Clifford Borland was a successful entrepreneur in the steel industry. In 1981, he used $50,000 of his life savings to lead a $40 million leveraged buyout of the struggling Interlake, Inc. pipe foundry in Newport, Kentucky. In his February 24, 2007 Wall Street Journal obituary, Borland was characterized as "an apostle of lean and transparent management."
Borland's home town of Aspinwall, PA, a suburb of Pittsburgh, had deep roots in the steel industry. Both his father and uncle worked for steel companies, and following graduation from Lehigh in 1959, Borland also began pursuing a career in the family trade. His first job was with U.S. Steel Corp., which he later left for another steelmaker, Interlake Inc. in suburban Chicago. In 1977, Borland was appointed plant manager for Interlake's steel plant in Newport, KY.
Borland's knack for restarting failed businesses surfaced during his successful buyout of Interlake, Inc. Under his leadership, the new company named Newport Steel Corp. that he and three other former Interlake executives formed became the first in Northern Kentucky listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1990, NS Group, Newport's holding company, purchased two closed steel plants in Pennsylvania for $96 million, thereby doubling their steel-making capacity. Borland cut costs in each purchase by limiting the amount of new plant construction and rehiring experienced steelworkers still in the community. He retired as active CEO in 2001 and as chairman of the NS Group in 2006. In December later that year, the holding company was sold to IPSCO Inc, another profitable tube maker, for $1.46 billion.
Golfing and model railroading were two of Borland's greatest passions. He also played an active charitable role in his Villa Hills, KY community. He served on the board of Boy Scouts of America and chaired the Northern Kentucky University Foundation in 2002. In 1992, he chaired the Northern Kentucky campaign for the United Way. In 2005, Thomas More College gave Borland its Bishop William A. Hughes Award for community leadership and contributions to Catholic higher education.
At Lehigh, Borland was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity. He later served as on his classes's 35th Reunion Fund committee. He created and then continued to help fund the Clifford R. Borland Scholarship, and supported fraternity programming at Chi Psi.
Borland, who passed away in February, 2007, is survived by his wife, Patricia Wert Borland, their three children: Clifford Jr., Lisa, and Douglas, and fourteen grandchildren.