The Marshall University Foundation has announced that the Steel Dynamics Inc. Foundation has pledged a gift of $100,000 in support of the new Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation facility at Marshall University.
The state-of-the-art facility is slated to be built in the 1400 block of Fourth Avenue on a plot of land that formerly housed The Flats on 4th apartment complex and is scheduled to open in January of 2024.
The building, which will also serve as a center for the economic development of the region, will provide for conference facilities capable of hosting both small and large business gatherings. Additionally, the building will serve as the hub for student-centric activities, providing students not only with instructional facilities but also facilities encouraging interaction and collaboration.
“The Lewis College of Business at Marshall University has graduated many of our current employees and has proven to be an excellent education provider to the region,” said Chuck Abbott, vice president and general manager at Steel of West Virginia. “Investments in new facilities and equipment will keep those graduates up to date with the ever-changing business world. We believe a better-educated workforce creates a stronger economy with higher living standards and more opportunities for everyone to benefit from it, including those less fortunate.”
A game-changer for the region, the Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation will implement the latest in technological enhancements while maintaining an open architecture capable of expanding and being reconfigured based upon changes and demands in the environment. Additionally, the facility will incorporate classrooms that encourage active learning environments of various types.
The center will help attract new students to Marshall University who are eager to take advantage of one of the most innovative business schools in the country. In turn, Abbott says he looks forward to what that means for the entire region both in terms of economic impact and a highly adaptable and skilled workforce.
“Our region will be positively impacted with the latest educational initiatives,” Abbott said. “This will allow our families and their children to get a great, cost-effective education preparing them for successful careers. The new facility will also attract world-class faculty and students. Business in the region will also be able to greatly improve with these better-prepared graduates.”
Founded in 1993, Steel Dynamics Inc. is one of the largest and youngest domestic steel producers and metals recyclers in the United States based on estimated annual steelmaking and metals recycling capability. With annual revenues of $18.4 billion in 2021, SDI has over 10,000 employees and manufacturing facilities primarily located throughout the United States. SDI quickly grew to become one of the premier carbon steel producers in the United States. Steel Dynamics’ growth is a combination of organic capacity greenfield additions and strategic acquisitions.
Steel Dynamics’ operations consist of seven mills, one of which is Steel of West Virginia, producing steel from steel scrap using electric arc furnaces, continuous casting, automated rolling mills and downstream finishing facilities.
The company was recently recognized as the 2021 Steel Producer of the Year by Fastmarkets Global Awards for Steel Excellence and was the only steel producer out of 236 USA employers named one of the World’s Best Employers in 2021 by Forbes. Steel Dynamics was also named by Investor’s Business Daily as one of the 100 Best Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Companies of 2021. SDI is the only U.S. steel producer given this designation and one of only three steel producers globally.
Steel Dynamics has been a regular supporter of Marshall University through the years, having previously donated to the computer lab in the Lewis College of Business and supporting other projects at the university. Abbott said that, as both a Marshall graduate and a proud member of the Steel Dynamics family, he is thrilled to help facilitate change in the region by supporting Marshall University and its growing Huntington campus.
“We are thankful for the SDI Foundation to be able to help the new business college in its funding for the new Brad D. Smith Business and Innovation Center building,” Abbott said. “It is fantastic to be able to help Marshall University continue to move forward by giving back to a school that has provided Steel of West Virginia outstanding employees for decades.”
Photo: Posing with the ceremonial check are Lance West, vice president for development at the Marshall University Foundation Inc. (left); Chuck Abbott, vice president and general manager at Steel of West Virginia Inc. (second from left); additional staff members at Steel of West Virginia; Dr. Avinandan Mukherjee, interim provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs at Marshall University (second from right); and Dr. Ron Area, CEO, Marshall University Foundation Inc. (right).