Ladies and Gentlemen welcome back to another exciting episode of The Leader Show with Lou Carter. Our guest today is David B. Burritt, the CEO of US Steel. This old-school steel company recognizes employee trends that value the environment—and a green economy.
Now, without any further ado, let’s jump straight into the lessons David shares on this podcast about what makes US Steel a Most Loved Workplace®.
Dave praises Lou’s book, “In Great Company” which he is currently reading. He appreciates the book’s alignment with US Steel’s principles around safety, trust, respect, environmental stewardship, excellence, and accountability.
US Steel’s positive future is focused on sustainability, including the creation of a mini-mill that produces 75% less carbon and a partnership with General Motors. That said, Dave acknowledges the ups and downs the company has faced in the recent past and sees 2023 as a year of transition with regard to workflow and business.
Lou loves the way Mr. Burritt assesses the company’s financial performance and points out the importance of working collaboratively with customers.
While discussing collaboration, Dave suggests that it is an integral part of US Steel’s culture, which is focused on excellence and continuous improvement. He mentions that his employees are at the forefront of customer relationships and have more interaction with them than he does, which guides the company’s direction.
He highlights that the engineers at the integrated mills focus on teaching the engineers at the mini-mills how to make high-end advanced high-strength steel, which they may not have been able to do before.
The engineers at his company are truly innovative and are always keen on developing new technologies and processes that can be shared and implemented across both divisions to improve productivity.
Dave also mentions that there are designated individuals who lead the knowledge-sharing efforts and facilitate communication between the workers of integrated and mini-mills. It involves cross-training programs, regular meetings, and information exchange on best practices and technologies. The goal is to leverage each division’s strengths and expertise to create the best of both worlds, leading to the best outcome for everyone involved.
Overall, US Steel’s culture of excellence and continuous improvement is reinforced by a collaborative learning environment where knowledge-sharing is encouraged across divisions. This approach allows the company to stay agile and adapt to changing customer needs and challenges while leveraging its strengths and competitive advantages.
When asked how Dave can manage the cost while innovating with technologies, he admits having to navigate a delicate balance between innovation and cost to stay competitive. He mentions that while they want to differentiate themselves and become the supplier of choice for certain products, they also need to be mindful of cost and pricing for their customers.
Naturally, if they invest too much in R&D and innovation, it could lead to higher costs, which could then affect pricing for their customers. While it’s a fine line to walk, Dave and his team are determined to find ways to be innovative while keeping costs under control.
Moving on, Dave highlights that his team embraces the concept of Amor Fati, or the lover of fate, and is always willing to embrace new challenges as opportunities for growth.
Dave highly encourages his team to collaborate and communicate efficiently. This is exemplified by their work from wherever policy, which has improved productivity and communication while saving time and resources. In fact, according to HR surveys, 99% of employees and managers say that their productivity has improved or is as good as it was before.
Overall, Dave’s approach to ensuring better productivity emphasizes valuing employees and creating an environment that is best for all. This is in contrast to other companies that force their employees to work long hours and ultimately leading to burnout and high turnover rates.
Next, Dave strongly believes that remote work has been a positive experience for the company, with a higher productivity rate and fewer logistical issues such as commuting or weather. The CEO notes that while there are a few benefits to in-person collaboration, for most days, remote work seems more efficient.
On that note, he highlights the use of technology, which according to him has been critical in maintaining productivity, especially during the pandemic, and has allowed for easy communication and collaboration.
He also mentions the company’s values of trust and respect, which are equally important in maintaining a productive remote work environment. Lastly, Dave states that they will continue to utilize a hybrid approach to work, with remote work being a permanent part of the way of their operations.
Dave strongly supports collaboration with the US government to increase domestic production and ensure fair trade. According to him, the government must be able to make basic things in the country to keep people safe and secure, especially during times of crisis.
He also discusses the importance of tax incentives for exporting and the need to create more jobs in the US. Additionally, he mentions various acts, such as the CHIPS Act, the infrastructure bill, and the Inflation Reduction Act, which he believes will help the US become more productive and carbon-neutral.
However, he notes the importance of ensuring the investments are productive and focused on energy efficiency and productivity.
After that, the CEO of US Steel, David Burritt, discusses how common goals are important for solving problems. He strongly believes that the closer his company is to the customers, the better the collaboration.
Citing US Steel’s partnership with GM, Dave believes collaboration leads to differentiation towards the green future, creating an advantage for his company and helping take a major portion of the market share.
