Gordon Finch, founder of the Kansas City Regional Steel Fabricators Association, dies at age 94

Gordon Finch (left) with Thomas Murray (center) and president Fred Havens (right) of Havens Steel Company at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the Kansas City Regional Steel Fabricators Association.

Gordon Finch, known as president of AISC-certified fabricator Builders Steel and for connecting Kansas City-area steel fabricators, died May 3 at the age of 94. 

Finch’s contributions to the Kansas City Regional Steel Fabricators Association and to the wider steel industry led the AISC Board of Directors to present him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

After observing many Kansas City general contractors touting concrete frames over steel frames in the mid-1970s, Finch reached out to five other local fabricators and convinced them to join together under the common goal of resurrecting the local steel industry. In 1976, this partnership, which is now known as the Kansas City Regional Steel Fabricators Association, solidified, with Finch serving as its first chair. 

Under the main purpose of promoting the use of structural steel, the Association provided ample educational opportunities to the area’s structural engineering community. Finch organized two breakfast meetings per year and brought in many guest speakers and local engineers and fabricators, many of whom went on to develop strong networking relationships with each other. In addition to the breakfast meetings, the Association also hosted programs on topics like certification, arranged tours of fabrication shops, assisted students at area universities who competed in the Student Steel Bridge Competition, and funded educators’ trips to NASCC: The Steel Conference

The Kansas City Regional Steel Fabricators Association experienced such success that it inspired the founding and programming of many other local fabricator organizations. 

Finch’s engineering career spans back to when he was drafted into the military in 1945 and started training in engineering and design. After serving, he became an architectural engineer at Builders Steel and eventually went on to become president. Even after he retired in 1991, Finch remained occupied with consulting work for many other companies. He worked on international and local projects, his most notable being the pylons suspending the Bartle Hall Convention Center above Truman Road and Interstate 670 in Kansas City. 

Read Finch’s full obituary here.