Reliance and Nucor CEOs Talk Changing Industry Landscape

Written by Becca Moczygemba

The pressure that comes with being a CEO is not for the faint of heart. With every decision they make, CEOs have to keep in mind what’s best for the company.

Karla Lewis, president and CEO of Reliance Steel & Aluminum, and Leon Topalian, president and CEO of Nucor Corp., sat down with Metal Service Center Institute’s (MSCI) president and CEO Bob Weidner at the joint Steel Manufacturer’s Association (SMA) and MSCI annual conference last week to reflect on what has changed in the industry during their long-term careers in steel.

hand shake“As you reflect upon your time in the steel industry, how has the industry changed?” asked Weidner.

Topalian said there has been significant change within the industry. “Safety has improved. So has our ability to be disruptive,” he said.

Lewis echoed Topalian’s statement of change, noting that everything has evolved. “The industry is more global, more disciplined in its supply chain. There’s also been more consolidation and more technological advancements,” she said.

Regarding advancements in technology, AI has become a hot topic as of late. Lewis and Topalian agreed that there is still a lot to be learned about AI. Both companies want to understand it and see how it can be practical before moving forward with implementation.

But when it comes to implementing environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), it’s second nature, they said.

“We’re in a good ESG position,” said Lewis. “Looking at the environmental aspects, we have electric forklifts, we utilize solar power. Our biggest emissions come from our truck fleet.”

And as the US has a substantial amount of electric-arc furnaces (EAF), there isn’t a need to spend the time and money to convert blast furnaces into EAF mills, said Topalian.

Conversations around the global steel industry never cease. With steel being such a sustainable and versatile material, staying informed is essential. Topalian is the vice chairman of the World Steel Association, and he believes the US has the ability to inform the rest of the world on the work that is being done domestically.

“Understanding what’s happening across the geopolitical landscape has been helpful,” Topalian said.

To hear more from Karla Lewis and Nucor, join us in August at SMU’s Steel Summit. Click here for more information and to register.

By Becca Moczygemba,

Becca Moczygemba

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