Apart from that, he mentions the industry’s challenges, including being forced to bid into being a commodity, but he sees the aspiration towards GHG-neutral steel as a positive step.
Burritt believes that the closer the relationship between the company and its customers, the better the opportunity to come together and achieve common goals. While the company has achieved great success so far, Dave believes that it has a lot more to do in terms of collaboration and is accelerating its efforts.
Finally, Lou and David Burritt discuss various aspects of US Steel’s business. Burritt mentions that the company is investing in new product development and reducing product development time. He also discusses the advantages of leveraging the company’s expertise in advanced high-strength steel for other applications.
In addition, Burritt emphasizes the importance of having the best talent and creating a culture of collaboration and consistent improvement. He also mentions the company’s strong safety culture and how they work on psychological safety, which is imperative to foster productivity and a desire to work harder.
Lastly, Burritt seems bullish on the future of US Steel and believes that the company will be able to attract more people to work for them.
Dave and Lou discuss a lot more on this episode of The Leader Show. Share your thoughts with us at [email protected]
Thank you for listening.
Louis Carter : Hey, it's great to be here today on The Leader Show, talking with Dave Burritt. He's a great guy, great CEO of US Steel, which is a Most Loved Workplace, and it's great to have Dave on with us today. Hi Dave, nice to see you.
Dave Burritt : Hi, Lou. Great to see you again, and it's great to be here.
LC : Well, we'll be talking about a lot of things today, really about how US Steel became a most loved workplace, how they continue to be a most loved workplace, not just about their steel principles, which date back to the 1900s, which is incredible that they've sustained these kinds of principles for so long. But also learn about their, their principles around safety, trusts, respect, excellence, and accountability. A little bit more about verdicts, how they're getting to a carbon neutral stance and a little bit about other types of new products that are coming on today. So this is great to have you here, Dave, and let's dive in. So, tell me what's happening now. You know, today let's sort of, today we've had some new things coming out with GM and new partnerships, new products, and how is that really creating and sustaining these great principles and most love workplace that you've created at US Steel?
DB : We're delighted to be named as a Most Loved Workplace again. It's incredibly gratifying for our employees and for me, and really appreciate the work you do. Lou I'd be remiss if I didn't put a plug in for your book…
LC : [Laughs]
DB : … I'll tell you, I'm on page 140. I do this thing where I read 10 pages every night before I go to bed. I force myself to do it, but actually it's a very good read, and I love your, what you call it, spark your systemic collaboration, your positive future, your alignment with values, your respect, and then of course, killer achievement.
So, I really appreciate this book because it aligns with our steel principles as a company where safety is first, trust and respect, environmental stewardship, excellence and accountability, and then lawful and ethical conduct. And those are the foundations of everything we do. So while I'm reading your book, I'm saying, you know, that's pretty cool. And then on I'll remember the page, page 81, it talks about Big River Steel and creating that positive future, and that's our positive future here, along with the work that we get done at our integrated mills.
Big River Steel is a mini mill making that vertex steel already, which is about 75% less carbon intensive than an integrated mill. And we've already got a great agreement with our OEM's, most notably here with General Motors that was just announced. So we're excited about the future. What I like to say, it's a very green future. You know, there's money in this green when you do it right, when you work collaboratively with your customers, and we're capturing market share, and that's because our employees are really making it happen. So we're very excited about where we are. We know we've had this ups and down type paths, but we're definitely in a very good place. And I would look at 2023 as a year of transition, a year of execution as we navigate what's happening in the geopolitical realm, the, the global economy, and the things that are, are right in front of us.
LC : You couldn’t have said it better, you know, your financial performance has been outstanding. You've been doing great in the market, and I like how you said going green in several ways, right? There's opportunities for growing in the US and the geopolitical environment, and you are growing and you're bringing in even not just your principles, but with your customers. You're doing this with your customers, which makes you even stronger.
I'm so glad you found that page with Big River Steel and the connection with Vertex and the positive vision of the future, which is what you really do great at US Steel and what you've really brought forward under all different geopolitical atmospheres since 2017. No, really. So you've let it since then and seen so many different iterations. So thank you for bringing that up. Tell me more. Let's dive into the, how your particular culture, how US Steel is, I would just say agile, right? With the environment. And because you've run into and become into this new phase of being carbon neutral, how did you shift, move the, this huge ship in that direction with so many people thinking and doing different things? How, what was that shift like for you?
