barry schnider
Photo courtesy of Unity Aluminum

Unity Aluminum adds SDI executive to board of directors

Barry Schneider has been with Steel Dynamics Inc. since 1995.

January 12, 2021

Unity Aluminum, Ashland, Kentucky, has appointed Barry Schneider to its board of directors. Schneider has decades of experience in the metals industry, including mill startups, and currently serves as senior vice president of the Flat Roll Group at electric arc furnace steelmaker Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI), Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Schneider joined SDI in 1995 and is described by Unity as a key member of the company’s startup operations that resulted in the construction of its first steel mill. Since then, he has helped manage the startup of seven additional facilities, according to a news release from Unity Aluminum. In his current role at SDI, Schneider is responsible for the steelmaker’s largest business unit that oversees five facilities. He also serves on the boards of the Association of Iron & Steel Technology and United Steel Supply.

“Unity Aluminum is excited to welcome Barry Schneider to the team,” says Charles Price, chairman of the Unity Aluminum board of directors. “His hands-on experience in mill startups and management will translate into valuable governance and oversight for our shareholders.”

Schneider joins the five other directors who oversee Unity Aluminum. His appointment began Jan. 1.

“Like others in the industry, I have been watching the Unity Aluminum project closely and am impressed by its strong projected financial returns as well as its environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects,” Schneider says. “The senior leadership team has worked tirelessly to put this company on the path to success and establish a results-oriented team culture. I’m eager to contribute to this on-shoring comeback that is vital to the global aluminum industry and our national interests.”

Unity Aluminum says its first project, an aluminum rolling mill in eastern Kentucky, is projected to generate more than 1,000 construction jobs, 550 full-time mill jobs and thousands of indirect jobs and additional investments in the region. The company, formerly known as Braidy Industries, adopted the Unity Aluminum name in October of last year to signify “the company’s steadfast commitment to its customers, innovative technologies and local community in Ashland."

As Braidy Industries, the company experienced conflict between board members and now-departed executives, in part for announced investments that never were finalized. The firm also has been scrutinized for its acceptance of $15 million directly from the commonwealth of Kentucky as an investor, followed by taking on Rusal as another investor. That Russia-based firm has spent time on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list because of its former ties to Oleg Deripaska, who the department has accused of money laundering.

"Over the past year, the Unity team has been hard at work ensuring that this facility—a vital part of the global aluminum supply chain—will move forward in Ashland, Kentucky,” says Don Foster, president and chief executive office of Unity Aluminum. “Barry’s extensive experience in successful manufacturing startups and facility expansions will be extremely beneficial to our efforts.”