Steel Products

2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference Agenda (27 Days to Go!)

Written by John Packard

2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference – Revised Agenda as of July 27, 2021

The 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center on Aug. 23-25. The convention center is conveniently located next to the Atlanta International Airport (ATL). The center and the hotels surrounding the convention center are on the first stop on the free SkyTrain shuttle from the airport to the rental car center.

The following is an updated agenda for the conference, which will begin at 9 AM ET on Monday, Aug. 23. This agenda was updated on Tuesday, July 27.

Monday, Aug. 23

Doors Open to Georgia International Convention Center at 7:00 AM ET

Pre-Summit Programs Sponsored by Reibus, CME Group & Crowe

9:00 – 9:45 AM: Digitization of B2B: E-Commerce Thought Leaders

  • This panel will get together to discuss the massive expansion of B2B sales moving to online transactions. With Amazon projecting over $150 billion of B2B sales annually in 2021 and Grainger already transitioned over $3 billion to online sales, we are seeing a significant shift in B2B buying and selling behaviors with leading service centers now offering full online e-commerce stores for their customers. The panel will discuss current trends across all businesses, the impact of COVID on traditional sales processes, the inevitability of B2B online growth and the opportunities that exist for the steel industry to join the digital industrial revolution by leveraging technology.   
    • John Armstrong, Founder & CEO, Reibus
    • Blake Patton, Managing Partner, Tech Square Ventures
    • Frank Williams, General Manager of E-Commerce, Marketing & Communication, Ryerson

9:45 – 10:00 AM: Break

10:00 – 10:45 AM: Steel Futures Showcase

  • CME Group will present a Steel Futures Showcase this year, focusing on managing the recent volatility in the steel market. This showcase will include a panel of companies that have used the futures market to manage price risk as part of their overall strategy during these turbulent times. They will discuss which price risk management tools are available and how to implement them, as well as cover the forward curve and what it means to you.
    • Moderator: Sean Kessler, Director, Metals Products, CME
    • Marc Gase, Director of Price Risk Management, Worthington Steel
    • Chris Shipp, Vice President of Supply Chain, Priefert Manufacturing/Priefert Steel
    • Jeremy Flack, Founder & CEO, Flack Global Metals

10:45 – 11:00 AM: Break

11:00 – 12:00 Noon: The Future of Tech in Metals: Insights on how technology is changing the industry

  • Crowe’s workshop will present a retrospective on how the steel industry’s views of and investments in technology have changed over the last decade. The panel will discuss specific steel company examples of how technology has transformed operations, customer services, and other critical areas of the business. Crowe’s annual Technology in Metals Survey is a great source of information to learn how your industry peers are planning for and using technology. Panelists will share their perspectives on technology opportunities, risks and lessons learned. 
    • Caitlin Nelson, Principal, Crowe
    • Tony Barnes, Principal, Crowe
    • Arpana Brahmbhatt, Director of Industry Manufacturing at Microsoft

12:00 – 1:00 PM: Lunch in the Georgia International Convention Center

1:00 – 1:30 PM: Official Opening of the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference

  • Host, John Packard, President & CEO, Steel Market Update
  • Host, Michael Cowden, Senior Editor, Steel Market Update

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Keynote: Michael Smerconish, It’s Time to Change the Channel

  • Using the perfect blend of analysis and humor, Michael Smerconish delivers an engaging, thought-provoking, and balanced dialogue on today’s political arena and the long-term implications of the polarization in politics. Smerconish will discuss his experiences (and the experiences of the country) over the past 30 years and how we got to the point we are today. He will provide an excellent 30,000-foot view of the U.S. political system, media involvement in it, and what steps can be taken to move the country forward.
    • Michael Smerconish, Sirius XM Radio Host, CNN television host, author, and public speaker