DB : Well, you know, we're always informed where we're headed by our customer. So we try to create that very tight knit relationship with the customer that then informs us of the future. So the more we understand where the customer is headed, the more we understand where the business should take us. And that's where, you know, these steel principles come in because we call it the virtuous circle, where our employees frankly have more interaction with the customers than what I do. I mean, they're dealing with them on a regular basis. So we focus on our employees who then focus on the customers, who then reward the stockholders and then creates this continuous circle where, you know, when the- virtuous circle- when the customers do well, of course our stockholders do well.
And when the stockholders do well, our employees do well. So what we like to say, when we do well we create an environment that's best for all.
So the transition for us was looking at the future, looking at where the customer is headed, and then looking at our primary challenges. We are incredibly cost intensive, we are capital intensive, we are carbon intensive, and we have a very difficult competitor dynamic where we get thrown to the realm of being a commodity so that people just care. Our customers often will just say, well, that's a cost issue with the person with the lowest price to us win. And we're breaking that paradigm a bit as we start to go more green, you know, more green, and set the standard for a, the first company to set a standard for 2050 carbon neutral, and then had the first company that was certified, first plant that was certified by Responsible Steel so that we could actually demonstrate that we can make Green Earth Steel.
And over time then we have the targets that we get to, to be able to deliver a less carbon footprint, including vertex, which is 75% less carbon intensive than what's made at an integrated bill already today. So start with the customer, understand your challenges, and then we figure out what is it that is our competitive advantage. We have low cost iron ore range. We have the best finishing facility, we've got incredibly great innovative engineers, and we're strengthening that with better talent and stronger talent, leveraging the great talent that we have already. And then also we have the best mini mills in North America. So really those competitive advantages we focus on, like focus on your strengths, right? You do the best you can with what your strengths are, and then you create this future of the integrated mills, which are steel mills that make steel by digging it out of the dirt.
And the mini mills, which are more like scrap processors, highly efficient. So what we're doing is the integrated mills are teaching the mini mills how to make that high-end advanced high-strength steel that the mini mills have not been able to make in the past. And so that's the differentiator for us, and that we're gonna have the best of the integrated, best of the mini. And then together we create this best of both, which transforms into best for all, best for people, and now our most important customer, which of course is the planet. So we're obviously incredibly excited about the progress we've made, and we're not underestimating the challenge that it is to get to, to net zero carbon by 2050. There is a long way to go. A lot of innovation has to happen, but we're on a really good path right now.
LC : It's truly a learning organization, as I hear it, because you're teaching each other how to become even better at what you do best. What a great, great thing to do. And that's what reinforces your culture and reinforces that search and practice of excellence. I'd love to hear more about that. With the integrated and mini mills- how does it happen? For instance, my assumption would be there are people in the integrated mills and people in mini mills who are kind of like teachers or people who help each other to learn or share knowledge in for each of the mills. What does that look like in terms of learning process for each of those division units to become even better?
The secret Sauce is really in the integration where you take the integrated mill with the mini mills together. Again, the integrated mills are able to make the higher end type steels. The mini mills can do it a lot more efficiently, like they can- at Big River they can make a steel coil in, in 40 minutes, which is a fraction of the time that it takes to make a steel coil at an integrated mill. But they can't yet make what we call like automotive exposed, like the surfaces of cars. They can make the inside of that.
So, what we do is we make sure that we have our engineering people and our commercial people working closely in collaboratively between Big River Steel, our mini mill operations and our integrated mills, and they sort through that. It's no easy, easy solution. Or I think we have something like 17 products that we're working through that take some time and we have a long horizon to get things qualified with our customers.
So one of the things we have to do, and the breakthroughs will come, we have to figure out how do we reduce that cycle time and get customer acceptance faster, and at the same time demonstrate that our product is superior to the competitors so that they will sign up for more. Cuz typically in a commodity business, all your customers will say, well, you know, I gotta have three suppliers, three suppliers. So it's a little bit of a dance we do, because if we get too far out in front of our competitors, then it's gonna be hard for our customers to want to sign up for our product because they want to have this tension related to cost. So what we're trying to do is become so differentiated and so much better in certain aspects of the business that we become the obvious supplier of choice.
