SMU Steel 101 Workshop – Changing with the Industry

Written by John Packard

Virgin steel is made with iron ore, coke and limestone. It was done that way, and only that way, for many decades. Then along came the “mini” mills. So-called minimills recycle ferrous scrap, mixing it with pig iron or other iron units and melting it down in large electric arc furnaces to produce new steel.

The SMU Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop has been introducing (or re-introducing to experienced managers) the steelmaking process to hundreds of men and women within manufacturers, steel distributors, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors and many companies that service those industries. Nearly 1,000 individuals have gone through our training program, and many of those past attendees have been moving their way up through their organizations to mid-level and upper level management positions.

There are many issues that are critical for anyone new to the industry to understand as well as those who are moving about within an organization. We use our deep pool of experienced instructors to discuss qualities of steel, commodities and their impact on pricing, how steel is bought and sold, understanding global and domestic market fundamentals, identifying risks in the supply chain and many other topics.

Here is the new agenda that will be used for the first time in our October workshop in Cincinnati, and then again in our workshop to be held in Ontario, Calif., on Jan. 7-8, 2020. We will visit Nucor Gallatin in October and California Steel Industries in January as part of the educational process.

Day 1

Welcome and Introduction
Industry Structure
Integrated Steel Making
Electric Arc Furnace Manufacturing
Plate Production
Coil Production
Mill Tour
Cocktail Party and Networking Dinner

Day 2

Mill Review
Steel Qualities & Grades
Long Products
End Applications & Specs
Coil Coated Painting
Commodities and Their Impact on Pricing
Steel Market Fundamentals
How Steel is Bought and Sold
Identifying Risks in the Supply Chain
Interactive Segment – Specifying and Pricing Steel
Markets in Transition
Available Tools & Resources

We have an excellent group of instructors who are experts in their field. We have two metallurgists: Chuck McDaniel and Roger Walburn; one sales expert, Sandy Simon; and one purchasing expert, Mario Briccetti. John Packard–President & CEO of Steel Market Update, himself an industry veteran with 31 years of active sales, purchasing and management experience in the service center, trading company and steel mills segments of the industry–rounds out our strong field of instructors.

I thought the class was amazing and very helpful for someone like me that was new to the market. I appreciated the time each instructor took to ensure every question was answered. I’d love to go to another one next year even if it comes out of my own pocket. A+
      –Chris Burkepile, Kloeckner Metals

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We invite you, and members of your company to attend one of our Steel 101 workshops. The October workshop is sold out (and most do sell out). We have plenty of spots open for the January workshop in California, and we anticipate having four or five Steel 101 workshops during calendar year 2020 spread around the United States.

You can find more details about our Jan. 7-8 workshop in California on our website: or you are welcome to contact us at for more information.

Being new to the steel industry I had so many questions! It is hard to sift through all the information found online and not get overwhelmed, but having this seminar is a good starting point to begin more in-depth searches and ask more intelligent questions.  While you don’t walk out of this seminar as an expert, you do have a really good toolbox to become one in time.  I thank the organizers and will try to get everyone in the company to eventually attend one of this in the future!
Alejandra Bohorquez, Industrial Components of Texas

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