Robert Simon came to America from Venezuela as a 13 year old.  He knew no English.  His father was an employee of Shell Oil who started his career with Shell measuring the oil in tanks.  When Rob’s father retired, he was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  Rob’s father inspired him to pursue a degree in management.  Rob decided to study engineering in college because he realized he needed the disciplined analytical skills required of engineers if he was to get to the highest levels of management.

Rob started his college career at Geneva College but transferred to WVU after three semesters.  “I came to WVU for a student conference and decided this was where I wanted to be,” Rob says.

Perhaps one of the most critical moments in Rob’s career was his senior internship at Sheidow Bronze in Kingwood, WV.  Rob’s experience at Sheidow Bronze led to a career in the metals industry.

Rob began his career in the Non-Ferrous Metals industry with Oregon Brass Works. He quickly raised up through the ranks to a General Manager position. Rob within a few years transitioned into the Ferrous Metals industry taking on a position with Oregon Steel Mills. Oregon Steel in 1993 acquired CFNI Steel doubling the companies size, within a few years Rob become the VP and General Manager of that facility and was asked to turnaround a troubled operation in Pueblo, Colorado.  The plant had been losing money for six years.  Rob succeeded and the plant became the largest cash contributor to what was now Evraz’s operations, after the acquisition of Oregon Steel Mills by Evraz in North America. In 2010, Rob took on the role of Executive VP of Tubular Products for North America, overseeing multiple operations in Canada and the United States.

Rob eventually joined Steel Dynamics.  He was the first Vice President they had ever hired from outside the organization.  After three years with Steel Dynamics, Rob was recruited to be the Chief Executive Officer at Bayou Steel Group.

As Rob reflects on his career, he has a number of suggestions for students:

  • Be willing to make sacrifices. It’s hard to reach the top levels of today’s organizations without personal and professional sacrifice.
  • Get rid of the entitlement mentality. No one owes you anything.  You have to earn it.
  • You have to put in the time. Work ethic matters.
  • Learn how to deal with different people.
  • Whatever you do, do it for professional pride, not for personal credit.


Robert A. Simon, moved to the United States from Venezuela when he was 13 years old.  He studied Industrial Engineering at West Virginia University which fast tracked his career into senior management roles within a couple of years after his graduation.

While starting his career in the Non-Ferrous Metals Industry as Production Manager and eventually General Manager of Oregon Brass Works, within a few years he expanded his career into the Ferrous Metals Industry eventually becoming the Vice-President & General Manager for CF&I Steel which at the time was a newly acquired division of Oregon Steel Mills.  After Oregon Steel’s acquisition by EVRAZ North America, Rob took on the role of Executive Vice-President for the company’s Tubular Division.

Rob’s career then expanded to Steel Dynamics, the country’s fifth largest steel company where he took on the role of Vice-President Structural Products.  He led the organization through a recovery from the financial crisis that quickly re-established a strong presence in the company’s markets while also developing a significant presence in new markets for the company.  Within a few years, Rob accepted the position of CEO of the newly formed Bayou Steel Group, a steelmaking and finishing operation that produces and sells Merchant Bar and Small Beam products in North America.

Rob is passionate about culture where core values drive his team members to realize their utmost potential by learning to rely on each other, sharpening each other’s skills and driving performance metrics throughout the organization.  Rob has established a remarkable track record of improving and managing businesses throughout the steel industry, he is a seasoned industry leader.

Rob loves spending time with his family, has a dedication to health and fitness and a deep appreciation for music.

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