Service Centers

Union Partners Joins Big River on Arkansas Campus

Written by Tim Triplett

Union Partners announced plans today to build a new steel processing facility on the Osceola, Ark., campus of Big River Steel. The operations will be located directly adjacent to Big River’s Flex Mill and will include both slitting and multi-blanking lines in a new build-to-suit facility expandable to 258,000 square feet. Construction will be on an accelerated schedule with a formal groundbreaking in the first quarter of 2018.

Union Partners will install the latest innovations in technology and processes to enable real-time collaboration between their new operations and Big River Steel. The mill-grade equipment was selected to service the needs of Big River and its customers now and into the future, including the specific needs of the automotive industry, which both companies are targeting. Planned expansions are already designed to seamlessly meet future needs as product development continues at the Big River mill that began producing steel just over a year ago. 

“The Union Partners team is excited about our new opportunity alongside Big River Steel,” said the company’s founders Chris Hutter and Paul Douglass in a joint statement. “This collaboration will allow Union Partners to supply additional steel needs across the country, while maintaining our strong commitment to innovation. Our leading equipment and testing capabilities will only serve to further enhance the timely delivery of quality steel products into the marketplace.”

Big River CEO Dave Stickler added, “Big River is excited to welcome Union Partners to Arkansas as we continue to attract a full roster of the industry’s best organizations to our campus. We’ve helped bring millions of dollars of investment to Arkansas and hundreds of jobs. And we’re not done yet.”

In addition to complementary equipment and technology, Union Partners and Big River share an entrepreneurial approach to the steel industry. Both organizations view investment and innovation as critical to the future of American-made steel and have built their companies to embrace leading technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0, said Mark Bula, chief commercial officer at Big River. “Our best conversations with customers are not about filling orders. We talk about opportunities and solutions, and what they need from a steel producer to help get them there. We want to be talking with customers about the niche steels they don’t even know they need yet. And so does Union Partners.”

Chicago-based Union Partners LLC is a full-service metals and logistics operating company with independent facilities throughout the United States. It’s other steel industry holdings include Opus Metals, Mapes & Sprowl, Chicago Steel, Cortran, JIT Steel Transport and JIT Steel Service.

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