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Keller tours Jersey Shore Steel

JERSEY SHORE — The production line of Jersey Shore Steel is all about heating raw steel angles and fabricating them into products for market.

U.S. Representative Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, for one, came away impressed by the operation following a recent tour of the Avis plant.

“You are taking a product and repurposing it,” he told company officials.

The plant is an example, he said, of many busy hands working to get the job done.

The spirit of hard work and resoucefulness permeates the entire operation, he noted.

Employing about 200 people, the plant makes use of steel rail to turn out many products for furniture and bed frame industries.

Raw steel becomes not only bed frames, but scaffolding supports, table and desk supports and farm machininery.

Inside the sprawling interior of the plant, workers in hard hats busy themselves with different aspects of the operation which includes cutting, heating and shaping the raw materials into the products.

“We are taking an idea and making things useful to families,” Plant Superintendent Wade Potter said.

Potter noted that the rails are shipped to the plant from around the U.S., all of which are tested and treated for the production process.

From a tower site overlooking the plant’s vast floor-room, the entire production process is monitored.

The state-of-the-art production facility allows for the processing of an unprecedented range of rail sizes.

The computer-controlled rolling process produces higher-quality angle at a faster rate than ever before, according to company officials.

In addition, new plant technology has extended worldwide access to raw material.

Like many companies, Jersey Shore Steel has come up against challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to President and CEO David Schultz, the fourth-generation member of the the family to operate the company.

The rising price of steel is just one issue.

“It’s put tremendous pressure on raw material prices,” he said. “Nobody wants to pay more for raw materials. So it’s difficult.”

The plant is also down about 10 percent of its full complement of workers.

“We are looking for employees,” he said.

Overall, the pandemic has created its share of stress levels and prompted the company to adapt to a changing culture.

Operating for more than 80 years, Jersey Shore Steel has evolved to meet the changing needs of the industry, according to company officials.

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