But it is no easy task. And we have New Core and Steel Dynamics. These companies are formidable competitors and they are the best at process improvement in the industry, but they don't have access to an iron range for pig iron and some of the things that you need to make steel. And that's a big competitive advantage for us. So we're trying to, how do we exploit those things and then also differentiate faster so that we can show at our big river steel that we can make this automotive exposed faster than what the highly competitive mini mills other mini mills are. But it's a huge challenge, no doubt, but our people are up for it.
LC : It's interesting and also notable to see how you're managing the necessity for cost while you're innovating, right? So the cost will affect pricing for customers. Thus, if too, if there's too much innovation r and d and cost that goes into it, either prices will, will will be affected. What is it like for you? Cause I can see the CFO in you working. It's so important to have this CFO mindset when you're in the CEO mindset as well. So what is it like for you to bring together that cost/r&d innovation from mini mills? Like what, what goes into it for you and your team to think through it and time it properly? What do we look for in that timing and the appropriate nature of innovation versus production?’
Well, it's not something that's easy, as I said, but what we do is we take best talent. You know what I like to say, as best talent wins, best teams wins. So, we selected best talent for the integration team. We call it a transition execution office that is able to take the integrated in the mini mills. And these people are working full-time to make sure that we leverage the works of the individual teams who have different strengths, you know, and frankly, some weaknesses that one of the other teams shores up.
And a key concept, I think, and you alluded to this earlier about the learning organization there, there's this notion that whatever comes our way, we have to embrace it. And it's kind of the, the term Amor Fati lover of fate. You know, it's like designed to come and help us.
So one of the mantras I have is, thanks, I needed that. Or you hear other people say good, I think Jocko Willink the guy who is Extreme Ownership says that I embrace that. Our team embraces that. So when you get knocked down, when you're trying to integrate these things, when you're trying to come together as a team, or when you have something economic circumstance far beyond your control, say, okay, we need that. The perfect example for us was, you know, the pandemic.
I can't believe how much benefit that's been for our productivity and our efficiency as an organization. Should have been doing this decades ago. But now we collaborate faster, instantly because we're doing this, we do this all the time. The efficiency by which we communicate with one another is astounding. We call it work from wherever as long as your supervisor agrees.
Now, obviously, if you're at a facility, probably 90% of our people are in every day. But administrative task, whether it be legal or procurement or IT or accounting, and the list goes on, we give people the opportunity to work from wherever. If they're new, their boss is gonna have 'em in, they're gonna be collaborating, but this way of working is so much improved. And I just wonder, did I really need a pandemic to see what a great benefit this is? Because that collaboration is happening so much faster.
You don't have to jump on a plane, you don't have to burn a few hours in transportation costs and create problems for the environment, frankly. And you don't have as many safety issues worried about, especially when the weather is bad, that people can work for more forever. You have this dynamic, this ability to connect with people instantly.
Probably the biggest challenge for people is they're working all the time, but it's also the satisfaction level. And just a statistic I just got from my HR today, when we surveyed the people about work from wherever, over 99% of employees and managers say that their productivity has improved or is as good as it was before.
So as good or better, 99%, that's pretty remarkable. And the same thing with communications. I think that number was 97%. So this work from wherever type collaboration is instant, and people are saving a bunch of transportation or travel time every day. One quick success story, got a great guy in m and a, he's got three little kids less than age five. He wouldn't seeing him very much during the week. Now he has breakfast, lunch, and dinner most days, and he's still the kinda guy that'll send me an email after 11 o'clock at night, fully engaged. But he sets the tone, we're listening more to our employees, and our employees are figuring out your words, I guess systemic collaboration, right? Oh, how is the best way to do that with integrated mills and the mini mills to create this environment that is truly best for all?
LC : And it requires being on the same page with such values, because you, what you're saying, right? Straight from the top, you're valuing your m and a guy and his family and what his experience is, and he's showing you, well, I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna work as hard as I possibly can, work even more, produce more, versus others who not for, not that this doesn't exist, it's quiet quitting who are quitting because they're not being <inaudible> by the CEO, right? And they're, they're being forced into it and doing the Jamie Diamond, JP Morgan approach, which is just not working for many. 99% improved. That's huge.
DB : When we think about this, when there was this great resignation, something like 26% manufacturing, ours was less than 4%. So it's definitely working for us. And I can't speak for what works for other companies, you know, they have to decide for that. But when people tell me you gotta be face-to-face, in person every day, I know that's not right for us. But there's something great when you do get together, it's fantastic because you feel that energy, that collaboration, and there's certain things, events that you need to have where you have that type of interaction.
