4 Reasons Why Big River Steel Chose ArkansasApril 22, 2016
An interview with Mark Bula, CCO of Big River Steel
Mark Bula’s career was forged in the massive steel mills of Ohio and Illinois, the Great Lakes sector of the American steel industry. Today, as CCO of Big River Steel (BRS) located in the Arkansas Delta, Bula shares the essential reasons that brought BRS to Arkansas, which has become the nation’s hottest region for steel.
1. Power. Power. And more Power.
“Without formidable power,” says Bula, “Arkansas would not be an attractive location to steel producers.” The annual power needs for 100 homes would only power BRS for one minute. Fortunately, BRS is powered by an existing 500-kilovolt transmission line, courtesy of Entergy Arkansas. A second 500-kilovolt substation in the area ensures that BRS’s innovative electric arc melting process is online 24/7.
2. The Mississippi River.
“We cannot do what we do without direct access to the Mississippi River,” says Bula. Because BRS has customers across North America, the Mississippi River’s massive shipping capabilities are essential. Arkansas’ river access, and its advantageous central location reduce logistics costs dramatically.
3. A pro-biz Governor.
“It’s so important to work with a governor who gets things done,” says Bula. A pro-business, bottom-line focused state government is crucial when assisting enormous projects like BRS. Governor Asa Hutchinson’s active accessibility cuts red tape and accelerates timetables.
4. An economic agency who “manages the rodeo.”
Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s role was immensely helpful, according to Bula. “Having somebody who knows the state and who can bring the right people to the table is huge.” Arkansas Economic Development Commission is the Governor’s right-hand agency for business, stepping up to facilitate action.
Today, Mississippi County is among the top steel producing counties in the nation,, employing nearly 5,500 workers and playing an essential role in the state’s economy.
Big River Steel (Osceola, AR) successfully began processing steel in March. When fully operational, The Flex Mill is expected to produce 1.6M tons of niche and specialty steels currently under-supplied and much in demand in the North American market.