Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

First, I want to commend Michael Cowden for the outstanding Final Thoughts he has been creating for our readers. I also want to thank the SMU team for doing an excellent job over the past few weeks since Tim Triplett retired. We have new people coming soon, but in the meantime Brett Linton and David Schollaert have been doing an exceptional job.

Our days have become extremely hectic as we try to make sense of the market and deal with our daily tasks.

My day consists of dealing with Zoom or Teams meetings on a wide array of topics. Today it was fine tuning the final content and speakers for two of the programs for this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference, speaking to the Introduction to Steel Hedging Workshop, speaking to our NexGen Community steering committee, and working on content for this evening’s issue of the newsletter.

I recently asked several of our readers what was the number one issue affecting their company? The response I got back was focused on one topic, that being problems in locating and keeping employees.

John Packard Summit 18I think many companies are struggling to attract younger people to fill roles within their organizations because their culture does not fit with the lifestyles, wants, and needs of a younger generation of workers. As you look about the industry, you will find there are organizations who have developed an inclusive, tech savvy, well-being focused environments that naturally attract both experienced and younger workers. 

How do you change your culture? I am working on locating a keynote speaker for the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference who can address the importance of culture and how to change the culture of your company. I hope it will be the beginning a dialogue that will benefit both our industry and your organization.

Another way Steel Market Update has been focused on worker issues is through what needs to happen as company’s attempt to attract and then keep new young talent. This was one of the reasons why we began the SMU NexGen Leadership Award four years ago as a way for companies to recognize young talent.

SMU is taking what we learned through the process of developing our Leadership Award. The NexGen Leadership Award community is evolving into a new organization we are calling the NexGen Community. This free organization will focus on those 40 years old and younger who are involved (or wish to be involved) in the greater steel community. The NexGen Community is being created as a way for individuals within the industry to network, mentor, educate, and inspire themselves and others to remain focused on their steel careers and to remain in this industry so many of us love. (By “steel”, I mean any company that is exposed to steel. This includes manufacturing, distribution, production, processing, etc.)

This group continues to evolve, and I am looking forward to being able to bring you more details about it, how to join (membership will be free), events associated with the group, discounts for SMU/CRU events and workshops, and much more. The steering committee is hard at work, and there will be much to share in the coming days and weeks.

As I mentioned, I have been working on the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference quite diligently as we fine-tune our program topics and the speakers who will be associated with each panel or keynote.

Between COVID and the war with Ukraine, international events are creating volatility in steel prices, limiting supply of commodities as well as products (such as computer chips), all of which are impacting both the global and North American steel industries. We have three speakers who will address the global industry and how it has changed over the past few years, as well as how likely it will continue to change over the next few. On Monday afternoon, Aug. 22, Johnny Sjostrom, president of SSAB Specialty Steel; Michael Setterdahl, special advisor to GFG Alliance, and Panos Kotseras, lead analyst for the Steel Group at CRU, will speak on the global reorganization of the steel industry. I will moderated this panel. I am excited about the way this panel has come together, and I think the discussion will be helpful for North American companies as they try to understand what is happening away from our shores – which ultimately impacts North American businesses.

As I share specific pieces of our program, I hope you will recognize the value these speakers will bring to you and your organization. We anticipate 1,200 executives at this year’s conference, and I invite you to join them. You can learn more about our program, speakers, NexGen Leadership Award nomination process, costs to attend the conference, how to book hotel rooms, and how to register by clicking here or going to:

A quick note about hotel rooms: We know the hotels will all sell out during the Aug. 21-24 dates around the conference. (The conference itself is Monday, Aug. 22, with a 9 AM start, through Wednesday, August 24, with an expected end time of 2:30 PM.) We control many of the hotel rooms in our room block. To access the room block, you will need to register for the conference first. After you register, you will receive a link that allows you to access the hotel room block. No outside third party has access to our room block, and you should ignore unsolicited offers to book you rooms for our conference. Right now, there are plenty of rooms available for our attendees. Should you have any questions please contact:

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

John Packard, Founder

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Final thoughts

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.