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Posted by Tasha Weiss on July 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM.
AISC member and certified fabricator Mobil Steel International, Inc.’s senior vice president, Richard Friel, a successful executive in steel production and steel fabrication industries in Illinois and Texas, passed away last Sunday, surrounded by family. Friel, who was 76 years old, had been on medical leave from Mobil Steel for the past several months.
Friel achieved an outstanding track record of facility, project and capital improvement management in the steel industry. He used his steel industry knowledge and contacts to help Mobil Steel build a quality-certified steel fabrication operation with capacity to handle more than 1,000 tons of steel per month at its 80,000 sq.-ft Houston facility. Friel also was noted for team building skills and mentoring of employees in the industry. He had been an active member of AISC and the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
Friel started his management career with Northwestern Steel and Wire Co. at a structural mill in Sterling, Ill., in 1968. During his 26-year stint with Northwestern, he was promoted to various assignments in which he was responsible for all aspects of steel operations and supervised hundreds of employees. He moved to Houston with Northwestern in 1990 as the company liaison to work with an international construction and engineering firm on a $60-million project to refurbish and restart the Armco mill.
Friel took early retirement in 1994 and joined Mobil Steel Corporation in 1995 as plant manager and shipping and logistics manager. Following management changes, he continued with Mobil Steel International as senior vice president.
“Our hearts are very heavy at Mobil Steel today over this loss of a great friend, mentor and senior executive of our company,” said Leonard A. Bedell, president and CEO of Mobil Steel International. “Richard’s amazing knack for our industry, his many contacts and his passion for steel fabrication improved our company. While we will miss Richard – especially the spark in his eyes and his ever-constant smile – we are very thankful for and strengthened by how he mentored our employees and the impressive legacy he leaves at Mobil Steel and in the steel industry.”
Friel is survived by his wife, Dianne Gunderson Friel, two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.