2:30 – 2:50 PM: Break

2:50 – 3:40 PM: Steel & Commodity Forecasts

  • This year we will have one metals and mining analyst from the financial community, an economist and a steel analyst provide their forecasts for steel, scrap and commodities. This will be a moderated panel with Michael Cowden, the newest member of Steel Market Update team.
    • Timna Tanners, Metals & Mining Analyst, Bank of America
      • We all want to know what is happening with Steelmageddon? This will be our opportunity to hear from Bank of America steel and mining analyst Timna Tanners as she provides her outlook for steel and steel prices into 4Q 2021 and into calendar year 2022 and beyond.
    • Josh Spoores, Principal Analyst, Steel, CRU
      • Josh Spoores will provide his view of the North American steel market and he will provide his forecast for steel prices for the balance 2021 and 2022.
    • John Anton, Director, IHS Markit
      • John Anton has a slightly different take on where he expects steel prices to be later this year and into 2022

3:40 – 4:30 PM: Fireside Chat with Cleveland-Cliffs Chairman, President & CEO Lourenco Goncalves

  • 2020 was a busy year for Cleveland-Cliffs as they went from an iron ore mining company to the largest flat rolled steel mill in North America. Cliffs closed on the AK Steel acquisition in early 2020 and at the end of the year they closed on the purchase of the ArcelorMittal USA operations. The company’s Chief Executive will sit down with John Packard of Steel Market Update to discuss the state of the steel industry today and what the future holds for companies doing business with Cleveland-Cliffs.

4:30 – 6:00 Networking Cocktail Party (GICC)


Tuesday, Aug. 24

Doors Open to the Georgia International Convention Center at 7 AM ET

8:30 – 8:45 AM: Opening Remarks

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

8:45 – 9:35 AM: Is Scrap the Next Precious Metal?

  • We have three great speakers who will discuss the status of the current scrap market and pricing as well as the future of scrap in North America. With EAF steel production growing in North America, understanding scrap supply and scrap pricing is critically important to steel mills and steel buyers alike.
    • Ben Abrams, CEO, Consolidated Scrap
    • Paul Lowrey, President, Steel Research Associates
    • Ryan McKinley, Senior Analyst, CRU
    • Moderator, Michael Cowden, Steel Market Update

9:35 – 9:55 AM: Break

9:55 – 10:35 AM: Fireside Chat, Leon Topalian, President & CEO, Nucor Steel

  • Nucor is the largest steel mill in North America producing long products, plate and sheet. Nucor has been actively expanding existing mills and is building a new state of the art plate mill in Brandenburg, Ky. Mr. Topalian will join SMU’s John Packard on the stage to discuss Nucor’s vision of the steel industry and what the future holds for Nucor customers.

10:35 – 10:55 AM: Break

10:55 – 12:00 Noon: Economic Keynote Address with Dr. Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics

  • Dr. Alan Beaulieu is one of our favorite speakers due to his exceptional speaking style and the quality of the insights he provides to our attendees. Dr. Beaulieu will discuss the current economic situation, inflation, infrastructure spending, and where we are in the economic cycle and what your company should be doing to prepare for what is coming next.

12:00 – 1:10 PM: Lunch at the Georgia International Convention Center

1:10 – 1:50 PM: International Trade After Section 232?

  • The Section 232 tariffs have made a huge impact on both supply and prices of steel in the United States. The Biden administration is negotiating with Europe and may soon eliminate some of the Section 232 tariffs. Once the tariffs are eliminated, then what? We will look at the near-term issues related to Section 232, and then we will take a longer view and discuss what global trade may look like as the world deals with a pandemic, social unrest, politics, and decarbonization. We have two great speakers: Kevin Dempsey of the AISI and trade attorney Lewis Leibowitz.
    • Lewis Leibowitz, Trade Attorney, Offices of Lewis E. Leibowitz
    • Kevin Dempsey, President & CEO, American Iron and Steel Institute
    • Moderated by Michael Cowden, Steel Market Update

1:50 – 2:10 PM: 2021 SMU NexGen Leadership Award

  • We will honor the 2021 winner of the SMU NexGen Leadership Award, which is sponsored by the Steel Manufacturers Association (SMA). Past winners include Meredith Meade of Tempel Steel (2019) and Stephen Sterling of Quality Metal Stamping (2020). This award comes from candidates selected by the companies they work for in recognition of the quality of their work, leadership skills, and innovation in a pandemic setting. This award is for someone who is a rising star within their company and represents the best of the 35-year-old and younger employees within the manufacturing, distribution, toll processing, fabrication, steel mills and trading company segments of the industry.
  • The award will be presented by Phil Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association

