Alton Steel Inc. (ASI), a leading manufacturer of high-quality steel bars, announced the appointment of Alton native Chris Ervin as its new CEO. Ervin will succeed Chief Executive Officer Jim Hrusovsky, who announced his retirement today after more than 10 years of distinguished leadership. The two leaders will work together closely during the transition until Hrusovsky’s retirement in September. After that, Hrusovsky will remain a part of the team as a consultant.
“It has been an honor to serve as CEO for ASI,” said Hrusovsky. “This is a bittersweet decision for me. I’ve worked for several companies during my 43-year career, and ASI has been the most rewarding place I’ve ever worked. The people here really care about each other, they are always focused on doing the right things for the company and our customers, and they pitch in whenever and wherever they are needed. While I will miss the people of ASI a great deal, I’m also looking forward to more time with my family and traveling with my wife Laura.”
Ervin was chosen to lead ASI by the Board of Directors after an extensive national search. He has over 25 years of experience in steel production and processing. He was born and reared in Alton, graduating from Alton Senior High School and the University of Illinois. Ervin emerged as the leading candidate based upon his leadership skills and industry experience, while his Alton roots were a bonus.
“Words can’t express how excited I am to return home to Alton,” said Ervin. “I have so many fond memories here. Growing up I had great friends, teachers, coaches and mentors who helped prepare me for this opportunity. ASI has a strong track record of success, and together we can build on this legacy and create even more success in the years to come.”
Ervin spent 19 years with Gerdau-Long Steel North America in progressively challenging roles, eventually becoming the vice president of their West Coast Rebar Operations. More recently he worked as the General Manager for Dubose Steel in North Carolina and as the Regional General Manager for Canam Steel Corporation in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Chris is the perfect choice as the new CEO to continue the exciting transition of ASI into the future,” said Hrusovsky. “We have several major projects underway at this time, and we need someone with Chris’ background and leadership skills to help see them through successfully. Chris is smart, inclusive, approachable, and an industry leader. I’m confident he will be a perfect fit here.” Ervin is particularly excited about driving technological advancements, expanding into new markets, and solidifying the company’s sustainability efforts in steel production.
Since its re-emergence, ASI has become a leader in producing sustainable steel products and is a vital part of the regional economy. The company currently has about 250 salaried and union employees. While other steel producers in the region are curtailing production, ASI is expanding its product offerings and actively hiring employees.
ASI has a rich history in Alton and has most recently established itself as a key player in the Special Bar Quality (SBQ) marketplace. After Laclede went bankrupt in 2001, it was resurrected in 2003 as Alton Steel by John and Jayne Simmons as well as former Laclede employees, some of whom still work at ASI today. The Simmons invested in ASI with the aspiration of creating jobs, honoring history, and bringing back the steelmaking craft to this city, which was essential to everyone who lived in Alton. John’s father and uncle worked at the former Laclede Steel Company, which was a key motivator in the Simmons’ desire to bring the company back to life for the people of Alton.
In 2019, the Simmons transferred ownership of ASI to the company’s approximately 50 full-time salaried employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), which is an employee ownership and retirement plan. The Simmons wanted ASI to remain locally owned and operated, and it continues today as an employee-owned company.
ASI has a strong and diverse customer base. ASI’s track-record for on-time and efficient deliveries has also been an important factor in the growth of the company. ASI has historically ranked highly for customer service and total value by the Jacobson & Associates Steel Customer Satisfaction Report.
Alton Steel Inc. established in 2003, is a Special Bar Quality (SBQ) steel mill producing rounds ,hexes, round-cornered squares, and bar-in-coil in the heartland of America. Through continued investment for a promising future, Alton Steel offers products at a competitive price with a dedicated focus on great customer service. ASI’s current production includes a full range of carbon and alloy grades. Flexible and frequent rolling offers quick response and better inventory control to our customers. www.altonsteel.com and on Facebook @AltonSteelInc