Trained to Lead by Example

U.S. Military Veterans at SIFCO

SIFCO has produced a wide variety of forgings for trucks, guns and other ordinance for the United States military since World War I. In doing so, it has helped the U.S military save lives and execute critical missions by providing reliable, innovative and timely forged parts. The military has, in turn, been a steady customer of SIFCO in war and in peacetime.

The military and SIFCO have helped each other out another way during the past century: SIFCO has also supplied jobs for military veterans, who have given tremendous service to SIFCO.

Steve Dearth

SIFCO employee Steve Dearth

In the words of Steve Dearth, a lead man furnace operator at SIFCO and a United States Army veteran, “When a company like SIFCO hires a veteran, that company gets leadership from the kind of people who have been trained to lead by example.”

Dearth continued, “Dedication and commitment are what the Army and SIFCO have in common. The military instills traits into its people, from the lowest private to the highest general. Veterans tend to have a can-do attitude.”

A 1979 graduate of St. Joseph High School, Steve Dearth grew up on E. 74th and St. Clair Ave., near SIFCO Forge Group. He joined the Army in 1980, went through boot camp at Fort Knox, Ky., and then became part of the Army’s 3rd Battalion. His duties took him from treacherous borders in Eastern Europe to the sands of Kuwait and Egypt.

In 1998, Sgt. 1st Class Dearth became part of the Army Reserves and went to work at SIFCO. When terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, Dearth got his TDY (Temporary Duty Orders) and was called back into service.

SIFCO was there for the Army veteran again, but in another way.

“SIFCO never had an issue with me leaving to serve my country. There was a specific job the Army needed me for, so I needed to go,” he recalls. “SIFCO always had my back. Hud [SIFCO director Hudson Smith] and Jeff [SIFCO chairman Jeffrey Gotschall] were very supportive. In return, I’ve been committed to people who have always been committed to me,” Dearth said of his fellow SIFCO employees.

Married with two children, Dearth says that his training—for the Army, for SIFCO, and for life—“all started with my father and mother and the upbringing they gave me.”

Steve Dearth left the Army for good in 2004 but still stays close to other soldiers. “I do miss it,” he said.

To the benefit of SIFCO, Dearth still uses many of the lessons he learned during his military service. “You have to keep people highly motivated. Don’t micromanage and a lot can be accomplished. If there’s an issue, you talk about it.”

Describing his work at SIFCO, Steve Dearth said that he adds properties and values to different parts, including those made of titanium, such as the 6AI-4V Titanium Aircraft.

That’s not so surprising, because Steve Dearth has added value to both his company and his country—just as SIFCO’s military veterans have done for the past 100 years.