O'Neal Industries, commonly known by the name of its O'Neal Steel division, is an industrial and high-performance metals distributor, fabricator and service center headquartered at 744 41st Street North in North Avondale.
The company was founded in 1921 when Kirkman O'Neal left Ingalls Iron Works and borrowed $2,000 from the American Trust & Savings Bank to open Southern Steel Works, a small steel fabricator in West End. The first service-center was established in 1935 supplying consumers for smaller steel orders than could be taken directly by producers. The company moved from West End to its present site in Avondale in 1942. During World War II O'Neal produced general purpose bombs, gun platforms and deck houses for the military. After the war, the plant resumed commercial warehousing and fabrication. Its name was changed to O'Neal Steel, Inc. in 1949.
Kirkman's son, Emmet O'Neal II joined the firm in 1946, and helped plan and implement expansions into the Jackson, Mississippi; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Atlanta, Georgia markets. He also guided the firm's purchase of Monroe Steel & Pipe in Louisiana, Shelby Steel in Indiana, WabashLagrange in Ohio, and Liberty Steel in Texas.
Later, as president and chairman, he spent most of the 1990s and early 2000s diversifying the company's product and customer bases by acquiring service centers around the country. In 1997 O'Neal diversified into sheet metal by acquiring Denver, Colorado's Metalwest. In 2004 the company purchased Aerodyne Ulbrich Alloys of South Windsor, Connecticut to branch into high-performance metals. They followed that by acquiring the larger TW Metals of Exton, Pennsylvania. In the next few years it bought Ferguson Metals of Hamilton, Ohio; AIM International of Cincinnati, Ohio; the stainless and aluminum divisions of TAD Metals; Southern Nickel & Titanium of Houston, Texas; Stainless Tubular Products of Fairfield, New Jersey and Leeco Steel of Darien, Illinois.
Craft O'Neal, Emmet's son, joined the firm in 1984 and later took over as chairman. Holman Head is president. The current organization, with O'Neal Steel acting as a division of O'Neal Industries, was completed in 2009. The company employs around 3,000 workers at 90 facilities in the United States, South America, Europe and Asia.
In 2018, the company gave a $30 million donation to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. In appreciation and recognition of the gift, UAB will name the cancer center the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The gift and naming will be formally considered for acceptance by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees at its February 2019 meeting.
- O'Neal Steel
- O'Neal Manufacturing Services (OMS)
- O'Neal Flat Rolled Metals
- Aerodyne Alloys
- Leeco Steel
- Supply Dynamics
- TW Metals
- United Performance Metals
- Iowa Laser
- Philip Cornes,
- Plus Ten Stainless
- Stainless Tubular Products
- O'Neal, Kirkman (1974) O'Neal Steel: Memoirs of Kirkman O'Neal. Birmingham: private printing
- Nicholson, Gilbert (October 3, 2004) "O'Neal Steel rides out the industry roller coaster." Birmingham Business Journal
- Weiner, Steven B. (March 2009) "Well Below the Radar" Forward
- Williams, Roy L. (October 4, 2009) "On the Record-Craft O'Neal, chairman and CEO of O'Neal Industries." The Birmingham News
- Azok, Dawn Kent (March 5, 2014) "O'Neal Industries' Jones to retire; Birmingham-based metals company announces other executive changes." The Birmingham News
- "Pride in Our Legacy" (Spring 2014) O'Neal News, pp. 4-7
- Shepard, Bob (December 4, 2018) "Gift from O’Neal Industries will transform the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center." UAB News
- Hansen, Jeff (December 4, 2018) "O’Neal Industries gift will leverage advances in cancer research, patient care and biotechnology growth." UAB News
- O'Neal Steel website