AISI president, CEO to retire

The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Washington, has announced that Thomas J. Gibson, its president and CEO, plans to retire in the fall. According to a news release from AISI, a search for Gibson’s successor has begun.

Gibson has led AISI since September 2008. Under his leadership, AISI successfully advocated for legislation to strengthen laws against unfair trade practices and to level the playing field for steel manufacturers, for passage of transportation and infrastructure bills to benefit the steel industry and for a balanced approach to energy and environmental regulations that does not diminish manufacturing competitiveness and capitalize on the natural gas renaissance in the U.S., the association says.

“It has been an honor every day to represent the dedicated companies that produce steel in the United States and North America and to serve as an advocate for steel industry concerns in Washington and beyond,” Gibson says.

Prior to joining AISI, he served as senior vice president of advocacy for the Washington-based American Chemistry Council, senior vice president of government affairs for the Portland Cement Association, chief of staff for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and majority deputy staff director to the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Prior to his civilian government service, he worked as an engineer and program manager at Raytheon Co., Waltham, Massachusetts, and served on active duty at sea as a surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy.

“Tom effectively spearheaded AISI’s advocacy efforts on critical policy issues through challenging times, starting with the financial crisis of 2008 and through the era of repeated import surges fueled by the global overcapacity crisis,” says AISI Chairman of the Board Roger Newport, who also serves as CEO of West Chester, Ohio-based AK Steel. “His contributions brought AISI to the forefront of the debate on these issues and solidified the institute’s role as a premier trade association. He will be missed, and we wish him all the best,” Newport adds.

In memoriam: Herman Proler

Herman “Hymie” Proler, a brother to Sam, Izzy and Jackie Proler, died Sunday, March 8, in his hometown of Houston. The Proler brothers invented the automobile shredder and coined the term “Prolerized” for shredded steel.

According to his obituary that was published in the Houston Chronicle, Herman Proler entered the world Dec. 5, 1927, the eighth of nine children born to Ben and Rose Proler, Jewish immigrants from Lithuania.

At a very young age, he began working in the family business, City Junk and Supply, the precursor to Proler Steel Co. and eventually Proler International Corp. He enjoyed assembling and building things, which he channeled into the construction and operation of scrap shredding and processing facilities for Proler Steel and its partners around the country.

In 1985 after his bother Izzy died, Proler became president of Proler International and then later chairman of the board. The company was sold to Schnitzer Steel Industries in 1996.

His contributions to the scrap metal recycling industry were recognized by the Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) with a special award “in appreciation for outstanding achievement and contributions to the recycling industry.”

Proler was deeply committed to Houston’s Jewish community, according to his obituary. For his contributions to the community throughout his life, he received the American Jewish Committee’s Max H. Nathan Human Relations Award.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his eight siblings, Sarah, Sammy, Izzy, Ethyl, Robert, Bill, Ruby and Jackie; his wife, Irma Rose; and former wife, Elaine.

Proler is survived by his son, Lawrence Proler, who is married to Nancy; his daughter, Rose Proler, and her partner, Jack Cohen; his grandchildren, Michelle Almog, Natalie Ledeen and her husband, Daniel, and Lindsay Powers and her husband, John; his great-grandchildren, Elie Ledeen, Marlowe Powers and Henry Powers; his partner, Suzanne Levin, and her children, Judy Levin and Jennifer Levin; his sister-in-law, Freda Proler; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Visitation took place Tuesday, March 10, at Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors in Houston.