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ArcelorMittal machine shop will celebrate its 58th anniversary

A machinist works on a welding fixture for a hand truck at Tri-State Industries in Hammond in 2013. Retired machinists at ArcelorMittal will meet Oct. 29 in Schererville to swap stories.

In a longrunning Region tradition, machinists in the steel industry will gather at the end of this month.

The ArcelorMittal machine shop retirees will gather to swap shop stories and for dinner at 7 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Halls of St. George, 905 E. Joliet Street in Schererville. Gary S. Wilks and Stephen McShane, the authors of the “Steel Giants,” will give a Powerpoint presentation.

“Steel Giants” is a pictorial history of Inland Steel in East Chicago and U.S. Steel in Gary.

The annual event typically draws about 70 retired and 20 active steelworkers, who hope to maintain a tradition that’s been going on since 1958. They reminisce, look at memorabilia, and talk about how the steel industry has evolved over the years.

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“There are many jobs that keep the steel business viable, but none more satisfying than completing a project that takes a wide variety of talents and expertise to complete,” Organizer Milan Momcilovich wrote in an email. “There is no piece of machinery in the mill that these men have not repaired or improved on over the span of their careers thus providing the satisfaction that comes with their job.”

Supervisors Warren Kuehl, Bill Miston and Matt Starsovich started the party, which is one of the longest-running in the industry, at the Cesar Batiste Hall in East Chicago in 1958.

“The 200-man shop was a tight-knit group that worked around the clock making parts to keep the mills running,” Momcilovich wrote. “Many of the machinists came from Europe, after the war, and were very skilled craftsmen. The men shared their many talents and taught each other the tricks of the trade.”

Anyone who’s interested in attending should contact Momcilovich at 1-219-399-5207 or milan.momcilovich@arcelormittal.com. Cocktails start at 6 p.m.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.