In her special presentation “Walking Beam Reheat Furnaces Project at ArcelorMittal Burns Harbor,” delivered to a packed CIVS Theater on Friday, September 14, 2018, PNW Outstanding Alumna and current ArcelorMittal Principal Engineer Kelly Dallas provided multiple perspectives, both figuratively and literally, on the evolution of ArcelorMittal’s installation plans for a pair of 500-ton (U.S. ton) capacity walking beam furnaces at the company’s Burns Harbor facility.
Opening with a synopsized history of the major steel industry players and NWI plant locations (and their topographies) in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Dallas related her initial experiences as an intern at U.S. Steel and subsequently as a new hire in 1999 at Bethlehem Steel, where automation programs were written in FORTRAN (still useful to know, Dallas added). Pusher-type furnaces were also generally resulting in high enough maintenance costs and enough sub-par product that plans were discussed for future upgrades in the form of walking beam furnaces … though industry consolidation and other factors put such plans on hold.
After overviewing the many factors involved simply in bringing the project to budgetary and approval fruition—including feasibility studies and vendor bids—Dallas returned to further topographic photos and bird’s-eye views of the facility, and outlined exactly how ArcelorMittal planned to “shoe-horn” the new furnaces into existing space with minimal interruption/impact to ongoing operations. Numerous civil engineering aspects of the project and its extraordinary foundation preparation (pit access, water mains, gas lines, mud mats) were detailed, as were to-come system parts such as depilers and a slab-tracking system.
As usual, Dallas opened the floor for questions following her presentation, shared her own experiences of entrée to both university and professional growth opportunities, and ended with a few project observations with nearly universal application:
- Being thoroughly versed in a project’s background can be a great benefit in knowing where things came from and why certain decisions were originally made;
- Communication is huge in problem-solving; and
- While being part of an extracurricular organization is good, being active within such clubs is even more important, because interviewers want to know how much initiative potential hires have and what they’ve done within an organization.
Kelly Dallas is a Principal Engineer with the Central Engineering group for ArcelorMittal USA. She began her career in the steel industry in January 1999 with Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Engineering Department, upon completion of an internship with United States Steel. In 2008, she was promoted to Central Engineering for ArcelorMittal USA, managing and supporting projects throughout the U.S. focusing on Hot Rolling and Reheating Furnaces. In 2015, she was promoted to Principal Engineer. Kelly is involved with the Midwest Chapter of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology (AIST), was one of the “Young Engineers” in 2000, received the 2011 Outstanding Service Award for the Midwest Member Chapter, is a Past Chair of the Midwest Chapter and past representative for the Board of Directors for AIST National. Kelly is also the Chair of the AIST University-Industry Relations Roundtable (UIRR) and is a member of the Material Advantage Committee (MAC). In 2014, she received the AIST President’s Citation Award for her work in promoting AIST reaching beyond colleges to high schools. Kelly received her Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University Calumet (2008 Outstanding Alumni in Mechanical Engineering and current Chair of the Purdue Northwest Engineering Advisory Board) and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.