2:10 – 2:30 PM: Break

2:30 – 3:20 PM: Industry Forecasts for Automotive and Construction Markets

  • Industry analysts associated with the automotive and construction markets will provide forecasts for what our attendees should expect as we look out to 4Q 2021 and into calendar year 2022.
    • Bernard Swiecki, Center for Automotive Research
    • Ken Simonson, Chief Economist, Associated General Contractors

3:20 – 3:40 PM: Break

3:40 – 4:20 PM: Fireside Chat with Mark Millett, President & CEO, Steel Dynamics

  • Steel Dynamics is another one of the key flat rolled and long products producing steel mills in the United States. SDI will be close to bringing the newest flat rolled steel mill in North America on-line right around the time of our conference. SDI has also recently announced four new coating lines, two to be built in the northern U.S. and two in the South. Mark Millett will provide a status update on the Sinton, Texas, steel mill, what the new coating lines will mean for the industry, along with his views on the current steel environment and what SDI customers can expect from the company in the future.

4:20 – 5:50 PM: Networking Cocktail Party


Wednesday, Aug. 25

Doors open to the Georgia International Convention Center at 7:00 AM ET

8:15 – 8:30 AM: Opening Remarks

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

8:30 – 9:30 AM: Steel Consuming Company Perspective on Steel Industry

  • We will have three manufacturing companies representing different market segments and areas of the country discuss their businesses, how volatility has affected their customers, current and projected future demand, etc.
    • Barry Zekelman, Chairman & CEO, Zekelman Industries
    • Chris Shipp, Vice President Supply Chain, Priefert Manufacturing
    • Other speaker TBA
    • Moderated by Michael Cowden, Steel Market Update

9:30 – 9:50 AM: Break

9:50 – 10:30 AM: Fireside Chat, Cesar Jimenez, CEO, Ternium Mexico

  • We will sit down with Cesar Jimenez, the CEO of Ternium Mexico, to discuss their newly commissioned 4.4-million-ton hot-strip mill, 1.6-million-ton cold-rolling facility, and 830,00 tons of hot-dipped galvanized and 120,000 tons of prepainted steel capacity. How will these tons affect the markets in Mexico and the United States?

10:30 – 10:50 AM: Break

10:50 – 12:00 Noon: The Decarbonization of Steel & Manufacturing Industries

  • Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world in the coming decades. The topic of decarbonization will be discussed during this program: what does it mean, what are Scope 1, 2 and 3, and how do you evaluate your company’s risks? How are the U.S. mills positioned to take advantage of a worldwide move to reduce carbon emissions? What would a carbon border tax potentially mean for U.S. companies?
    • Andrew Lichter, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Development, Mobius Risk Group
    • Phil Bell, President, Steel Manufacturers Association
    • Steven Montague, CEO, Midrex Technologies
    • Lynn Lupori, Head of Consulting, North America, CRU

12:00 – 1:00 PM: Lunch at Georgia International Convention Center

1:00 – 1:40 PM: Electric Vehicles and Steel

  • Most automotive manufacturing companies have indicated their intention to move away from gas vehicles and instead produce only electric vehicles by the year 2030 or 2035 (which is not that far away). What will this mean for the domestic steel industry?
    • John Catterall, Vice President, Electric Vehicle Program, America Iron and Steel Institute

1:40 – 2:20: Why Is It So Difficult to Move Steel – Logistical Issues in 2021 and Beyond

  • Moving steel became more complicated as we worked through issues related to the pandemic, the retirement of baby boomer drivers, strong demand and tight supply. We will discuss trucking issues in detail and what is being done to alleviate bottlenecks and shortages that exist within the industry.
    • Gregg Troian, President, PGT Trucking, Inc.
    • Jeffrey Short, Vice President, American Transportation Research Institute (ATSI)

2:20 – 2:40 PM: Closing of the Conference

Registration Update

Registrations for the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference are approaching 900 executives. You can see a listing of all the companies registered by clicking here.

You can join them and many others by registering for the conference, which you can do by clicking here or you can go to:

Latest in Steel Products