But for most days, we're moving too fast for us to frankly go to another floor in our building or, you know, reach out to somebody in an in-person way when we can right now, get them. Another example, my assistant, she used to travel an hour to work to get there at 6:30 so I would have all my stuff ready, all the stacks of paper. It's amazing how I don't need any of that paper now, except when we have in-person face-to-face, I can't help myself. I want her to print stuff off me. Why I do that, I don't know, it's likely the old habits, but it's clear to me this hybrid way of working is forever. And for our organization, it's really made a difference for our company.
LC : It's truly green in many ways, cost savings and for the environment and carbon net neutral for everyone.
DB : Weather's tough here in Pittsburgh, sometimes slippery, we don't have people slipping into the yet. They basically can work from wherever. And we have our devices that are, that are side of effect. I have a purpose-built device. And when I was dialing in, it's like, okay, that one, for whatever reason, the sip code wasn't connecting.
It's like I flip up my iPad and I'm talking with you. I think I was maybe a minute late to our meeting, but we can get connected so much faster. And we have other alternatives, different devices, and at some point in time we'll have one device fits all. But ultimately it's just the way we work. It's as natural. And the issue is you still need to respect people's time. You know, I love work, so I'm gonna be touching work every single day of the year. Other people may not feel that way, but they don't have to. They set the stage for themselves with their family, what's right for them and be productive. And that's the real thing. The key learning for me that since I've been CEO, is listen more to the people, you know, listen to what they have to say, do what they want. You can trust them, you know? And trust and respect of course is our values. And in your spark thing, it's the RN spark respect, right? And, and when you do that, I do think it really makes a difference.
LC : It's huge. And it's listening and then doing, as you said, it's doing a cost benefit analysis. If I don't do this, what could happen?
DB : Oh, we can go back. I can only imagine how we would've not made it through the pandemic if we didn't have this technology. It'd been a disaster.
LC : Even with us today, all I did was I sent a URL to you and boom, Dave's right here, he just showed up.
DB : [Laughs]
LC : I mean, all have to do is send you a url Dave, and Dave will show up in front of you. It's that easy, really. And our productivity improves, and that's a huge number, 99% that that improved. And how you move through that fire drill of the pandemic and it's be made your company even better. What kinds of things are, we talked about this a little bit last time too.
You know, we were talking about, it was during the pandemic or just shortly after, you know, how US government has helped in some ways right, to bring steel back in America. What are you seeing now to help our industry? What are you seeing now as happening with collaborations with the government and things that you might even ask for different things, to get a little bit more connection to the US government, since it is US Steel of course?
It's a really good point there, because this issue of fair trade is really, really important. And I, you know, I worked at Caterpillar as a CFO there for many years, and I was big time free trader, you know, it had to be free or nothing else. And what I really didn't understand is just the bad actors that are out there, even countries that are friends to the United States, don't have fair trade. And so what we really need is we need to make sure that we have good leadership.
And if you think about any sovereign state, you know, any state, any community, any company or any family or individual, the top priority's gonna be safety and security. And you gotta get that. You have to make sure that you keep people safe and secure. And you can just imagine if you can't make steel or you can't have manufacturing and you can't make basic things for your community or take care of your family, they're not safe.
They're not secure. And we saw during the pandemic where we couldn't get the masks or the, the PPE equipment, and because it was being single sourced in other places, I remember one of the auto guys, CEOs had mentioned that the magnets for the seat belts came outta Wuhan and they had to shut down their entire operations because they couldn't get the safety belts, and they'd never had any sourcing issues there before.
But basic things you need to be able to make in your country. And what we found with the previous administration and the current administration, they get this fat and they understand that, yeah, collaboration is important with other countries, but you need to be able to be safe and secure and take care of your own country as the top priority. And that means you need to be able to make stuff. And if you outsource all of that, you're basically saying somebody else is gonna take care of you, and you trust them completely to have what you need when you need it.
LC : And we're seeing that happening now in the US with more, more us hiring, more creation in the us, more sort, sort of tax incentives for exporting, right? I think that's really the key. Are you seeing that too? Taking some of those incentives and saying, you know, we can export now. We'll create more here. That's part of our, the strength of our culture is keeping sort of the work in, in the US so that you can have more fair trade, you can have less bad actors, this can happen and we can build and improve upon an existing fractured system.
