Mark Caskey

Steel Nation expands with new division and line of business
By Paul J. Gough  –  Reporter, Pittsburgh Business Times

Steel Nation, a Cecil Township-based building and engineering company that made its name in the energy industry, is expanding into a whole new line of business.

It just launched Steel Nation Environmental, a division that will focus on construction projects and bidding for local, state and federal governmental contracts. The company promoted one of its project managers to lead operations and recently hired a five-person crew to begin. They’re starting with a stamped concrete project in State College.

Steel Nation, which was founded in 2008 by Mark Caskey, has strengths in pre-engineered metal buildings, other types of buildings for the oil and gas industry, building services, structural and civil engineering, as well as facility services. Steel Nation Environmental adds erosion and sediment control, fencing, retaining walls, excavation and land clearing.

Mark Dooley, EVP and CFO of Steel Nation, said the expansion is a natural step with the company’s capabilities. The new unit director, Joshua Franks, had been a project manager at Steel Nation but has contracting experience that the company felt could be used as a base to start the new unit.

“We thought it was a natural,” Dooley said. “We saw a lot of positives from Josh and his skill set.”

The expansion will also be aided by the growing wave of infrastructure projects that are likely to becoming from government.

“As we continue to grow in our 13th year of business and expand outside our core oil and gas business, it is imperative that we further develop into municipal, state and federal markets that have massive infrastructure improvement plans and funds to complete these important projects,” Caskey said.

Dooley said the oil and gas industry remains core to the 25-employee company, but it was also important to diversify. It also appeals to the management team’s entrepreneurial nature.

Steel Nation has a strong business in the oil and gas industry that reaches beyond the traditional Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio base. But with Steel Nation Environmental the beginnings will be closer to home, Dooley said. It is hiring its own crews — the out-of-region construction work in oil and gas is done by subcontractors — and it will be initially working within western and central Pennsylvania.

The company has its main office in Cecil near Southpointe, a laydown yard in Eighty-Four, and Franks is based in Punxsutawney. It has made investments in trailers and tools, as well as having an existing skid steer. It’ll be renting from the local markets the bigger equipment it might need, depending on the job.

“The folks that we hired are really looking at it as an opportunity to join a company with a good financial position, that’s energized by going out and building a new business,” Dooley said.