Local deaths
Cliff Borland, helped create Newport Steel

Cliff Borland Sr. had deep roots in the steel industry. The Villa Hills, Ky., resident, who helped create Newport Steel, grew up in a suburb of another steel town, Pittsburgh. His father and uncle also worked in the steel business.

Borland, who died Monday at 69, went to Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn., the home of the now-defunct Bethlehem Steel Corp.

He put his engineering degree to work first for U.S. Steel Corp. and then with another steelmaker, Interlake Inc., in suburban Chicago. In 1977, he moved his family to Northern Kentucky to become plant manager for Interlake's steel plant in Newport.

In 1981, the company closed its plants in Wilder and Newport. But Borland and three other former Interlake executives raised $40 million in grants, loans and personal funds to buy the plants, then reopened them as Newport Steel Corp. Borland eventually became president and CEO of its holding company, NS Group Inc.

Under his leadership, in 1990, the company became the first in Northern Kentucky listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Later that same year, NS Group bought two closed steel plants in Pennsylvania for $96 million, doubling its steelmaking capacity.

The company had its ups and downs throughout the 1990s, losing millions in some years but making a profit in others. He retired as active CEO in 2001 and as chairman of the NS Group in early 2006.

Borland also served on the boards for many local charities. In many cases, these were organizations his children were involved in, such as the Boy Scouts.

He also chaired the Northern Kentucky University Foundation in 2002 and was a recipient of the foundation's Distinguished Public Service Award. In 1992, he chaired the Northern Kentucky campaign for United Way.

In 2005, Thomas More College gave Borland its Bishop William A. Hughes Award for community leadership and contributions to Catholic higher education.

When he wasn't working, Borland pursued his lifelong love affair with golf, said his son, Clifford Borland Jr. of Crescent Springs. He played regularly at the Summit Hills Country Club, where he was a member, with a group of friends.

"He enjoyed the focus and the solitude," his son said. "He was a very detail-oriented guy. Whatever he engaged himself in, he went at it full-force."

He had high expectations of his own children, but also helped them to succeed, his son said.

"He was not overly critical, but he required us to achieve at the highest level we could," he said. "He was not afraid to offer us advice when he felt we needed it."

Many of the values the junior Borland holds he attributes to the influence of his parents.

"I hope I'm doing as good a job with my children as he did with myself, and my brother and sister," he said.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife, Patricia Wert Borland; a daughter, Lisa Borland of Villa Hills; another son, Douglas Borland of Union; a brother, Paul C. Borland Jr. of Bradenton, Fla.; a sister, Shirley Lindley of Fort Collins, Colo.; and 14 grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Linnemann Funeral Home, Burlington. Visitation will begin there at noon Saturday.

Memorials are suggested to the American Heart Association, 333 Guthrie St., Louisville, Ky. 40202 or Leukemia Society of America, 100 Merchant St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.

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