Posted April 23, 2024

Zekelman Industries Unveils $120 Million Investment in Arkansas

Steel pipe and tube manufacturer partners with Arkansas Northeastern College on workforce training initiative.

Zekelman Industries, the largest independent steel pipe and tube manufacturer in North America, will invest up to $120 million to expand the manufacturing capabilities and product offerings of its subsidiary, Atlas Tube, in Mississippi County.

The project will bring Zekelman’s total number of employees in the area to more than 300. During the unveiling, the manufacturer also announced it will partner with Arkansas Northeastern College on a new workforce training initiative.

“Education and skills training are crucial to developing the next generation of workers. Our goal at Zekelman is to prepare, nurture and inspire students entering the thriving and well-paying steel industry,” said Tom Muth, chief operating officer. “Our commitment is representative of our partnership with the Blytheville community and ongoing dedication to domestic-only manufacturing. We are particularly grateful to Mayor Logan and Mississippi County for their continued support.”

The leading manufacturer of hollow structural sections and steel pipe, Zekelman currently operates two Atlas Tube facilities in Blytheville. Its new project will allow it to manufacture inline steel tube galvanizing products in size ranges not currently available in North America.

“Northeast Arkansas is powering a manufacturing boom in the Natural State and quickly becoming one of the top steel-producing regions in America,” said Governor Sanders. “I’m grateful that Zekelman Industries is not only expanding its footprint in this region but also investing in career and technical education. This type of public-private partnership is exactly what we need to train the next generation of steelworkers.”
Mississippi County is Atlas Tube’s primary manufacturing hub for its southeast and southwest operations. Since 2011, Zekelman Industries has completed multiple projects at its Blytheville site, including expanding and modernizing its plant and warehouse. In 2022, Atlas Tube opened a second facility, the world’s largest continuous ERW mill, at an adjoining property with a more than $250 million capital investment.

“Zekelman Industries is a major steel producer and a valued member of Arkansas’ business community. We are proud that Zekelman has chosen to expand in Blytheville,” said Clint O’Neal, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “Mississippi County is the leading steel-producing county in the nation – this is made possible by great companies and visionary local leaders.”

Along with the expansion, Zekelman said it would provide $250,000 to Arkansas Northeastern College to support area students in the steel industry and aviation maintenance degree programs. The funds, distributed over the next five years, will cover educational costs for at least 10 individuals annually who are obtaining associates of applied science. Benefitting Arkansas Northeastern College students will also have the opportunity to pursue potential internship positions at Atlas Tube’s facilities in Blytheville.

“Arkansas Northeastern College has a strong track record of success in working alongside area employers to design tailored training programs that meet industries’ needs,” said Dr. Chris Heigle, president. “These partnerships benefit our students, equipping them with the real-world skills needed to secure good-paying jobs while fueling the growth of our region’s economy.”

“Mississippi County’s business climate makes it a prime location for companies like Zekelman to establish and expand their operations,” said Clif Chitwood, president of the Great River Economic Development Foundation. “Our trained workforce, supported by institutions like Arkansas Northeastern College, is one of the many factors that sets us apart and allows manufacturers to flourish here.”

About Zekelman
Zekelman is a family of operating companies that includes Atlas Tube, Picoma, Sharon Tube, Wheatland Tube, Western Tube and Z Modular. With 20 manufacturing locations and 2,900+ teammates across North America, the company is the leading independent manufacturer of hollow structural sections (HSS) and steel pipe and the top producer of electrical conduit and elbows, couplings and nipples in North America. Zekelman—Believe in What You Build™.

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