Students at Hope High School, Yerger Middle School and the Hope Academy of Public Service were introduced to a local career opportunity as plant leaders from New Millennium Building Systems gave them a peak inside the operations of part of the second-largest provider of steel joists and metal decking to the U. S. market.
Michael Winarta, general manager, New Millennium Building Systems, Hope, provided an overview to the company during the series of visits by the Hope Public Schools’ Manufacturer of the Month.
Winarta and detailer Joseph Craigen, along with system engineer Raymond Thomason visited all three campuses; while production manager Mark Williams and engineering manager Brady Broom visited HHS with Winarta.
Winarta said the majority of the approximately 270 personnel at the Hope facility on Arkansas Highway 32 are residents of the immediate Hempstead County area.
“We like to make sure that we help the area,” he said. “We are a big donor in the United Way; and, we like to do those kinds of things to help our area.”
New Millennium Building Systems is part of Steel Dynamics, which is the third-largest domestic producer of steel in the United States, Winarta said.
“Steel Dynamics has three distinct divisions in itself,” he said. “The first one is the steel division; where the steel is actually being made into different types of products such as I-beams, flat roll, plate steel, merchant bar.”
Those steel products are then used in various fabrication methods to produce construction and manufacturing components, Winarta said.
“The steel division accounts for about 72 percent of the net income of Steel Dynamics from 2017,” he said.
Metal recycling was the next-largest income center for the parent company in 2017.
“It shows something about the sustainability of our product, where that steel can be recycled and reused,” he said.
New Millennium, the third corporate division, has seven locations the U.S. and Mexico, with about 1,300 employees.
“We basically make two very distinct products; the first one is steel joists, the next is steel decking,” Winarta said.
He explained the purpose of both joist and decking in the context of a complete building project, noting that New Millennium takes a building owner’s concept and envisions how to provide a literal framework to accomplish it from an architectural design.
“Normally, what they are used for is roof designs and floor ways,” Winarta said. “They are structural products designed to carry loads. So, somebody came up with an idea of how to put a building together, how they would like it to look; that is put into a document that comes to us ready to start making things happen. We try to make some of those visions come true.”
Getting from design to fabrication for a particular project requires multiple skills and disciplines, including fabrication, welding, engineering, marketing sales, accounting, and customer services. That diversity creates multiple job opportunities locally for students who have graduated from high school or college, he said.
“Normally, we start out with our sales department, where a contract drawing is bid,” Winarta said. “Then, we estimate the cost of the steel joist and decking for the project. So, when New Millennium becomes the successful bidder, we move into the engineering department to make our own drawings and releasing the orders to the shop so that the shop can build them.”
Production oversees the actual fabrication of the joists and decking according to specifications, he said.
“Once done, then, the customer service department, who has been scheduling the project with our customer, works on shipping it out,” Winarta explained. “Once the job is shipped, we have the accounting department that takes care of the billing.”
New Millennium is incentive-driven in its employee compensation philosophy, he said.
“We have multiple layers of incentives when it comes to somebody’s pay,” Winarta said. “It always starts out with a base pay, and everybody within the company has a base pay. Then, you have incentives that come from team performance.”
For the production employees, Winarta said, that translates to bonus payments that vary based upon the efficiencies within a particular project; which means that every employee in the plant can potentially benefit directly from each project through incentive payments. The office employees have a return on asset incentive based on the financial performance of the entire plant.
“The next level is the consolidated level,” he said. “That is the company as a whole. The company takes eight percent of its pretax income and they put it in a bucket, and the next year, that money is given to all of the employees.”
The profitability of the company as a whole can translate to substantial incentive payments, Winarta said.
“Last year was one of the best we have had, and that comes to about 13 percent of the annual pay that somebody has earned,” he said.
New Millennium also offers a 401k tax-based incentive plan based upon company performance; and, Steel Dynamics offers an employee stock rewards plan.
“Every employee of Steel Dynamics would get shares of Steel Dynamics; we are a NASDAQ listed company, and every employee gets shares every year,” he said.
The company also offers employees an extensive healthcare benefits program, educational assistance program, life and ADD insurance, and paid holidays and vacation.