It is with heartfelt sadness that we share the news of the passing of SMA founder James F. “Jim” Collins. Jim was 90 years old. A native of Massachusetts, Jim grew up in Boston and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. After earning a degree at Brown University, Jim returned to active duty during the Korean War, rising to the rank of Captain. He later served as Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Kennedy administration.
Jim also spent over 30 years as an executive in the North American steel industry. Over those decades, Jim developed strong relationships with industry executives and government officials, both domestically and abroad.
A former executive vice president at the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), Jim left the AISI in 1987 to form the National Steel Producers Association (NSPA). According to Jim, he formed NSPA to represent a “remodeled United States steel industry based on a more competitive approach that encompassed all steel producers.” In 1988, the NSPA became the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA). Jim led the organization’s growth to become the largest steel trade association in North America and the primary trade group for EAF steel producers.
SMA President, Philip K. Bell, stated: “Jim Collins was an innovator and a leader who recognized the need to create a steel trade group that could respond swiftly to the needs of a dynamic industry. Jim created an organization grounded in the principles that make the EAF industry great: competitiveness, entrepreneurial spirit, knowledge sharing, and a lean, no-frills management structure that responds to its members.
“Jim foresaw the growth, innovation and dominance of the EAF industry at a time when there were many doubters. The man was a visionary; he made our industry better and he will be missed.”