Steel Products

Steel Conference Virtually Impossible? We Don't Think So...

Written by John Packard

I know I speak on this subject a great deal because it is a challenge and an opportunity for the steel industry, and I love challenges. I am counting on you recognizing the opportunities….

When it comes to the SMU Steel Summit Conference there are two keys to our success: 1) quality content and 2) exceptional networking. When I made the decision to take our conference, which had over 1,100 attendees last year in Atlanta, online to a virtual setting those two keys of success were part of the decision-making process. I would not commit to do a virtual conference unless I was certain that our team (CRU & SMU) could produce a conference people will be talking about months after the event has concluded.

As I just mentioned, last year we had just over 1,100 attendees. Can we replicate that this year? I believe we can.

John Packard Summit 18Many of you are already succumbing to “webinar fatigue” and the pandemic has only been an issue in the U.S. since mid-March of this year. The real shutdowns were in April and May. During that time many of us have learned to work from home and use video to link with your co-workers and clients. Most likely, like me and my family, you are having FaceTime or Zoom video meetings. Enough with the %&*#!@ webinars… I hear you and I feel your pain.

We seem to be able to tolerate television and movies (on the TV) better than non-stop webinars and Zoom meetings. We took that into consideration as we are rebuilding our program.

So, we will be having shorter, more focused, interactive programs with a story line. I will discuss this in much more detail after I have had time to speak and provide details about our virtual conference platform with our speakers.

I can tell you we are going to expand our program. I added a new speaker today: Leon Topalian, President & CEO of Nucor. I will be adding more high-quality speakers and programs in the coming days.

So, how do we get the same kind of numbers to our conference as we have done over the past few years? Quality content, expanded program, interactive program, on demand material, super exhibitors and sponsors (something else I will need to chat about in future posts) and a new networking experience that does not prohibit individuals and companies from meeting and interacting with new potential clients/suppliers. I am going to be speaking about this a lot in the coming weeks. I anticipate that I will also conduct one or two webinars focused on what you can expect when you attend an SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference. We will start those in July.

In the meantime, we have now been taking registrations for the virtual conference for 18 days. We are over 250 registered attendees. We are posting the list of the companies on our conference website page, which you can access by clicking here.

If you want to register for the conference, you can do that by clicking on this link.

We had a good SMU Community Chat Webinar with Donald Bly of Applied Value on Wednesday. Next week we are going to defer to CRU, which is presenting a free webinar for the industry. They will have a few of their analysts covering steel (and steel price forecasts), scrap and other items of interest to our members. Their webinar will be on Tuesday, June 23, at 10 AM ET (9 CT, 8 MT, 7 PT). You can register for this webinar by clicking on this link.

We will return to our normal time and place for the SMU Community Chat webinar beginning on Wednesday, July 1 at 11 AM when we host Eddie Lehner, President & CEO of Ryerson. We will begin taking registrations for that free webinar next week.

Thank you for spending a few minutes with me today. I hope to see you soon on a CRU or SMU webinar of your choice. Even better, I hope to see you in our virtual conference (and I will know who is there, as will you once you are in the lobby of the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference)….

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

John Packard, President & CEO

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