Steel Products

2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference – That’s a Wrap!

Written by John Packard

I thought it was important that I provide my take on the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference. It was an enlightening and emotional experience for me. The 1,291 attendees who managed to make their way to Atlanta last week got to enjoy the best steel conference SMU and our CRU parent company have ever put on. They also got to enjoy my sentimental journey as I turned the SMU ship over to Michael Cowden who is its new captain.

Last week’s Steel Summit was the largest affair in the event’s history. We had the most attendees. We had 80% of registered attendees download our new conference App (more on the App in a moment). We had 479 companies attend, also a record.

Except for a few deep breaths and an occasional sip of water while on the stage (those who attended know what I mean) everything ran without a hitch. The opening video was by my estimation a hit, as was what followed.

I think this year’s program – which took a lot of work to put together – was one of the most compelling. We had several presentations that were standing room only, which I took as a testament to the quality of the speakers.

Michael Cowden and David Schollaert did exceptional jobs interviewing speakers and panelists. The conference will be in good hands and will only grow stronger in the years to come.

If you did register and have not yet downloaded the App you may still want to do so. All the presentations are now downloaded in the App. By no later than early next week you will be able to view the recorded presentations in the App as well. The SMU Conference App will remain live for the next three months. If you have any questions about the App, please reach out to

I was on a conference call yesterday morning with the CRU events team and work has already begun for the 2023 SMU Steel Summit Conference. The dates next year will be August 21-23. The website for next year’s event will be up and running (and able to take registrations) before the end of this year. Stay tuned.

Registrations for the Tampa Steel Conference have already begun, and it will be an excellent complement to the SMU Steel Summit Conference. The Tampa Steel Conference is going to be held from February 5-7, 2023, at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel where it has been for many years. The SMU and CRU teams are already working diligently on that conference, and I expect an exceptional program will be in place soon. You can find more details about the Tampa Steel Conference by clicking here. For those of you who may be interested, I will be attending the conference.

Getting back to the 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference. I want to personally thank every speaker/panelist who participated and made this year’s event so successful. Your dedication and devotion to the industry and your businesses are commendable.

This was the first year we employed a bit of “show and tell” as we had an electric semi-truck from Nikola and PGT Trucking at the entrance to the convention center. Our attendees were able to learn more about electric trucks, hydrogen trucks, and Locomation (human-guided autonomous technology).

We also had an electric Porsche inside the facility courtesy of a contest being run by Reibus International. A contest that will continue through September (or so I am being told).

We had three mill CEOs speak this year, each remarkable, and very much different from one another. Lourenco Goncalves of Cleveland-Cliffs, Mark Millett of SDI, and Alan Kestenbaum of Stelco (and part owner of the Atlanta Falcons). I hope you were able to catch all three interviews. If not, you can see them through the App beginning next week. Each was exceptional.

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who registered, sponsored, or exhibited at this year’s (or any of the previous years’) conference. I am extremely grateful for your support of this event.

What makes the SMU Steel Summit Conference so special? I can answer with many stories from this year’s event. I had hundreds of attendees approach me to tell me how much they enjoyed this conference whether it was their first or their 12th. You could feel the positive energy in the crowd as hundreds of executives took the time to introduce themselves to others around them, and relate their stories about the industry. I am quite certain much business was conducted over the course of the few days we were in Atlanta.

There is no conference in North America with the decision-makers that we get at SMU Steel Summit Conference.

I want to recognize the SMU and CRU teams who have supported me throughout.

First, the current SMU team which will continue to build both the conference and the newsletter for decades to come: Michael Cowden (captain), Brett Linton (my first employee at SMU), David Schollaert, Laura Miller, and Becca Moczygemba (don’t ask me to pronounce it…).

Second, the CRU events team led by Nicky Coslett, Jill Waldman, Marlea Stockenberg, Paul Terry, Kieran Proverbs, Sabine Kilgus, Dominic Halahan, and Emma Phillips. All will be back for the 2023 conference.

Third, the management of CRU both here in the US (John Ball) as well as in London. The chairman of CRU, the man who had the foresight to purchase SMU, Robert Perlman, and CEO, David Trafford. And the many others in London and Pittsburgh who allowed me to continue with my vision for the newsletters, conferences, and workshops. It has truly been a collaborative effort that has paid dividends for all parties.

Come join us at the Tampa Steel Conference from February 5-7, 2023, and the 13th SMU Steel Summit Conference on August 21-23, 2023.

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

John Packard, Founder

Latest in Steel Products