Co-sponsored by DFI and PDCA the third annual Atlas Tube Student Day was held on April 10, 2014 at our facility in Chicago. Approximately 70 undergraduate and graduate students from four different universities (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Purdue Calumet) arrived at the mill for presentations, a guided tour, and, of course, free pizza.
The speakers at this year's event were acclaimed professionals from different fields of engineering. Brett Gitskin, president of ECS Midwest, spoke for his second consecutive Student Day about foundation design and geotechnical engineering. Van Komurka, co-founder of Wagner Komurka Geotechnical Group, presented on select aspects of driven pile design at his first Student Day event. Marv Phillips, our residential metallurgist, discussed the nitty gritty of ERW pipe piles, as well as explained the unique manufacturing process that the students would see during their mill tours. Kirstin Nielsen, corporate recruiter for JMC Steel, was also on hand to talk to students about internship opportunities. Marilyn Poindexter, account manager of our pipe piles division, was the M.C. for the event and did an excellent job welcoming all of the students and detailing the itinerary for the day.
After a pizza lunch, students donned white Atlas Tube hard hats, plastic safety glasses, bright orange vests, and ear plugs in preparation for their guided tours of the plant. The tour is always the highlight of Student Day, as students are able to get an up close and personal look at how hollow structural sections (HSS) and pipe piles are made. During the approximately 60 minute tours, students see how pipe and tube is manufactured – from the uncoiler to the flattener, and everything in between.
Once all of the students returned from their tours, a short debriefing session was held with a Q&A session led by the speakers. Then, with promo item bags, hard hats, and extra slices of pizza in tow, the students headed back to their campuses with a greater appreciation for the steel industry and more knowledge about the piling manufacturing process as a whole.