DB : Well, we see with the CHIPS Act, with the infrastructure bill, with the Inflation Reduction Act, which has a lot in there for helping us become more carbon neutral. Now much of that spending hasn't even happened yet, that's yet to come. And so that's where I get really bullish about the future for the United States because of the investments that we're making in the United States that will carry on. So I think that's a big, big change. I think inflation will probably be here for a while, you know, get into this 2 percent seems a little tough.
The Delta, the year over year change should get less. But it will set, I think, at a higher level for the foreseeable future. But I think it'll be okay. Frankly, I think two percents probably a bit on the low side, but over time, I think we get through this and investing in the future is a good thing as long as it's productive.
Now, if it's chasing stuff that isn't going to get real benefits, that could be an issue. And you know, we always have to worry about some waste. But I think when it's focused on energy efficiency and focused on productivity, focused on those things that actually make companies better and employees better and customers better for the stockholders to be better, I think it ends up being a win-win-win-win for everyone.
LC : And you're helping with everything from improving your equipment to improving your staff, to improving the processes themselves, which helps the whole industry. It helps you to connect into others who really want that, you know, the closer you get to it, especially vehicle manufacturers who want that to, that you could connect more closely into their values, value systems.
And you've done that with GM very closely. How did that, so tell me about that, you were talking about systemic collaboration and about positive vision of the future. You mentioned the Spark model. Do you see that happening within your company as they, they sort of with they work within your customer base- Does that help with not just prospecting, right, but also with connecting into, you know, other like cultures for carbon net neutral or for improving your processes?
DB : You know, common goals are very magical. You know this, when you have common goals, you can solve things. To the extent that we have customers that let us behind the tent and let our engineers think with them, we can make steels. That would be just fantastic. The challenge we have is, again, that we get forced to bid into being a commodity. So to the extent that we can do these advanced ice drinks, you what called Generation three steels, the ones that are moving towards G H G neutral over time we will have an advantage. But it's not like they're always, they're gonna say US Steel's gonna be the single source for that. That is way off into the future.
But that doesn't mean it shouldn't be an aspiration for us, because the closer we get to the customers, like with General Motors, the better the collaboration and we're doing it with others.
And that's one of the reasons we're taking market share because of that close connection where other competitors are not willing to create that close connection and create differentiations toward the green future. And if they're not willing to do that, that's good for our employees. And it's good for our customers because we will have the leading edge there.
But we have, you know, no illusion how difficult some of these things are. I mean, there's gonna be some breakthroughs in everything from carbon capture to hydrogen, to all kinds of new technological innovations that are not gonna happen in the next 3, 4, 5 years. But over time, I mean, that 2050 target that will evaporate very, very quickly. But to the extent that we can get common goals, the greater the opportunity for us to come together.
Because when you have common goals, you can manifest those goals together. And there's something about the obstacles. The obstacles end up being in the way instead of standing in your way because they help you overcome them when you're purpose-driven towards the common goal.
LC : And that's what always impressed me about what you do and how you bring your engineers into the environment of customers and you workshop with them. And to know that you, you actually provide that- it's almost like a consulting service, right? And people, it's incredible. People love it. And that's what makes you different. Cause you have that customer focus, the customer orientation, and it's pervasive inside of US Steel, pervasive inside of your customers as well.
And that what I wanna know more about is it, do you see, especially with move for 75% moving up the curve two to 2050, that you'll do more of that with working with more customers, working with a deeper bench of not just prospects, but also with just more people, right? In order to garner that kind of collective knowledge towards your 2050 goal.
DB : That is definitely the future. I would say we've only just begun. There's a lot more collaborating that we can do. And we've actually brought in chief Technology Officer with Deep experience and heading towards first principle, first principles of course, of physics actually create the kind of breakthroughs that we need. But that doesn't happen if we just do it in our own think tank organization here. Those relationships, business is all about relationships.
And it happens with our employees, with our engineers who are the best in the business, highly creative, very innovative. They need to get behind the curtain. And frankly, I need to do that better job getting those doors open so that our customers can just see how valuable they can be to help solve their problems. Because, you know, we mentioned before the lightweighting we did with the rail car and in just a short period of time, we're able to take a bunch of, what, 15,000 plus pounds off a rail car. It's good for them.
Very durable steel's good for us because it's higher margin steel is better for the environment. So again, the win-win win is there, but I would say we've only just begun. There is so much more we're going to do. And our transition execution office, the TEO we call it, with these high potential people, full-time working on getting this integrated and mini mill together. Best of Both towards Best for All. And I'm really excited about it, but we have ways to go, but we're accelerating.
