Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts: Special SMU Steel Summit Conference Edition

Written by John Packard

Over the past three days, Steel Market Update (SMU) had all hands on deck for our 7th SMU Steel Summit Conference. The conference was once again held at the Georgia International Convention Center next to the Atlanta International Airport.

We had record attendance with 661 executives registered compared to 434 last year. There were 309 companies registered from the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Japan, Ecuador and Poland.

I spoke with the president of a Midwest service center earlier today who told me that he and the rest of his team who attended were “beat” by the time they returned home. They would have breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings and then run to make all of the presentations because they didn’t want to miss anything. Of course, they had to have a nightcap with the approximately 80-100 steel people who were at the Marriott lobby bar at any one time during the evening (except Monday when that number was more like 200-300 people).

We have heard nothing but positive comments from attendees about the 22 speakers on the program.

“I have to say, I was absolutely floored at your conference. The speakers keep getting better and better. It’s incredible what you’ve built.  Soon you’re going to need to move the event to a stadium!  It really makes an impact on our company.” Brian Blaushild, President, Heating & Cooling Products.

“First off, John, great conference once again. Really enjoyed the last session. Was nice to see the younger generation providing insight; one of the highlights of the conference. I took a number of notes and will work with my HR department moving forward. Loved the manufacturing section, as well; was by far one of my favorites…” Christopher Shipp, General Manager, Priefert Steel

Bill Stenard of Viking Materials told us in an email, “Great conference, very engaging at times!!!”

One of the goals of any Steel Market Update event is to provide information that is relevant and timely for our attendees. The goal is to provide information by people who have something to share and know how to do it.

“I really like that you don’t have a bunch of companies getting up there and telling people sh*t they already know…” is what Tim Stevenson, partner at Metal Edge Partners, LLC, told us. He went on to say, “The political commentator was fantastic [Michael Smerconish], and I also thought the guy from WSD was super good [Philipp Englin]. Not too much to improve upon in my mind.”

Karl Schmidt of Hartree Partners told us, “I just wanted to congratulate and thank you for a wonderful conference!” He went on to say, “It was very well organized, the presentations great and the audience very relevant…your conference was attended by people who are at the coalface every day, which made it so much more productive.”

We announced during the conference that Steel Market Update was donating $5,000 to the American Red Cross to help with the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

We also announced that our Steel 101 workshop in Fort Wayne, Ind., is sold out, but we will have another workshop in Mobile, Ala., toward the end of the month of January 2018, which will include a tour of the SSAB minimill. Then later in the spring, we will travel to Portage, Ind., (Chicago area) and will tour the NLMK Portage minimill. We will get more information about these programs on the website as soon as we firm up the dates and exact hotels we will be using.

Our next SMU Steel Summit Conference will be held in Atlanta at the Georgia International Convention Center (same facility as this year) on Aug. 27, 28 and 29, 2018. Mark your calendars and put a note in your budgets for 2018.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or exhibitor for the 2018 conference, please contact our office. Believe it or not, some of the existing sponsors want to cement their position for 2018.

A special thank you to my team for their hard work leading up to the conference and over the past few weeks: Ray Culley, Brett Linton, Diana Packard, Tim Triplett, Sandy Williams, Alison and Jeff Lalonde, Steve Painter, Mario Briccetti and John Eckstein.

I also want to thank each and every one of the attendees for our 2017 conference.

A note about our publication schedule – we will not publish on Sunday due to the Labor Day Holiday in the U.S. We will return to our normal publication schedule on Tuesday of next week.

Enjoy your Labor Day holiday.

As always, your business is truly appreciated.

John Packard, Publisher

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