Employee Spotlight: Meet Jason Sawyer, Section Manager

Jason S
If you’ve ever been through the Steel America fabrication shop, chances are you have seen Jason Sawyer managing various trades and instructing them on the particular job at hand. One of the core values at C.S.I. and Steel America is “Family”. We took a few minutes to sit down with Jason to get his insight on Steel America and learn more about him on a personal level.

How long have you been employed with Steel America?
“I started in August of 2012… so that makes 4 years.”

What does a typical work day look like for you?
“Productive busy.”

What do you like most about working here?
“It’s a new style of work than I am used to.”

What do you find most challenging about working at Steel America?
“The changing products and the different jobs. Since we aren’t a factory, sometimes adapting to the new jobs can be tough at times.”

How has Steel America helped you with your career development?
“Working here has forced me to think outside the box. It has also forced me to be open to change.”

What advice would you have for prospective new employees and new hires?
“Definitely be open to change. The facility is growing for the better.”

If you could switch jobs with anyone else within our company, whose job would you want?
“Nobody’s. I love my job and I thoroughly enjoy what I do.”

What has been your favorite job since being here, and why?
“I would say Caisson 3 has been my favorite job so far. It was the first project I experienced that had so much piping, valves and actuators.”

One of our core company values is “Pride”. What is your proudest moment at Steel America?
“I would say having interns and management trainees compliment me on my authority and how I get a job accomplished.”

What are three words you would use to describe Steel America?
“Forward-thinking, productive, and a good opportunity.”

If you aren’t at work, what is your favorite thing to do to decompress and have fun?
“Bass fishing. I am actually in a bass fishing competition this weekend.”

If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
“Oh that’s a hard one… probably I Don’t Want To Retire.”

Do you have a personal motto or quote to live by?
“Always do the right thing when no one is looking. That’s an easy one.”

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and become a musician. I was born in Nashville/Davidson County.”

People would be surprised if they knew…
“I love to cook. And I’m dang good at it.”

Jason is a vital asset to the Steel America team. His dedicated work ethic and his trustworthiness make him a great leader and role model for upcoming tradesmen.

Power-Gen 2015 – On The Road: Vegas!

The Steel America Business Development Team is headed to sunny Las Vegas in early December for the Power-Gen 2015 Tradeshow. The event is being hosted at the Las Vegas Convention Center on December 8-10th. Steel America will be set up at booth #2321.

Questions about heavy machining and fabrication of carbon steel, stainless steel and/or aluminum? Repairs and overhauls of heavy machinery, equipment, structures and components for industrial plants?  Stop by our booth and chat with a member of our team; we’ll be glad to answer your questions and provide the information you need.

Power-Gen 2015

Stay tuned for updates during the show and a post-show wrap up.

About Power-Gen 2015

As the World’s Largest Power Generation Event, POWER-GEN International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of the trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector. More than 1,400 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year to benefit from the exposure to more than 20,000 attendees. Displaying a wide variety of products and services, POWER-GEN International represents a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future.

Additional information concerning PennWell’s Power-Gen International Tradeshow can be found here.

Safety and Effective Communication Matters

The company’s safety policy states,

“Colonna’s Shipyard and Steel America strive to maintain a safe and healthful working environment. The prevention of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for all employees, customers, subcontractors, and visitors is of the utmost importance. Management is fully committed to support all safety efforts in support of this mission. Every individual is a part of the Safety Team. The management team believes safety and continuous improvement is as important as production and that a safe working environment ultimately enhances production efforts.”

Chris Hartwig, Fabrication Shop Program Manager, says,

“Steel America embraces the principle that Safety and Effective Communication is a part of every work day.  Over the past several years we have embraced these values much more as we realize how critical they are to the success of our industries and customers.  We are currently on track to reduce our safety ratings by approximately fifty percent!  The Management Team and Shop Leadership have developed several programs that we believe are the largest contributors to the success of this reduction. The biggest help is that everyone has embraces the face that we need to change our safety culture. The team lives by the phrase, ‘Nothing we do is so important that it cannot be done safely.’ We have figured out that in order to be more productive, ensure quality goals are achieved, and to have continued success supporting our markets, safety and communication are extremely important.”

