In November 2013, Columbus Castings, Columbus, Ohio, reached a major business agreement with Nippon Sharyo USA Inc., Arlington Heights, Ill., for steel Amtrak railcar undercarriages. For Columbus CEO and President Rick Ruebusch, it was an unquestionable highlight of his two years at the helm of the steel casting facility.
As reported by Columbus Business First, the contract could be worth as much as $70 million. If Nippon Sharyo exercises all options in the contract, the green sand facility is scheduled to be at full capacity through 2021. With that kind of success, Ruebusch has good reason to be optimistic, about both his business and the American metalcasting industry in general.
“The renaissance of manufacturing in the U.S. is underway,” Ruebusch said. “We [at Columbus Castings] are well positioned to once again be the point of the spear for this and look forward to the rapid recovery of the nation’s manufacturing base.”
According to industry statistics, approximately 100,000 manufacturing jobs have been reshored by about 500 OEMs and thousands of their suppliers since the manufacturing employment low of January 2010. Owned by Protostar Partners LLC, New York, and formerly known as Buckeye Steel Castings Co., Columbus Castings will add approximately 50 full-time metalcasting jobs to its current 650-employee workforce as a result of the recent Nippon Sharyo deal.
Earning an engineering degree from The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, Ohio, Ruebusch worked as an engineer at GE Aviation, Cincinnati, and gained positions of increasing responsibility at Precision Castparts Corp., Portland, Ore., and SPX Corp., Charlotte, N.C. With his career spanning more than a decade in metalcasting, he is plenty familiar with the industry and what advantages American firms can offer.
“We are closer to customers, which lessens transportation costs, and allows for more visibility and stronger relationships,” Ruebusch said. “The skilled labor is here, and the workforce is hungry for it.”
Considering a number of worldwide economic factors, including steadily increasing labor costs in developing economies, U.S.-based metalcasters can provide benefits not available to overseas suppliers. Ruebusch, after signing the biggest contract in his company’s 110-year history, expects the future to be bright.
“This award is the single-largest order to date in the long history of Buckeye/Columbus Castings, continuing the forward momentum of our organization,” he said.