SMU Community News

SMU Community News: Helping Customers, Helping Communities

Written by Sandy Williams

The COVID-19 crisis has prompted creative ways for businesses in the steel industry to work around the challenges caused by shutdowns, social distancing and economic disruption. SMU Community News highlights positive actions by companies and their associates to persevere in business and to help the communities where they live and work.

XOM Materials, an online platform for trading steel, metals and plastics, with offices in Berlin, Duisburg, and Atlanta, is one company that has found a silver lining in the pandemic. XOM adopted a company-wide social distancing policy at the start of the pandemic and transitioned to fully digital communication with its customers. The transition was challenging for some, but U.S. Sales Manager Jeff Marzendorfer believes this unprecedented crisis will give many organizations the boost they need to build their digital infrastructure. Marzendorfer said he is optimistic about the future of the American materials market and stresses that digitization opens new revenue chains that many companies will rely on in a post-COVID world. “With an upswinging market, I think things are nothing but positive at this point,” he said.

The pandemic has been a tough burden to bear, but the steel industry has risen to the occasion with good works to help those in need. One manufacturer of coil processing equipment in southwestern Illinois was among those who made it a priority to help others.


Red Bud Industries joined with local businesses and organizations to ensure that children in the Red Bud School District did not go hungry during the pandemic. The school system transitioned to remote learning on March 16 putting school children who rely on the breakfasts and lunches served by the district at risk. With the help of organizations like the school district’s Musketeer Market that serves as a food pantry for students in need, more than 26,000 breakfasts and lunches were prepared by the school’s cafeteria crew and transported to students’ homes by volunteers.


The trucking industry has been steadfastly delivering food and medical supplies across the nation during the pandemic and has been lauded as unsung heroes. But there are individual acts of community support that may go unrecognized.

The American Trucking Association partnered with the American Logistics Aid Network to deliver vital supplies to nonprofit groups to distribute to communities. Mack Trucks provided two semis to deliver supplies between nonprofit groups that will be driven by volunteer professional truck drivers from ATA member companies.

Premier Trailer and its supplier Thermo King are donating the use of 40 refrigerated trailers to Feeding America. The 53-foot trailers can carry 40,000 pounds of perishable food and will allow Feeding America to store and distribute more than 6 million meals this summer.

There are many more good-news stories out there—we would like to hear yours. Email your press releases to




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