Three of the major safety programs at Steel America are daily JSA (Job Safety Analysis) meetings, our Safety OFI (Opportunity For Improvement) program, and our Safety Reward program. The daily JSA meetings are open to all employees for their honest input and to review the tasks at hand, preventive action to take against weather conditions and/or machine/tool hazards, and corrective action before job assignments before each shift. The OFI program allows shop employees to provide ideas for Safety improvement to top level management for their review and action. The reward programs range from individual employee recognition (either tangible prizes (hats, shirts, etc.) or additional paid time off hours) to full shop luncheons provided by the management team.

With the summer heat rolling in, another big push in the shop is the importance of recognizing signs of heat stroke/heat exhaustion and ways to prevent such illnesses from occurring. 

Some symptoms of heat stroke/heat exhaustion include:

  • Headache, dizziness, fainting
  • Weakness and wet skin
  • Rapid, strong pulse
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Irritability and/or confusion
  • Red, dry skin with no visible sweat (primarily heat exhaustion)

Ways to lessen your risk of heat stroke/heat exhaustion

  • Drink small amounts of cool water frequently
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine and lots of sugar (sports drinks)
  • Wear light-colored, looser fitting (without compromising work safety) cotton clothing

It is also important to watch out for your co-workers. If you see a co-worker exhibiting signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion, report it immediately to a supervisor! Heat stroke/heat exhaustion has the potential to be deadly; acting fast can save lives!


Machine Shop Production Manager, Chris Chapman, congratulates the machine shop employees on being 100+ accident free!

Caisson Boston Delivery

The Steel America team launched the new Charlestown Naval Shipyard Drydock #1 Caisson  (“Caisson Boston”) on December 29, 2014. The shops had a big end of the year push to finish her ahead of schedule. Due to unforeseen weather conditions, she took a few extra days to get to the Boston Harbor. However, ultimately she arrived safely at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, MA thanks to the dedicated work by Intracoastal Marine, Inc. She will be used to hold back the Boston Harbor while specialized maintenance teams overhaul the USS Constitution.

Project Manager, Rick Hudgins said,

“The project management office would like to thank all of the Steel America team and the subcontractors involved for their diligent effort on the construction of Caisson Boston. Due to everyone’s commitment to this project, we delivered the Caisson to the Charlestown Navy Yard in time to support the scheduled dry-docking of the USS Constitution. Hats off to all involved.”

The Steel America team is grateful to be given the opportunity to build this historic landmark.

The Steel America team has now also delivered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard Drydock #1 Caisson (“Caisson Norfolk”). She was christened and set in the water on January 22nd, 2015.

Caisson Boston delivery - Steel America

See the video below from the Official USS Constitution Museum vimeo account of the installation/floating of the new Charlestown Naval Shipyard Drydock #1 Caisson  (“Caisson Boston”) :


Additional Resources


Steel America is a custom steel fabrication shop and large scale machining service provider with complex mechanical and electrical capabilities. It has a unique ability to fabrication heavy, high-cube structures, up to 1,000 metric tons in modular form, for delivery by barge directly from the shop to waterborne project locations. (Read more)

Thank you from Power-Gen 2014!

Power-Gen 2014 - Steel America, Norfolk, VAThe Steel America business development team would like to thank everyone who came and visited our booth at Power-Gen International in Orlando, FL last week. We had a great time meeting with all our fellow colleagues in the Power Generation industry.

We firmly believe that our project management team, wealth of skilled labor, and convenient location make us a good fit for your next steel plate fabrication project.

If you are in the Norfolk, VA area, we invite you to stop by our facility for a tour! For those interested in a tour of our facility, please contact Stephanie (757-545-5311 x247) to schedule a visit.

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing everyone in Vegas next year for Power-Gen International!

