Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

Written by Michael Cowden

Nearly 800 people have registered to attend Steel Summit on Aug. 26-28 at the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) in Atlanta.

You can find more information about the event and the agenda here. Below are a few highlights.

Get ready for Steel Summit!

We’ll have Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of the Sage Policy Group, back to talk about the economy in his always entertaining style. I liked the Tom Cruise theme last year. What will the theme be this time?

Dr. Alan Beaulieu, president and principal of ITR economics, will talk about longer-term trends. I’m curious to learn whether the slowdown we’re seeing now is seasonal, perhaps amplified by election-year uncertainty – and whether the Roaring ’20s will resume in 2025.

Speaking of the election, CNN’s Michael Smerconish will be returning as a keynote speaker to address news and politics from as non-partisan perspective as is possible in our partisan times.

Finally, I’m really looking forward to the first fireside chat of the event with Barry Schneider, president and COO of Steel Dynamics Inc. (SDI).

Schneider was generous to stop by to give a talk to SMU’s Steel 101 class last week before our tour of SDI Butler. He walked through everything the class would see – from hot rolling through to the paint line. And he provided a good overview of SDI’s operations in general.

Fun fact: SDI makes 1/4-mile-long rail sections out of its mill in nearby Columbia City, Ind. (Why that long? Because fewer welds improve safety.) And it uses purpose-built rail cars (and carefully selected routes) to move steel that behaves almost like spaghetti at that length.

We also got a sneak peak at samples of SDI’s new digital printing capabilities. It turns out that you can do a lot more than galvanizing and painting a coil.

Take a look at this cabin. It’s made from wood, right? Think again – that’s steel, with a very convincing finish. (Score a ‘W’ for steel in the battle vs. wood.)

Schneider also talked to the group about decarbonization. Not from a high-level, net-zero 2099 kind of way. But in terms of what mills are doing now to decarbonize. Because there’s a lot more to it than converting BFs to EAFs. EAFs are doing a lot to reduce their already low carbon footprint too.

I’m looking forward to picking up that discussion at Steel Summit.

Hotel options

Speaking of Summit, I’ve heard from some of you that hotels are expensive and hard to come by. There might not be many rooms left in our blocks at the GICC campus.

That said, the GICC is connected to Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson airport. It’s the busiest airport in the world. And there is no shortage of hotels within five minutes of the venue.

Here are a few of them:

Community Chat

The next SMU Community Chat will be Wednesday, June 26, at 11 am ET (10 am CT) with Gary Stein, CEO of Triple-S Steel.

We’ll talk about the market for structurals and trends in construction. We’ll in addition touch on trade policy, government regulation – and maybe even a lesson or two from steel history.

The webinar is free to attend. You can register here.

In the meantime, thanks to all of you for your continued support of SMU!

Michael Cowden

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