LC : I love what you said about the first principles in physics and these great engineers who are working on these first principles, because we could create things in vacuums, it's good. We create things for ourselves. Customer zero, and then we bring it into the actual, the actual environment, client environment like you did in the environment with the train, it was train, right? Isn't that right?
DB : Rail cars. Yeah. Gondola cars, yes
LC : And which you have a positive example and sounds like there's more examples to come.
DB : There's more. And, but we need, we need to figure out how to get the product development time dramatically reduce. And some of it's, you know, we, we've had such a big auto base, but we can leverage what we do on auto in advanced high strength steels, generation three steel and bring it to appliance, bring it to construction, bring it to other aspects of our business.
And that's where the great advantage is because I'll put our engineers up against anybody in this space. They are really remarkable, bright people that that know the breakthroughs. They just need to be given that opportunity to excel.
LC : I just listening to an entrepreneur he owned a 3 billion company that he brought up it was a robotics company, and he is doing another robotics company. And he has this one hard and fast rule that it's part of his new company. He said, number one, I will only hire the best possible in the field. Nobody else. And I'm hearing that through you today, right now. So I just have the best. So you know, that they, they got, that's who best we have is the best, right? If so, if you're not the best not really the best place for you, you know,
DB : We say best for all, right? Which means we have to have the best operations. And we have, you know, I think it's 18 times better than the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Safety. So best Operations starts with safety. You know, you have to be the best partner, and that means with your customers, you gotta create that in intimacy. And, and for us, what we're working on is also is the best improvement in what we call our EBITDA multiple, which gives us the valuation of the company, because this is where we've been investing so heavily in the future that people see us as a show me story, and we look forward to getting our next Mini mill fully built, which will be not just second verse, same as a first, second verse, better than the first, because it'll have an end of the caster making steals that get us closer to that automotive exposed tipping point for mini mills.
So, we're pretty excited about it, but best is part of our mantra, and let's face it, it starts with best talent, talent that can team and collaborate well, where we create, I'm, I'm fighting myself using your words from your book, this, this systemic collaboration. It's really important that that becomes part of the DNA.
LC : It is. And, cross-functional management throughout your, your entire system. And, everybody can collaborate and be part of those teams, which is what you're doing. And you're going to achieve this. We have so many great things that are on the horizon that people could be excited about for US Steel, and should be waiting for every single, not just quarter, don't wait for the quarter, the earnings. It's gonna be out, it's coming out because there's this strong culture, this culture of consistent improvement, continually engineering being even better, right? Then the best for all. And that's a constant improvement.
DB : I still feel like we're in the infant stage. You know, we're learning to walk and run still. We're going to, we're gonna be a lot better than what we are right now. I just see within our culture, you know, we've taken safety, we've had a great safety culture for many years, but we're doing the psychological safety, the 360 safety, right? Where people feel this inclusivity, and I'm on the board of National Safety Council, and they're working on these things too. I mean, let's face it, if people can come to work and really truly feel like they belong and are making a difference, that's incredibly empowering. And when you have the common values that we have, and we are creating this future that's, I mean, I'm just madly bullish on the future of US Steel.
I think we'll see more people being attracted to our company. In fact, we're seeing that now. Whereas people may not want to work in Pittsburgh, but they don't have to because we can do this connectivity thing. You can work from wherever. It's just a different world. And listening to the employees, they will invent the future faster than we can define it.
LC : Employee Listening. It's essential. I mean, David bringing together all aspects of Sparks: Systemic Collaboration, Positive vision of his future is so strong. Alignment of values, showing Respect for everybody across the United States and bringing them on board. And of course, Killer achievement. Which is what he is dedicated to, giving resources and passion behind achieving that. And if you wanna become a most loved workplace, like David Burritt, go to most love workplace com today and get certified.
DB : “In Great Company”, Lou’s book too. Again, plugging your book, Lou, it's a really great book.
LC : I'm so glad to hear you talk about that today and really awesome to have you on today, Dave. It's such a always a pleasure to be with you and talk with you- such rich information and knowledge about what's so central to the economic advancement of our country and our world in steel.
DB : It's always great to meet with you, Lou. Thanks so much for what you're doing to bring people together and you know, every time I talk with you, I feel the love and wanna work a little bit harder, you know.
LC : I'm glad to hear that. Thank you so much, Dave. Great to be with you.
DB : All the best.