Steel Products

SMU Steel Summit 2018 – A Year in the Making

Written by John Packard

The 2018 SMU Steel Summit Conference is shaping up to be the most dynamic and largest steel conference we have ever conducted. Eight hundred executives are expected to join us in Atlanta on Aug. 27-29 for a one-of-a-kind event. Networking will be second to none, as will our speakers, from beginning to end.

Even before the conclusion of our 2017 SMU Steel Summit Conference, our team was diligently planning 2018’s event. We knew we had to expand the size of the facility and this year, if needed, we will be able to grow our footprint to handle 1,200 executives. In 2017, we were planning on a larger conference due to the success of the 2017 event.

The hardest part of planning a SMU Steel Summit conference is providing new speakers, new subject areas that are timely and interesting, along with those speakers who provide forecasts and industry analysis. In 2018, we are bringing back Dr. Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics. Dr. Beaulieu is one of the best economic speakers I have seen during my 40+ years in the steel industry. He is also one of the best forecasters of the economy, and we look forward to his comments and prognostications.

Timna Tanners, metals and mining analyst for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, along with John Anton, Direction of Analytics, Pricing & Purchasing for Steel for IHS Markit, always have a spirited discussion about where steel and commodity prices are headed into the New Year. Ms. Tanners and Mr. Anton have been entertaining and educating every one of our conferences since the beginning.

SMU has put together what we think will be an interesting “manufacturing” panel. Those of you who were at the 2017 event may recall the animated discussion between Barry Zekelman, President & CEO of Zekelman Industries, and a member of our audience. We have invited Mr. Zekelman back and have added to this panel Kirk Reich, President of AK Steel, John Axelberg, President of General Stamping and Metalworks, and Chris Shipp, Vice President of Priefert Manufacturing/Priefert Steel. We are excited to have these four individuals who will share the stage with SMU Publisher John Packard as we direct our attention on various markets and issues affecting manufacturing companies and their suppliers.

What we have shared with you in this issue of Steel Market Update is just the tip of the iceberg. We have much, much more for those who want to attend THE premier steel conference in North America.

We strive to offer a solid program from the moment our first speaker is introduced at 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon until we wish everyone safe travels on Wednesday afternoon around 3 p.m.

We encourage our readers, and those who may have received information about our conference, to review our schedule, our speakers and listen to those who have attended past conferences. 

We will continue to use our App – both before and during our conference. We have CNBC’s Ron Insana who will provide his perspective on what will truly be an important mid-term election and how it will impact the economy. Insana is an economic and political commentator for CNBC. We will talk about “Big Data” and how articficial intelligence is affecting the steel industry. Yes, there is more. The 2018 edition of SMU’s Steel Summit Conference will be an experience not to be missed.

You can learn more about this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference online at: or by contacting our office at 772-932-7538.

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