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Hundreds Help PRO-TEC Coating Company Celebrate `A Decade of Shared Success'

Officials From United States Steel and Kobe Steel, Ltd. Laud Accomplishments of This Unique Joint Venture


The celebrants came from Japan, from Pittsburgh, from Detroit and other locations near and far to this small village in Northwest Ohio to help PRO-TEC Coating Company celebrate "a decade of shared success."

Hundreds attended the ceremony at PRO-TEC, the world's largest, automotive, continuous, hot-dipped galvanizing/galvannealing production facility. The company is owned by an equal partnership of United States Steel Corporation and Kobe Steel, Ltd., of Japan. In the audience were local and state government officials, customer and supplier representatives, PRO-TEC associates, and members of the Leipsic community's leadership.

"Our organizational culture is a unique mix of three very different influences," said Paul Worstell, PRO-TEC's president and master of ceremonies for the celebration.

"First, the strong American steelmaking tradition of U. S. Steel. Second, the very team-oriented, empowering Japanese style of management from Kobe Steel; and, third, the regional influence of rural Northwest Ohio, characterized by a strong work ethic, innovation and family values."

A million tons of coated sheet steel rolls off PRO-TEC's two production lines annually. The finished product is shipped from the 730,000-square-foot plant mainly to domestic and Japanese transplant automobile production facilities throughout North America.

Ohio's United States Senator George Voinovich, who dedicated the plant ten years ago when he was governor of Ohio, was the event's featured speaker. Also sharing the podium were U. S. Steel Vice Chairman and COO Roy Dorrance, Kobe Steel President and CEO Koshi Mizukoshi and the Consul General of Japan from Detroit Shinichi Isashiki.

In his remarks, U. S. Steel's Dorrance said, "We knew when we selected this site, we were going to be blessed by some of the best workers and work ethic in America. The associates of PRO-TEC have not let us down. We at United States Steel Corporation are glad to have a strong partner in Kobe Steel and look forward to continued success with our value-added product mix."

Along with Dorrance, U. S. Steel was represented by Vice Chairman and Chief Legal and Administrative Officer Dan Sandman and Executive Vice President-Sheet and Tin Products, J. Paul Kadlic.

When completed, Dorrance and all speakers put a copy of their remarks in a container already filled with items representing the company and the community in 2003. The container will become part of a specially designed time capsule that will be installed above ground near the entrance to the plant as a visual reminder of the enduring quality of PRO-TEC's product.

Kobe Steel's Mizukoshi said, "PRO-TEC is a remarkable example of a successful U.S.-Japan joint venture. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you, for without your support and assistance, PRO-TEC's achievements would have been impossible.

"The associates of PRO-TEC have always strived toward one goal: to make the best possible steel sheet. To reach this goal, PRO-TEC has incorporated state-of-the-art technology and constant attention to quality. The result of this endeavor clearly benefits the customer. Looking to the future, my sincere hope is that this year will be another year of growth and prosperity for PRO-TEC Coating Company."

Also representing Kobe were its Executive Vice President of Iron and Steel Yasuo Inubushi and PRO-TEC's Executive Vice President Soichiro Saito.

In his remarks, Senator Voinovich said, "As governor I worked hard to bring this facility to Ohio for one reason: jobs. I'm proud of the contribution this plant has made to the community and to the lives of the people who work here. It is a success for one reason: good people. They are hard working and professional and that shows in the products they make. It's been an amazing decade and I wish the men and women of PRO-TEC 10 more years of success."

PRO-TEC's Worstell reminded Senator Voinovich that a decade ago Governor Voinovich told the audience at the facility's dedication that the steel dipped at the PRO-TEC plant would last at least ten years.

To prove the correctness of his decade-earlier remarks, an unsuspecting Senator Voinovich joined U. S. Steel's Dorrance and Kobe's Mizukoshi in unveiling a red Dodge Caravan that had been produced from the first coil of steel dipped at the PRO-TEC plant.

Maintaining the program's all-Ohio momentum, the first steel coil was shipped from Leipsic, Ohio, to the DaimlerChrysler plant in Twinsburg, Ohio. A 1994 Caravan made from that first coil, ironically, was located recently about 20 miles from the PRO-TEC plant on a Findlay, Ohio, auto sales lot.

The van was restored to showroom condition by students at Findlay's Millstream Career and Technology Center and will be donated to the Center for future use.

SOURCE: PRO-TEC Coating Company

CONTACT: Local Media: Brad Leone, Hart Associates, +1-419-699-2307; or
John Armstrong, U. S. Steel, +1-412-433-6870; or Japan: Gary Tsuchida, Kobe
Steel, Ltd., 81-3-5739-6010

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