Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


For those of you who are new to Steel Market Update (SMU) the Final Thoughts segment of the newsletter is reserved for me (John Packard, Founder and Publisher) to basically spout off on a wide variety of topics. This is the space I reserve for my opinions as well as in your face marketing (sorry, you all realize that I used to be a steel salesman, right?). Thus the continuous references to our next Steel 101 workshop (which, by the way, is on October 7 & 8 in Ft. Wayne, IN and includes a tour of Steel Dynamics – details can be found on our website), Managing Price Risk and Steel Summit Conference, etc.

It is also the place where I can get a little personal and relate stories about the past or about things happening now which I think you might find interesting.

Today I visited my former employer of 14 years, Pacesetter Steel Service, Inc. I attended a party which was touted as a celebration of their 37 years in operation. However, I know Steve Leebow, the owner of Pacesetter, better than that and I told him a couple of weeks ago at our Steel Summit Conference that I sensed something was up. Thirty-seven is too odd a number for Steve to throw a big shindig.

It was nice to see some of the old familiar faces with whom I had worked with for those many years. I was disappointed that I was the only one who gained weight and lost most of my hair. I think the exercise room they installed at the home headquarters building (fondly known in the industry as the Taj Mahal…) may have had something to do with that. But, none-the-less it was good to see everyone was still on the right side of the grass.

Steve spoke about the history of how his family became involved in the steel industry. For those of you who don’t know Steve’s father and uncle started Baldwin Steel in New Jersey. But before there was Baldwin a member of the family owned the fourth largest razor blade manufacturing company in the United States. He spoke about how Baldwin Steel started and had the great fortune to have had lots of inventory in 1959 when the entire steel mill industry went on strike for over 100 days.

He started Pacesetter Steel in 1977 in Atlanta after rejecting Charlotte as being “too small” a city for a new steel service center. I joined Pacesetter in 1982 and drove my little Toyota all the way from Minnesota and was promptly wowed by all of the green trees (and pretty girls as I was single).

I digress, back to the reason for bringing all of this up to our readers. I knew there was something devious involved with the “37th” anniversary celebration and I was correct. The celebration was actually a passing of the torch from father to daughter as Aviva Leebow was named the new CEO of Pacesetter Steel.

Now, I am going to have to do some research but I don’t think there are too many female CEO’s of a large service center organization in the United States. I can think of a couple small distributors who have female presidents but not one of the size and scope of Pacesetter. So, I want to give my fondest congratulations to Steve & Bobbie Leebow for taking the company through its first 37 years and I wish Aviva and all of the Pacesetter associates (teammates) all of the best over the next 37 years.

OK. Where was I – oh yea, we have our next Steel 101 workshop coming up in October…

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, Publisher

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Final thoughts

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.