About the Event

As the World’s Largest Power Generation Event, POWER-GEN International is the industry leader in providing comprehensive coverage of the trends, technologies and issues facing the generation sector. More than 1,400 companies from all sectors of the industry exhibit each year to benefit from the exposure to more than 20,000 attendees. Displaying a wide variety of products and services, POWER-GEN International represents a horizontal look at the industry with key emphasis on new solutions and innovations for the future.

Additional information concerning PennWell’s Power-Gen International Tradeshow can be found here.

Best Regards,
Ken, Rick, Stephanie and Vance

New Customer – Alstom

 Steel America – Alstom Prime Contractor Status

Steel America has been completing intricate welding and heavy machining since the early 2000’s. Recently in an effort to continually expand and grow our capabilities, Steel America has tapped deeper into the power generation market and has become a qualified vendor with Alstom.

Steel America has been a subcontractor of the company in the past (Astoria I Air Cooled Condensers and Chesterfield Ductwork) but is now a prime contractor for a T&M job with incredible growth potential.Alstom - Steel America

Alstom develops, constructs, markets and provides systems, components and customer support to the world’s infrastructure markets in the fields of power generation.

UPDATE 2016: Alstom has sold its energy businesses to GE and is now a global player fully focused on transport. The company closed the sale of its Energy activities (Power generation and Grid) to General Electric on November 2, 2015.

For more information concerning the transaction, visit the transaction details page here.

Learn more about Steel America’s capabilities here. Please contact us at your convenience if you have any questions or if you would like more information.


“…Steel America’s timely response and willingness to support this very dynamic work scope was critical to our success in fulfilling our obligation. Your team led by Bruce Henard was able to return our main structural steel to the original tight tolerances allowing for a smooth erection sequence. Perhaps one of the most memorable qualities of your team was their willingness to confidently and calmly understand the scope and execute such with minimal oversight.” -Stephen Mitchell, Project Director, Alstom Power, Inc.


Caisson Boston

The Steel America fabrication shop is making huge milestones this quarter; one being the laying of the keel plate for Caisson #1 for the Charlestown Navy Yard. While all projects are special to Steel America, Caisson Boston is an especially exciting contract for the Steel America team. Not only is Steel America the prime contractor for the project, but this project is for Dry Dock One (DD1) at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts- the home of the USS Constitution.

Dry Dock One is one of the first two dry docks in the United States and is a historical landmark at one end of the Boston Freedom Trail. DD1 has an overall dimension of 341ft x 100ft and serves as a safe haven for the USS Constitution which has been identified as a potential terrorist target and is especially vulnerable to water-borne attacks.

USS Constitution Museum:

The caisson, a large floating gate, seals Dry Dock 1 from Boston Harbor. The original built in 1833 was made of wood. In 1902, it was replaced with a steel caisson, which was the first steel hull constructed in the Charlestown Navy Yard. The second caisson remained in use until 2015, when a new one manufactured in Norfolk, VA by Steel America was installed in preparation for USS Constitution‘s current restoration.

Dry Dock 1 in the Charlestown Navy Yard and its companion dock in Gosport, VA were the first two public dry docks built in the United States. Both docks were built between 1827 and 1833 and were considered engineering marvels at the time.

Additional Resources


On-Site Fabrication Team

While the Steel America shop is busy with work in Norfolk, our on-site fabrication team is providing excellent on-site fabrication assistance at a local jobsite. It is a difficult and intricate welding project that requires an on-site fabrication team. Almost a year ago, the initial purchase order called for one supervisor and five welders. The fabrication project has since grown to one superintendent, four supervisors, forty-eight welders, and four Quality Control employees.

Superintendent Brian Treat says,

“Everyone from the Steel America team has put in superior quality and effort to make this project successful. I knew taking on this project would be difficult, but the exceptional team of supervisors and welders brought onto tackle this project has made it worthwhile. The project would be nonexistent without the dedication and drive of everyone that has been a part of it.”

The Steel America management team and production team is extremely proud of the progress the team is making. We are excited to see this on-site fabrication project expand and grow over the upcoming months/years.

Steel America’s on-site machining services provide the benefits of a fully equipped machine shop on the customer’s site. Please contact us if you would like more information concerning deployment of our on-site fabrication team and fabrication capabilities.