Steel Products

John Packard to Retire from SMU

Written by John Packard

John Packard the founder of Steel Market Update will be retiring at the end of August 2022. Here is what Packard had to say during his announcement to the SMU customers:

On July 5th I will celebrate the 45th anniversary of when I first joined the steel industry.

I never intended on joining the industry after I left college. It was the love of a woman, and a broken heart that led me to the door of Seymour Waldman and Rolled Steel Corporation in Skokie, Ill., in 1977.

Over my active steel sales career, I was fired – twice – and yet I persevered. I have the honor to say the people who fired me are my friends to this day.

John Packard Summit 18Over the past 45 years, I have been involved in the secondary flat-rolled steel business, toll processing business, prime galvanized service center, steel mill, and trading company business. I started writing Steel Market Update in 2004 to communicate with my steel-buying customers. In 2008, at the age of 57, I concluded that the industry was wanting the kinds of information and data I was able to give, and I started the company.

I sold SMU to CRU four years ago with the understanding that I would, at a time of my choosing, step away from the day-to-day running of the company and ultimately retire.

Over the past two years, I have worked closely with CRU and the SMU team to ensure the newsletter, our conferences, workshops, and our proprietary products would not only continue but prosper once I stepped away. The SMU team led by Michael Cowden has done an exceptional job of keeping the industry entertained, informed, and inspired. The CRU team assisting Michael as well as Brett Linton, Dave Schollaert, Laura Miller, Paige Mayhair, and a soon-to-be-announced new hire coming from the steel industry will continue to develop and grow the SMU brand in the years to come.

Late last year I stepped away from being a full-time employee of SMU/CRU. I opened a consulting company with one client – SMU/CRU. I joined the board of directors of Reibus International. For the past four years, I have sat on the board of trustees for Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn.

At the end of August 2022, I will retire and refocus my energies to charitable work and helping those companies/institutions on whose boards I sit. I will consult with the SMU/CRU events team when needed, and I will play golf, travel, and finish writing a book that I have started for my kids.

Over the next two months, I intend to share some of what I have learned over the past 45 years and why I came to love the steel industry. I will also tell a few tales as to why Steel Market Update has been successful and will continue to be successful.

When I started Steel Market Update 14 years ago, Scott Zivik of Z&M Manufacturing bought one of the first subscriptions while at the same time asking me, “John, what are you going to write about 30 days from now?”

Scott, somehow the words just poured out of me….

I will spare no words to praise all of you for sticking with me over these many decades. I sincerely thank you for allowing me into your work, your homes, and your heart.

I am looking forward to this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference as I will be with my steel family celebrating the industry I have come to cherish for these many years.

I am proud that I have had the opportunity to build something that I anticipate will exist long after I no longer walk on this earth.

If you who wish to reach out to me before the conference, I will be available as I have always been at For those who wish to keep in contact with me after August, I can be reached at My cell phone will remain the same.

John Packard, Founder

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