Steel Products

2021 SMU NexGen Leadership Award – Nominations Open

Written by John Packard

As we return to offices and in-person contact after more than a year of pandemic-induced anxiety, it is important to recognize the young people within your organization who stood out (or who are standing out) as examples of the next generation who are inspiring others, leading by example, or who have developed innovative solutions to issues affecting your company’s performance.

You can recognize those 35 years or younger whose drive, determination and leadership skills are making a difference by nominating them for the 2021 SMU NexGen Leadership Award which is sponsored by the Steel Manufacturers Association.

2021 will be the third year for us to recognize young talent within the greater steel community. The community includes manufacturing companies, steel distributors, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors and others who are actively involved with flat rolled and plate steel products.

The Nomination Process

Nominations can come from someone within the company where the nominee is currently employed or individuals can nominate themselves for the award.

Successful nominations should include clear examples of how the nominee demonstrated excellence and leadership. It is important to clearly define why the nominee should be considered for the award, and then defend the nomination with examples of his or her success within the company. We have provided the nomination for Meredith Meade who was our first award winner as an example of what it takes to present a successful nomination to the judges.

In 2019, Meredith Meade of Tempel Steel became the first recipient of the SMU NexGen Leadership Award. You can learn more about Meredith and view her application by clicking here.

In 2020, we honored Stephen Sterling of Quality Metals Stamping with our second SMU NexGen Leadership Award.

You can see videos of both winners by clicking here.

2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference – All Nominees Receive

Every nominee is invited to attend the SMU Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta (or virtually) for half the normal ticket price (normal price is $1,395 per person). After you have nominated someone, please reach out to: and they will provide you with more details on how to register the nominee for the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference.

On Monday, Aug. 23, which is the first day of the conference, all nominees are invited to attend a VIP reception that will include representatives of the Steel Manufacturers Association, sponsors of the SMU Steel Summit Conference, various speakers and SMU/CRU staff.

2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference – Final Three Receive

In early August, the judges will select three top finalists from all of the nominations. Those three will receive free tickets to the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference and their airfare (coach) and hotel costs will be reimbursed.

2021 SMU NexGen Leadership Award Winner Will Receive

  • Mentorship Day with Barbara Smith, Chairman, President & CEO, Commercial Metals Company
  • Recognition during the SMU Steel Summit Conference
  • Invitation to attend the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference
  • Invitation to attend one of the SMU steel training workshops (Steel 101, Steel Hedging 101, Steel Hedging 201, and any new workshops that are on the drawing board for 2021/2022)
  • Recognition in the form of a trophy or plaque that can be proudly displayed on your desk or office area
  • Recognition in the Steel Market Update newsletter, website, and social media.
  • A video of the award presentation

Nominations must be received by July 16, 2021.

You can learn more about the nomination process, where to send your nominations, requirements, past winners, etc. at:

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