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Faces of Manufacturing

Livi Steel welder looks at his work through an artist’s lens

When most people think of welders, the word ‘artist’ isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.

 

But that’s exactly how Stacey Gray describes himself.

 

“I think it’s a form of art,” the Livi Steel Inc. employee said. “When you weld, it’s almost like drawing. It takes a lot of thought.”

Stacey Gray stands in front of steel beams.
Stacey Gray is a welder at Livi Steel in Warren. He encourages people to check out the trade, saying that it’s okay to make mistakes along the way.

Gray got his start in welding when he was working at VXI in downtown Youngstown. He was encouraged to look into Flying HIGH, and enrolled in the school after checking it out.

 

Growing up, Gray didn’t consider manufacturing as a career.

 

“I had no clue. I was lost when I was younger and didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said.

 

As he got older, friends encouraged him to pursue welding.

 

Gray is certified in stick welding, and his favorite type of weld is vertical up with stick.

Stacey Gray welds a beam at Livi Steel in Warren.
Approaching his work as art, Stacey Gray is recognized at Livi Steel as a precise welder with strong work ethic.

“I like the flow” of the process, he said. “After you’re done, the bead is so pretty.”

Recognized for detail

His craft is noticed beyond his work.

 

Donald Livi, president of Livi Steel, praises Gray’s attention and dedication to work.

 

“Stacey’s work ethic can be described as admirable,” Livi said.

 

“His skills allow him to be effective, productive and efficient.”

 

When he’s not welding and earning certifications, Gray produces music and raps.

 

To anyone interested in a career change or looking for a new direction, Gray suggests to consider manufacturing.

 

There’s a consistent form of growing and challenging yourself, he said.

 

“It’s an environment where you’ll always have to be aware,” Gray said.

 

Going into a trade, be prepared to make mistakes. “It’s like with everything – you get better with time,” Gray said.

 

Livi Steel is a member of the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition.

Categories
Faces of Manufacturing

Shop foreman at Livi enjoys close work ties, reliable life provided by manufacturing

Walking into Livi Steel in Warren, there’s a close bond that is obvious as soon as you walk in the office and shop doors.

 

One of the reasons it’s a familiar atmosphere is due to the shop foreman, Michael Simmons.

 

Overseeing day-to-day production of the 16-crew shop, Michael enjoys his work because he likes spending time with his coworkers, but he also enjoys manufacturing.

Michael Simmons verifies markings on a steel beam.
Michael Simmons, shop foreman at Livi Steel, has worked with the company in Warren for about 25 years. His father was also shop foreman.

“My favorite part of my job is loading all the different trucks and helping coworkers solve problems,” he said.

 

Michael keeps track of inventory in the shop, along with what is being shipped and received, and anything involving the trucks delivering and taking steel.

 

He’s been with Livi Steel for about 25 years.

 

Adding to the family atmosphere, Michael’s father, Charlie, was shop foreman for 35 years.

 

“He taught me how to do this job,” Michael said.

 

Also working in the shop is his uncle Dave, a fitter, and previously uncle Bob, also a fitter and first responder.

 

Working his way up the ladder with Livi, Michael encourages anyone searching for a solid career to check out manufacturing.

 

He started as a laborer and after learning every role at Livi, he is now the shop foreman.

 

“Working here means a steady paycheck and good benefits,” he said.

 

In addition to being a leader at Livi Steel, Michael enjoys riding motorcycles and watching sports.

 

He roots for the Cleveland Browns and Ohio State.

 

Most important and the most fun, though, is spending time with family, especially now that he’s a new grandfather.