Schenectady Steel, founded in 1924 by Leon Phelps, started as a four man workshop in Rotterdam, NY, a suburb of Schenectady. Leon, a civil engineering graduate of the University of Michigan, gained extensive knowledge of the steel industry in the drafting room of American Bridge.
Schenectady Steel grew as a company until the Great Depression. Reflecting on that time period, it is thought that a single project, the new Mont Pleasant High School, sustained the company through the worst of the economic downturn. Without that key project, it is unlikely that the company would have survived.
In the years that followed the depression, the company reestablished its pattern of growth for over a decade until the Unites States joined World War II. Business ground to a halt during this time period as the United States military effort required all available steel in the country. Schenectady Steel was forced to suspended operations for three years. Fortunately, soon after the war ended, business returned to normal.
By late 1948, Leon’s sons, John and Glenn bought into Schenectady Steel. Taking after their father, both sons had graduated from the University of Michigan as well. At this juncture, Schenectady Steel became a corporation, doing business as Schenectady Steel Company, Inc. from this point forward. In 1955, the sons bought the remainder of the corporation from Leon, allowing him to retire. From here, the brothers ensured that
Schenectady Steel Co., Inc. continued building strong relationships with contractors across the northeast, completing a myriad of projects, many with very aggressive schedules. However, John and Glenn did not share the same vision for the future of the company.
In 1970, John and Glenn Phelps agreed to disagree. An agreement was made such that John would continue to own and operate Schenectady Steel Co., Inc. while Glenn would open a competing fabrication shop on an adjacent four-acre lot, called Phelps Steel. For over a decade, these shops existed side by side competing for work in the northeast.
John Phelps made the decision to sell more than half of his stock in the company to his employees in 1975, through a distributed employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Over the course of the next few years, John stepped away from the day to day operations of the company while the ESOP purchased his remaining shares. In 1986, Schenectady Steel Co., Inc. became a 100% employee owned company.
In the years since becoming fully employee owned, Schenectady Steel Co., Inc. has completed numerous expansions and modernizations, including the purchase of Phelps Steel, effectively doubling the shop floor space. The company, with its dedicated and hard-working group of employee owners, continues to produce quality products, on schedule, for today’s construction industry.
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Schenectady Steel Company, Inc.
18 Mariaville Rd.
Schenectady, NY 12306