Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

We are moving into another exciting week for the flat rolled steel industry. Ferrous scrap negotiations will begin this week and how they are resolved will determine whether flat rolled steel prices roar higher from here or wander around looking for a soft landing. We will be watching and listening for clues about scrap prices as the week develops.

I will be traveling this week. I am heading for the City of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia) to speak to a small group of executives associated with one of our customers. John Eckstein, one of our Steel 101 instructors, will be joining me to provide a technical view as well as my pricing, market trends view of the flat rolled steel markets. SMU is available to speak to your company or group on a wide variety of topics. If interested you can contact me at or by phone at: 800-432-3475.

At the end of March I will be speaking to the Steel Framing Industry Association in Las Vegas (March 28). On March 8-10 I will attend the Association of Steel Distributors (ASD) and Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA) meetings in New Orleans.

I am getting very excited about the quality of the speakers we are gathering for this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference (August 28-30, 2017 in Atlanta). Every week the agenda firms up as speakers/executives agree to speak on topics of importance to the industry.

About 12 months before the Conference, Ray Culley, Brett Linton and I sit down to discuss the conference that just ended and the suggestions that we got from the attendees as well as from our own people. Many times there are suggestions that require we contact the person making the comments to better understand what they would like for us to accomplish on a specific topic. From there we try to attach names as potential speakers/panelists for the topic. From time to time we eliminate a topic because a specific key speaker was unavailable or because a better option became available.

By the time we reach January we have an idea of what the conference is going to look like. We are working on logistics items, staging (for example this year we will have three screens with one having the speaker or speakers live and the other two showing their presentations), food, sponsorship and exhibitors, advertising and many other technical pieces necessary to host a conference of this size.

The meat of working on gathering speakers begins by late January and will continue for a few months. Every year we invite a couple mill CEO’s to participate (we will not host a conference with a large number of mill CEO’s as the mills are not the primary focus of our attendees). Every year a couple of mills will tell us their CEO is not available (we have set the dates for the next two conferences – August 27, 28, 29, 2018 and August 26, 27, 28, 2019 – mark your calendars and maybe suggest to those mill CEO’s not yet seen at a SMU conference that they may wish to participate).

We continue to receive and respond to suggestions for this year’s program – the key to our conference is being as “cutting edge” as possible and to have people available to discuss events of the day and what buyers and sellers of steel need to be focused on over the coming year(s). If you have suggestions please feel free to contact either Ray Culley ( or myself (

A quick note about our upcoming Steel 101 workshop – we only have a couple of seats left. If you are interested in participating in our Toledo, Ohio conference on April 11-12, 2017 you need to contact our offices (or register on our website) ASAP. You can get more details on our website or by contacting us at: 800-432-3475 or 706-216-2140.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, Publisher

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