From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) is an association of North American steel producers. Its predecessor organizations date back to 1855 making it one of the oldest trade associations in the United States. AISI assumed its present form in 1908, with Elbert H. Gary, chairman of the United States Steel Corporation, as its first president.
Its development was in response to the need for a cooperative agency in the iron and steel industry for collecting and disseminating statistics and information, carrying on investigations, providing a forum for the discussion of problems and advancing the interests of the industry.
AISI describes its aims as follows: To influence public policy, educate and shape public opinion in support of a strong, sustainable U.S. and North American steel industry committed to manufacturing products that meet society's needs.
AISI's predecessor organization, the American Iron Association was established in 1855 by ironmasters, clustered mainly in the Eastern U.S., citing the need for an organization "to take all proper measures for advancing the interests of the trade in all its branches". That year, world pig iron production amounted to 7 million tons.
Early in the 20th century, as the industry grew, its leaders saw the need for an organization to supplement the largely statistical activities carried on by AISA. That led to the founding of the American Iron and Steel Institute in 1908, with Elbert H. Gary as its first chief executive.
From 1908 to 1912, the Institute and the Association functioned side by side. But on January 1, 1913, the Association was merged into the New York-based Institute.
Judge Gary would continue as CEO for 19 years. He was succeeded in 1927 by Charles M. Schwab. During the Roaring '20s, AISI statistics showed that the United States produced 40 percent of the world's supply of iron and steel.
In 1933, at the depths of the Great Depression, United States Congress adopted the National Industrial Recovery Act, and AISI was called upon by the federal government to act for the steel industry in the establishment and administration of a Code of Fair Competition. That responsibility was so vast that almost overnight the Institute's staff had to be expanded from about a dozen people to almost 100. The NRA, however, was declared unconstitutional in May 1935 and replaced in part by the National Labor Relations Act. Subsequently, the AISI staff was reduced to about 30 and the AISI Committee on Industrial Relations was established to address labor issues.
Also in the 1930s, it became apparent that the industry's technical terminology had become chaotic. The institute got to grips with the problem, and out of its efforts came the AISI steel products manuals. They provided makers and users of steel with definitions, descriptions and practices pertaining to the manufacture, chemistry, metallurgy and adaptability of steel products.
During World War II, AISI technical committees helped conceive the national emergency steels that conserved critical alloying elements. In recognition of that contribution to the winning of the war, the institute was presented the Distinguished Service Award of the United States Department of the Army. AISI also created a special committee on industrial health to help place returning injured war veterans in steel jobs.
In response to the growing involvement of the Federal government in the operation of our market economy, AISI opened its first Washington office in 1966. The government relations department was joined in the U.S. capital by several other departments in 1969; and by the end of 1974, the institute had moved all of its operations to Washington, except for regional building codes offices. Shortly before the new office opened, 115 people were employed by the institute.
During the 1970s the combined AISI Committees of Structural Steel Producers and Steel Plate Producers engaged in a series of research and promotional seminars and publication programs that focused, for example, on the use of steel storage tanks and transmission pipage in the water utility business, innovations in computer-aided design for structural steel frames for high-rise and arena buildings, applications for structural and steel plate in new mass transit system designs, and in utility poles for high voltage electrical transmission systems. These committee activities were frequently co-sponsored with the cooperation of the American Institute of Steel Construction and the Steel Plate Fabricators Association.
In the 1970s changes were made in the institute's structure to address public policy issues such as the environment and energy, as well as to become more active on behalf of the industry in debates over tax policies and policies concerned with international trade.
In the opening years of the 21st century, restructuring of the steel industry resulted in far-reaching changes in AISI. Like its member companies, AISI downsized its staff. As its member companies became more customer-driven, AISI has also increased its market development activity. Public policy activity has grown in importance, as has collaborative research and the role of associate members, almost all of whom are suppliers of the steel industry.
The Council of Electric Furnace Producers and the North American Steel Council were established as integral parts of AISI, and the Steel Can Recycling Institute (SCRI) as a satellite. SCRI recently became SRI, as it dropped "Can" from its name and expanded its interests to other end products made of steel.
The original association's By-laws provided for committees: one on statistics and another on finance. The institute's By-laws at the time of its incorporation provided for four standing committees: Foreign Relations, Statistics, Improvement in Methods, and Membership. Today there are more than 40 specialist committees.
AISI members make over 80% of the steel produced in North America. The institute speaks on behalf of the industry on a wide array of issues. AISI member companies are located in Canada, Mexico and the United States. The institute seeks to develop unified positions on issues of mutual concern to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) region. Through AISI, the industry is able to work through collaborative partnerships and pursue market development programs aimed at expanding markets for steel, research and development (R&D) projects aimed at best practices in steelmaking and initiatives designed to achieve new milestones in energy efficiency and sustainability.
Since 1927, the AISI has awarded an annual medal, named for its first president, to an outstanding leader within the North American steel industry. Recipients of the Elbert H. Gary Medal include:
The Auto/Steel Partnership (A/SP) is a consortium of the AISI Automotive Applications Committee, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. It is dedicated to ensuring that steel is the material of choice in the automotive market.
The Canned Food Alliance (CFA) is a consortium of steelmakers, can makers, food processors and canned food brands that have joined together to promote the nutritional and convenience benefits of canned food. The consortium was formed by AISI. The Consumer Awareness Program for Canned Food began as a five-year effort by the steel industry and has been supported by the CFA since 1998.
The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) is a coalition comprising AISI, metal roofing manufacturers, paint suppliers and coaters, dealers, metal industry associations, and roofing contractors. Its mission is to educate consumers and contractors about the value and longevity of metal roofing for housing applications. The MRA also provides homeowners with information, resources, and contacts to make the most educated decision when re-roofing their homes.
The National Steel Bridge Alliance is a unified industry organization of businesses and agencies committed to the development, promotion and construction of steel bridges. It was formed jointly by AISI and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC). Its goal is to make steel the material of choice for bridge construction.
The Steel Framing Alliance (SFA) was established by AISI in 1998 to accelerate the use of light-gauge steel framing in construction. The Steel Framing Alliance delivers steel framing solutions to the residential and light commercial construction industries.
The Steel Recycling Institute (SRI), a business unit of the AISI, promotes and sustains post-consumer recycling of all steel products. SRI educates the solid waste industry, government, business, the environmental community and consumers about the benefits of steel's infinite recycling cycle.
The Metal Initiative (TMI) is an industry-wide program designed to educate building owners, architects, and contractors about the use and selection of metal roofs and walls in commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings.