Steel back in action

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

NATCHEZ — DynaSteel Corporation is back in action and bringing with it jobs.

So said owner and CEO Jim Russell at Wednesday’s Natchez Rotary Club meeting.

The steel fabricators specialize in devices that prevent particles from industries from being released into the atmosphere.

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“We started manufacturing air pollution control the same year the (Environmental Protection Agency) was created,” Russell said. “At first, we were in the business of eliminating nuisance dust” from cotton and the like.

When the company needed a location along the Mississippi River 20 years ago, they found Natchez and its exceptional port, he said.

However, in the early part of the century, national events such as the Enron scandal, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and administration transitions changed the rules of how companies had to cope with their environmental waste, and business plummeted.

“Everything stopped,” Russell said.

The Natchez plant dropped from 60 or 70 employees to one, he said.

“I financed the company out of my pocket for two years, and my pockets are not that deep,” he said. “We knew if we could make it through the tough times, we would be successful.”

And, indeed, things have picked up recently. With global warming a hot issue and legislators pushing for tighter regulations, there is a definite need for DynaSteel’s products, Russell said.

The Natchez plant employs 163 people today and is looking for 50 more welders, he said.

“We’ve doubled the size of our plant,” he said. “The future looks very bright. I don’t see another downturn in the future. Coal and power plants have a lot of cleaning up to do.”

Russell ended by volunteering to help bring industry to Natchez any way he could.

“I want to be an ambassador for Natchez,” he said. “I would love to tell Natchez’ story.”