Steel Products

Everything You Want to Know About This Year’s Conference

Written by John Packard

Everything You Want to Know About This Year’s Conference

There is much to talk about at this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference as the industry deals with record high prices, strong demand, challenges to supply, questions about trade, new steel mills about to come onstream and more recently announced, automotive moving to electric vehicles, questions about scrap supply and pricing, a possible large infrastructure bill, construction, energy and automotive forecasts, climate change and the decarbonization of the economy, and what the economy will look like next year and 10 years into the future? All these subjects will be discussed, and in some cases debated, at this year’s conference.

So, as you make your plans to attend the first major steel conference to be held in-person, scheduled for Aug. 23-25 in Atlanta, let’s take a sneak peek at our agenda, and then let’s talk about when you should arrive, where you should stay and when you should plan on returning back home.

Please note: This is a draft of the agenda and there will be changes as we add speakers and fine tune the final programs. We intentionally like to hold space closer to the date of the conference to make certain we are hitting the key topics for our attendees.

All programs will be in the Georgia International Convention Center this year (including Pre-Summit programs).

Monday, Aug. 23

We are going to have three (3) “Pre-Summit” programs this year beginning at 9 A.M. Eastern Time.

9:00 AM – Technology is Here to Stay – Sponsored by Reibus

10:00 AM – Steel Futures: Listen to Those Who Trade – Sponsored by CME Group

11:00 AM – How Steel Companies are Making Digital Transformation a Reality – Sponsored by Crowe

Noon: Lunch

1:00 PM – Welcome Back! Official Opening of the Conference

  • Your Host: John Packard, President & CEO, Steel Market Update

1:30 PM – Pandemic to Pandemonium

  • Michael Smerconish, Author, CNN Commentator, Sirius XM

2:50 PM – CRU Economic and Steel Forecasts

  • Speakers TBA

3:30 PM – Lourenco Goncalves, Chairman, President & CEO, Cleveland Cliffs

  • CEO of largest flat rolled steel mill in North America goes one-on-one with John Packard

4:15 PM – Networking Cocktail Party

Tuesday, Aug. 24

7:00 AM – Doors Open

8:30 AM – Opening Remarks* (Note: we are beginning 30 minutes later than in past years)

  • John Packard, President & CEO, Steel Market Update

8:45 AM – Scrap: The New Precious Metal?

  • Paul Lowrey, Managing Director, Steel Research Associates
  • Ben Abrams, President, Consolidated Scrap

9:50 AM – Leon Topalian, President & CEO, Nucor

  • Nucor CEO goes one-on-one with John Packard

10:50 AM – Economic Keynote Address by ITR Economics

  • Dr. Alan Beaulieu, CEO, ITR Economics

Noon – Lunch

1:10 PM – International Trade Panel

  • Phil Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association
  • Lewis Leibowitz, Managing Director, Lewis E. Leibowitz Trade Attorney
  • Other Speakers TBA

1:50 PM – SMU Youth Leadership Award Presentation – Sponsored by Steel Manufacturers Association

  • Phil Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association
  • John Packard, President & CEO, Steel Market Update

2:30 PM – Market Segment Forecasts: Automotive, Energy, Construction

  • Speakers TBA

3:50 PM – Mark Millett, President & CEO, Steel Dynamics

  • SDI CEO goes one-on-one with John Packard

4:30 PM – Networking Cocktail Party

Wednesday, Aug. 25

7:00 AM – Doors Open

8:30 AM – Opening Remarks

  • John Packard, President & CEO, Steel Market Update

8:45 AM – OEM/Manufacturing Program

  • Speakers TBA

9:50 AM – Economic Forecast – Brian Coulton, Chief Economist, Fitch

10:50 AM – Electric Vehicle Outlook and the Role Steel Will Play

  • John Catterall, Vice President, Automotive Program, American Iron and Steel Institute

11:30 AM – Steel Forecasting Panel: Is Steelmageddon Dead?

Timna Tanners, Metals & Mining Analyst, Bank of America

Other Speakers TBA

12:10 PM – Lunch

1:00 PM – Decarbonization & How it Will Impact Your Company

Speakers TBA

1:40 PM – Truck, Rail & More – Logistics Issues and Solutions

Speakers TBA

2:30 PM – Special Program

Speakers TBA

3:00 PM – Conference Closes

I have received a few questions over the past couple of days regarding the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference. So, here are some answers:

Is this conference going to be an in-person (live) event at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) as in past years?

Yes, it is our intention to take this event back to “live” and in-person. We are seeing up to four million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines being administered on a daily basis and we feel comfortable that the vast majority (if not all) of our attendees will have been vaccinated by Aug. 23 when the conference begins.

What protocols are going to be in place to protect attendees from COVID?

We are working with the GICC, State of Georgia, Centers for Disease Control, and our own common sense to make sure we run a thoughtful yet productive event. One way you can guarantee a safe event is to get vaccinated prior to coming.

Will there be restrictions on how many people will be allowed to attend?

We don’t have an answer to that yet, but expect that question to be answered by June 1. To be sure you have a spot, you may want to register prior to June 1.

When should I plan to arrive, and when should I plan on leaving?

The Pre-Summit workshops will begin at 9 AM ET on Monday, Aug. 23. The full conference opening will be at 1 p.m. on Monday (not Tuesday morning as we have done in the past). The conference will end by no later than 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

I don’t see a room block set up yet on the website. Should I wait for a room block or reserve my room(s) now?

My suggestion is to reserve the room on your own as soon as possible. The hotels to go to first (as they are located next to the GICC) are: Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway Hotel, Atlanta Airport Renaissance Hotel, Atlanta Airport SpringHill Suites Gateway Hotel, and Atlanta Airport A-Loft Gateway Hotel (brand new this year).

What are the costs to attend?

The full price ticket is $1,395 per person. There is a $100 per person discount for SMU and CRU member companies. There is an additional $100 per person discount for companies bringing more than one person. If you have a large group (10 or more people), reach out to to see if there is any more flexibility in our numbers. Click here to register.

Do you still have sponsorships available?

We have two left. Contact Jill Waldman at for more details. She can also assist you if you are interested in exhibiting at this year’s event. There are 10 spots left for exhibitors. We expect both sponsorships and exhibition spots to be gone prior to June 1.

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