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From Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Steel’s workplace proves its mettle

Jamal Thalji, Times Staff Writer

For 24 hours a day, five days a week, Tampa Bay Steel Corp. cuts and reshapes steel to the exact specifications of its customers in construction, manufacturing and shipbuilding. As if they don’t spend enough time together already, Tampa Bay Steel’s employees also get together after work — and everyone’s family is invited.  “Everything we do,” said owner, founder and CEO Buck McInnis, “we do together.” That philosophy helped make Tampa Bay Steel one of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces. It was ranked 37th on the list of small companies.

That philosophy has guided Tampa Bay Steel since Buck McInnis and his wife, Eleanor, started the company with just two workers in 1980. Now their company is a leading metals processor and distributor located at 6901 E Sixth Ave., in the industrial belt east of Tampa.

“The way I look at it, I don’t care if you’re sweeping the shop floor,” said Buck McInnis, 73. “You’re adding to the success of the company.

“I don’t feel any different than anyone else here. I’ll do whatever it takes for the company to be successful.”

But the company they founded is different in one way: Tampa Bay Steel is one of only two manufacturing companies to make the list of the bay area’s best workplaces.

So what makes the firm a blue-collar (but high-tech) outlier in a sea of corporate offices and collared shirts?

“It’s the culture, it’s the core values of the company, it’s the mission statement,” said Tampa Bay Steel President Mark Stewart, 55. He became president in 2013 and has spent 26 years with the company.

“We have jobs to do and there are expectations and we have to perform at a high level,” Stewart said. “But at the same time this is an extended family. We spend a lot of time together.

“We talk about it all the time. This is an extension of our family. This is our work family.”

It’s also an extension of the faith of the company’s founders. The company’s mission statement leads with “The Golden Rule” from Matthew 7:12.

In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.

The company’s vision statement talks about pursuing business goals while also “impacting people’s lives now and for eternity.”

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