For Immediate Release
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April 16, 2001
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American Steel Industry in Crisis Summit
Visclosky and Kernan to Lead National and Hoosier Panels

Eighteen steel companies have filed for bankruptcy, nine in 19 weeks between November 2000 and March 2001, according to a recent briefing paper by the United Steelworkers of America. They also asserted that by the end of last year, the industry was operating at less than 65% of its capacity, the lowest operating level in more than 14 years. To further the ongoing dialogue on how to tackle the crisis that continues to plague the domestic steel industry, U.S. Congressman Pete Visclosky and the Indiana University Northwest School of Business and Economics have teamed up for an American Steel Industry in Crisis Summit on April 24. 

The Summit will be held in IU Northwest's Savannah Center Auditorium and includes two panels of national and local business and steel industry leaders led by Visclosky and Indiana Lt. Governor Joe Kernan. The first panel, The National Dilemma, will begin at 8:30 a.m. with Congressman Visclosky facilitating. Panel members include George Becker, former president of the United Steelworkers of America; Dr. Gary Lynch, IU Northwest professor of economics; and Andy Sharkey, president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The second panel will address the steel crisis' Threat to Hoosier Communities, with Kernan facilitating. Beginning at 10 a.m., the local panel includes David Bochnowski, president and CEO of Peoples Bank; Dr. Stephen Hewlett, superintendent  of the Duneland School Corporation; Beth Kaminiski, president and CEO of Ancilla Health Systems, Inc.; Jack Parton, director of the USWA District 7; and Joe Turner, president of Primary Energy: A NiSource Subsidiary.

Visclosky is vice-chairman of the Congressional Steel Caucus, and along with Congressman Jack Quinn of New York, introduced the Steel Revitalization Act of 2001 (HR 808). The legislation is designed to prevent the steel industry in the United States from being "crushed between an unprecedented wave of imports and rock bottom steel prices resulting from both the dumping of illegally priced foreign steel and sharply reduced demand in a softening economy."

"Illegally traded steel has created nothing short of an emergency situation for the domestic steel industry and communities that it supports nationwide, including Northwest Indiana. Our distinguished panel of guests will present a well-rounded perspective on the steel crisis, and what it means to families throughout the nation," says Visclosky. 

A graduate of IU Northwest, Visclosky says he is thrilled to partner with the university in hosting the summit. IU Northwest's School of Business and Economics executive dean, Randy Jacobs, agrees that the partnership is an excellent opportunity to provide a forum for the community on a "very critical issue."

"The university and the School of Business are extremely excited to be working with Pete. We feel it very important to work collaboratively with others in the region to help provide information to the community that generates awareness and dialogue influencing our quality of life," says Jacobs. "This is a valuable opportunity for Northwest Indiana leaders and citizens to better understand how the steel crisis is effecting us as a region, and as a nation.

The American Steel Industry in Crisis Summit will begin at 7:45 a.m. with a continental breakfast in the IU Northwest Savannah Center. It is open to the community free of charge, but reservations are necessary by calling 219-980-6633.

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