Steel Products Prices North America

SMU Spotlight: Jeremy Flack Talks Life Beyond Hedging

Written by Becca Moczygemba

Finding your passion in life can take time, sacrifice, and dedication. For Jeremy Flack, founder and CEO of Flack Global Metals, it’s been a lifelong journey. 

JeremyFlackOn the heels of the inaugural Risk Initiatives Summit for Executives (RISE) Summit, Steel Market Update sat down with Jeremy for an exclusive interview.  

A lightly edited transcript of the interview is below.

Steel Market Update: How did you get into the steel industry?

Jeremy Flack: By accident. I was finishing business school and went to work for a company called Lawson Steel. I started as a commission-based salesperson. My training consisted of walking through a few processing companies, then I was told to go sell steel. I didn’t even know what commercial-quality meant. So, I bought all the ASTM books with my own money, because I wanted to understand what all the specifications meant. I didn’t know anything, had no industry experience, but I started making phone calls.

SMU: You mentioned that you worked in banking. What’s the correlation between your banking experience and your steel experience?

JF: I worked in banking after college. I was an analyst in the bank’s corporate training program and was tasked with analyzing a new flat-rolled steelmaking technology, the electric arc furnace (EAF) mini mills of Nucor Steel. The bank I worked for was a legacy Pittsburgh financial institution that lent funds to most of the established integrated steel makers in the United States. But the bank was concerned with the disruption that the new technology could have on the market. Our team was tasked with analyzing if the mini mills would be able to make quality sheet steel. We determined that new EAF mills would, in fact, be able to produce higher value-added steel sheet products. The upstart mills would embed value into their steel products by utilizing a different cost structure – using scrap steel instead of iron ore – and implementing new (to the industry) management techniques, including production incentive plans with no unionization.

SMU: You’re very passionate about what you do. Where does your determination come from?

JF: It’s a combination of things. The determination and grit are something I grew into.  I came from a really small town. When I was young, I’d ride my bike to the grocery store and buy magazines about business and things going on in the world. I didn’t know anything. I knew there was this big world out there and I wanted to participate in it, but I just didn’t know what it was. My parents encouraged independence and I wanted to prove myself.  I wanted to have a great place to work. Once I found something I could hold onto and love – and I found that in the steel industry – I wanted to be the best at it. 

SMU: You just hosted the first RISE Summit. How was that and is it something you’d do again?

JF: We are already having requests for next year. We had very strong feedback that RISE was quite valuable to the audience. We will repeat the RISE summit. However, next edition will be spring 2025. It took a year to plan and execute this one. We are not a conference organization. We will do it again but will not sacrifice quality. Therefore, we need time, and some new events to unfold in the marketplace to make the next one relevant. Recruiting and getting commitments from relevant and impactful speakers is the most critical issue.  

SMU: How do you find a good work/life balance?

JF: I have incredible support at home. My wife is committed to our family and supporting me and Flack Global Metals (FGM). Secondly, I know that I only have about six good hours in me a day for work. I divide up my days and weeks to take maximal advantage of when I am on my game. Hours for the sake of hours is not something I have ever been a fan of. I enjoy workouts, meditation, reading, and family time when I’m not working. I also stick closely to my sleep schedule. If I don’t take care of myself, my six hours is in jeopardy. I have found that work happens most effectively in consistent small bites.  

SMU: What are you most proud of?

JF: My family, the victories of the FGM team, and my ability to positively confront and stand up to challenging circumstances and crises without compromising my values or letting any of it bring me down. I am very proud of trying new things, rather than having regrets. 

SMU: What are you looking forward to in the coming year for the company?

JF: Building upon the Fabral business (acquisition), growing the Metal Bank structured transactions, further investments into the OEM space, and seeing the good natural growth and progress of the central FGM distribution operations.  Everything is coming together, it’s happening. We’ve had more volume on the CME, we’re signing people up to trade in our direct trading operation for futures.

SMU: How do you measure success?

JF: I gauge my success beyond money. I look around at the people. The people who have come to work at this company in the last three years are outstanding. People who are very well regarded in their own right, in their own fields, coming here to FGM, wanting to be part of this company, that’s the biggest compliment that I can get.

By Becca Moczygemba,

Becca Moczygemba

Read more from Becca Moczygemba

Latest in Steel Products Prices North America