have a passion for learning.

Then there’s Roxanne Romero.

The Local 9231 member at ArcelorMittal I/N Tek & I/N Kote in New Carlisle, Indiana, has taken learning a second language to another level.

The 29-year steel veteran has completed an eye-popping 210 hours of Spanish with Rosetta Stone.

“That is just fantastic,” Rosetta Stone account manager Martha Teu said of Romero.

Romero is no stranger to the ICD program. Over her career as a Steelworker, she’s taken everything from cooking to finance to bicycle maintenance to sign language.

“I just love the ICD program,” Romero said. “I utilized the program from the get-go.”

Romero, who also completed seven Spanish tutoring sessions with Rosetta Stone, said she did it all for personal reasons. She has a thirst for learning new things, but her youngest daughter is a licensed Spanish teacher and her son-in-law is also fluent in Spanish.

“I just thought it would be cool to communicate with them,” Romero said. “I just love to learn and I love to read. There was the opportunity through ICD with Rosetta Stone and I just jumped on it.”

Romero spent so many hours on Rosetta Stone that she started writing everything down in notebooks. She said it was challenging, to say the least, starting with words, building to sentences, to translating from English to Spanish, and back from Spanish to English. According to Rosetta Stone’s growth report, Romero made significant gains in her proficiency level of the Spanish language – going from A1/true beginner to B1/beginning intermediate.

“I have tons of notebooks laying around the house,” Romero said.

Besides a knack for learning, Romero has steel in her blood. Her dad and uncle both worked at Bethlehem Steel, while her husband, Rick, was an employee at Bethlehem Steel in Buffalo before the plant closed down. That’s when the family relocated to Northwest Indiana. Rick is currently a welder in the fab shop at the Burns Harbor plant. Their son, Joseph, also works for ArcelorMittal as an electrical engineer.

Roxanne and Rick have three children and nine grandchildren.

“I tell everybody to take advantage of the (ICD) program,” Romero said. “I know some people work 12-hour shifts and are tired, but there comes a point where you’ve got to make time for yourself.

“Our ICD building is so close to the plant, and (ICD coordinator) Jen (Kuzdas) is so wonderful and makes everything exciting.”

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 23 May / 1 Comments
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A ‘cut’ above the rest

Michael Pugh doesn’t work 365 days a year. It just seems like it.

Pugh, 33, works on the cast house floor in iron producing at USW/ArcelorMittal in Cleveland. He’s also a carpenter, handy man, and operates his own chainsaw business.

He credits a lot of his knowledge to the Institute for Career Development.

“ICD has been a life changer for me, and I mean that wholeheartedly,” said Pugh, an LJC member for USW Local 979 in Cleveland. “I initially started out with a beginner’s wood-working class with aspirations of fulfilling my wife’s Pinterest addiction. But it grew from there. I saw how much things were costing. Items my wife and I would normally buy, I decided to make.

“It got to the point where it wasn’t just about saving money, but the satisfaction to saying, ‘I made that!’ With each wood-working class I took through ICD the more confident I got.”

Pugh made everything from Adirondack chairs to corn hole boards to storage benches for his deck. Pugh’s thirst for more knowledge came by utilizing his ICD benefit and taking as many woodshop classes with instructor Tim Smrekar as he could, so he could help remodel his own home.

“We started getting estimates for the kitchen and they were well over $16,000,” Pugh said. “It took my wife (Tara) and me about a year to do the custom kitchen cabinets, cupboards, hidden pull out drawers, two-way island openings and other stuff, but when it was all said and done it cost us about $3,000 in wood, hardware, and paint.”

Even though a general contractor did some work at his house, Pugh put up almost half of the new interior walls, did the roofing, drywall, some electrical tasks, and put in a new stairway.

“I didn’t necessarily save a lot of time, but I know we saved north of $30,000,” Pugh said.

Pugh’s love for ICD classes didn’t stop with woodworking, either. The next phase of home repair came with the knowledge he acquired in the small engine repair classes. He needed seven trees removed from his property, and after receiving a few outrageous quotes decided he was buying the chainsaw and doing it himself. Some neighbors saw him doing the work and that rang up some outside business. Word spread fast through social media and networking to where he’s doing it as a lucrative side job.

“I ended up cutting down 817 trees in 2017 and followed that up by cutting down 807 in 2018,” Pugh said. “During that time I was still working at the steel mill full-time.”

In mid-February, Pugh cut down 59 trees in three days when high winds hammered the Cleveland area.

The power of learning is something Pugh doesn’t take lightly. He continues to be an advocate for the ICD program and looks forward to teaching his two sons, Trace and Caleb, some skills.

“The skills I’ve learned through ICD mean so much; I can’t wait to start projects with them,” Pugh said. “We can build a tree house, a sand box, a bird house, even change spark plugs – the possibilities are endless all thanks to the ICD program.”

Pugh also has advice for Steelworkers who say they don’t have time for classes.

“Make time! I promise you it will be a smart decision,” he said. “Whether it’s gardening 101, your home will look amazing. With the small engine repair classes I’ll be teaching my sons how to clean a carburetor, change spark plugs, or swap out fuel lines.”

The ICD classes fit the needs and interests of any steelworker.

“I don’t care if it’s cooking or carving, take some time out for yourself, your life,” Pugh said.

“Plus, it’s part of your benefit. And it really is a benefit for life.”


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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 28 February / 0 Comments
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Learning's his benefit for life

Matt McIntyre is a go-getter. That’s simply the only way to put it.

A true example of using the ICD program to its full potential, McIntyre hasn’t stopped hitting the knowledge button.

“I used to hound the ICD people (at USW/ATI Metals in Brackenridge, Pennsylvania),” McIntyre recalled. “I recruited guys and told (ICD coordinator) Joe (McAninch) about the classes we needed to have. He finally said, ‘You should get involved with this program.’”

Now an LJC co-chair at USW/ATI Metals in Brackenridge, McIntyre continues to promote the program and spread the word about its benefits.

Fast-forward 10 years and McIntyre is a jack of all trades -- literally. He has used the ICD program as a catalyst in climbing the career ladder at the plant. He spent two years in production, worked another eight in maintenance, and with the help of attending ICD classes on his own time moved into his current position as an electrician at the ATI plant in Brackenridge.

“I’ve taken everything from welding, plumbing, and hydraulic classes to small engine repair, computer, and electrical classes,” McIntyre said. “I don’t like to pay for anything (to get worked on) so I’m always wanting to learn new things.”

One thing on McIntyre’s agenda is trying to book a well water treatment class. He’s already been talking to fellow co-workers about it.

“Calling the Culligan man is expensive,” McIntyre said. “It’s really not that hard to do and it can save you a lot of money.”

McIntyre’s passion for learning also helped him tackle the challenge of building his own garage. He said he and his wife, Leigh Ann, did the entire project except for finishing the concrete.

Despite working full-time and taking as many ICD classes as possible, McIntyre still maintains time for his family, which includes son, Peyton, 10, and daughter, Dakota, 9.

“I tell the guys all the time to make time for (ICD) classes,” McIntyre said. “If you’re working and you miss something it’s better to take four of the six classes than none at all. The instructors are great about going over things you’ve missed. They do a good job.”

This coming from a man who knows all about it.

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  • Posted by bwaddle / Posted on 16 January / 2 Comments
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