Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

This will be my last article prior to the SMU Steel Summit Conference which begins on Monday morning of this coming week.

We are now six days away from the start of the conference. As you can imagine, this is a hectic time for the SMU and CRU events teams. Some of the event’s staff have already traveled to Atlanta, and the balance will be joining them over the next few days. I must go to Minnesota for a meeting of the Hamline University board, and then I head from Minnesota to Atlanta on Saturday for final preparations for the conference.

John Packard Summit 18

The SMU Steel Summit Conference has been, and will continue to be, the go-to event for those associated with the flat-rolled and plate steel industries, or for companies who purchase flat steel products. Our conference is also known for being the best conference to get solid economic information, quality price forecasts, information about decarbonization, electric vehicles, new supply coming on-stream, industry segment forecasts, and much, much more. We promise you will be entertained.

The number one reason why so many executives participate in our conference is for the networking. We are by far the best event to meet decision-makers from a wide swath of the industry—from all the steel mills, distributors, major and minor manufacturers, fabricators, toll processors, and a multitude of companies who are suppliers to those industries.

To have good networking experience you need people. We have got LOTS of executives already registered for this year’s conference.

This SMU Steel Summit Conference will be the largest one we have conducted over the history of the event. At this point, I am not going to disclose where we are in total registrations. I will say we have exceeded even my lofty expectations. You can still join the almost 500 registered companies already registered by clicking here.

Over the past few working days, the following companies have registered executives to attend our conference (those with an * means more than one person has registered from that company): Atlantic Industries Limited, Bradesco BBI, ECCO Heating, Forrest Co, Great Dane, Haas Door*, Harsco Environmental, JD Rush Corp., JIT Warehousing & Logistics, Marmon Rail, Matandy Steel, Metal Alliance*, Metalsa SA de CV, Montrose Advisors LLC, Nance Steel Sales Inc., Norfolk Southern*, NovoHydrogen*, Port NOLA, Raven Cargo*, Samsung C&T*, Southern Railway of British Columbia, Steel Plate Akron*, Steel X, Tatmetal Celik San. ve Tic. A.S., Wellington Steel Supply, Wheeling-Nippon Steel Inc., and Worthington Steel. To register for the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference, click here.

Our Room Block Expires on Wednesday, Aug. 17

We did a quick check of the hotels and found that all the Gateway area hotels (which is where the Georgia International Convention Center is located) are sold out during our conference. This includes the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway, SpringHill Suites, AC Hotel, and the Renaissance. We still have about 30 rooms available in our room block at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel, which is located about one mile from the convention facility. We will have a shuttle running from that hotel to the convention center Monday through Wednesday. You can access our room block special rate by clicking here.

SMU Conference App Has Full List of Attendees

Summit app QR codeFor those of you interested in networking with other attendees you need to download the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference app either to your cell phone or to your laptop computer (or both).

We have a new app for this year’s conference which we feel is an upgrade to our previous app. The app is already live for registered attendees. You can download the app to either your phone or your laptop computer. The app has all the information you will need for the conference including the agenda, speaker bios, and a complete list of registered attendees. You will be able to interact with the attendees through the app. Once the conference has started, other features will go live in the app. This includes live polling, questions/answers for speakers, speaker presentations, and the ability to live stream a presentation should you be out of the conference hall for some reason.

Here is how you can download the app:

>PC/LaptopLogin to the web version of the app on your PC or laptop at to prepare for the conference from your office or home.  (Note: The recommended browser is Chrome)

>Mobile phone: Scan the QR code at left to download the app and take your agenda, appointments, and connections to the event (or search SMU Steel Summit in the app store).


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the dress code for the conference? 

Business casual. We recommend golf/polo shirts with your company logo. This helps facilitate networking when walking the floors of the hotels or convention center. Jackets are not required (although be aware the conference area can be quite cool first thing in the morning). Ties are discouraged (we are in HOTLANTA). You will need to wear your conference badge inside the GICC.

Where is the Georgia International Convention Center located?

The GICC is located right next to the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL). The conference center and Gateway area hotels can be accessed by riding the SKYTRAIN which is located just outside the baggage claim area. The SKYTRAIN goes to the GICC/Gateway Hotels (first stop) and then the rental car area (second stop), and then returns to the airport. The ride is no more than five minutes from the airport station to the GICC/Gateway Hotel stop.

Do I need to rent a car?

No. Everything is contained in the GICC/Gateway Hotel area. For those staying at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel we will be running a shuttle to the GICC and back throughout the conference.

Are there special networking events?

Yes. On Monday, after the fireside chat with Lourenco Goncalves of Cleveland-Cliffs at 4:30 p.m., we will have a special networking/cocktail party in the GICC. At 5:30 p.m. we will host a special networking/cocktail party for those nominated for the 2022 NexGen Leadership Award, as well as for the steering committee and members of the NEXGEN Metals Community. This event will be held at the Marriott Gateway Hotel right next to the GICC (there is a covered walkway between the two buildings).

On Tuesday, we will host another networking/cocktail party at 4:30 p.m. immediately after the fireside chat with Mark Millett of Steel Dynamics Inc.

What about food during the conference?

This year we will host lunch on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We will have light breakfast prior in the morning (pastries, etc.). Dinners are on your own and most people take Lyft/Uber to downtown Atlanta restaurants. Please note the restaurants at the hotels can be overwhelmed at times (breakfast and dinners).

Is there other networking I should be aware of?

Yes. Many executives hang out at either the Marriott Gateway or Renaissance hotel bars in the late afternoon and into the evening from Sunday to Tuesday.

What are the COVID protocols for this year’s conference?

There are no restrictions at this year’s event. However, we will have masks and colored wristbands (as we did last year) for those who do not feel comfortable being approached.

Who do I contact if I have any questions about the conference/hotels/etc.?

When will the “official” opening of the conference be held?

The official opening with our music video will be at 1 p.m. sharp. For those of you who are new to a SMU Steel Summit Conference, come prepared to be entertained as we kick off the start of the official program. We will have three workshops beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday through noon. Check the conference app for more information.

Is this really the last Steel Summit Conference for John Packard?

Yes. I will be retiring from Steel Market Update and CRU on Aug. 31. I will be available throughout the conference for those who wish to speak with me. I do not expect to totally disappear from the industry as I sit on the Board of Directors for Reibus International, and I will remain close to my close friends at SMU and CRU, as well as to many of you who I have worked with and known over the years.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you at this year’s conference.

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

John Packard, Founder


Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.

Final thoughts

We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?