Arkansas Business: Investing in Arkansas Steel, with Global Principal Partners' David Stickler
Hybar is building a $700 million mill in Osceola. In 2003, Stickler and his wife, Rebecca Li, formed Global Principal Partners to provide funding and management services to the metals industry. GPP later invested in Big River Steel in Osceola, where Stickler was once CEO.
Stickler received a master’s degree in management from Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s in accounting from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
What will be Hybar’s main products?
Hybar will produce a full range of rebar in sizes #3 to #18. Hybar will be the only rebar producer in the United States and Canada — Hybar’s target markets — capable of producing this full-size range using environmentally sustainable practices.
Who will be Hybar’s main customers?
Hybar has already pre-sold 24% of its rated production each year for the next 10 years. Hybar’s annual rated production is 630,000 tons, representing less than 6% of the projected rebar demand in the United States and Canada.
Is the company engaged in any initiatives to help its workers live in and buy homes in the area in which they work?
Absolutely. Hybar is working closely with Mississippi County and local banks to implement the Work Here, Live Here program, which covers up to $50,000 of the purchase of a newly constructed house in Mississippi County.
Does Hybar think it can find the right kinds of workers?
I have been involved in investing close to $8 billion in startup steel-related ventures in northeast Arkansas over the past eight years, and the availability of a qualified workforce has been one of the key drivers of making such investments. I again plan to work with the local and regional educational institutions to make sure Hybar has direct access to a pipeline of quality workers.
What did you learn from working at Big River Steel? How does that experience compare to Hybar?
My time at Big River Steel built on my previous successes in designing and building greenfield steel mill projects. At Big River Steel, we pushed decision-making down to the mill floor, kept corporate overhead out of the company, and put in place a compensation system that allowed us to have the highest-paid steelworkers in the world once again. The Hybar model will build off my prior experiences, including those at Big River Steel.
Why was Arkansas chosen for the mill?
In looking for the site to build Hybar we evaluated dozens of sites across a seven-state region. Northeast Arkansas was selected for three reasons: extensive transportation alternatives (barge, rail and truck), attractive electrical power rates thanks to Entergy Arkansas, and the “can-do, make-it- happen” attitude of the state, regional and local government organizations and the Arkansas workforce. Arkansas is clearly open for business, especially the steel business.