Conference reflects change of fortune--and participation

Jul 01, 2010 | 09:56 AM | David Brooks

Somewhere in the region of 1,000 leaders from all aspects of the steel industry will convene in New York this month for what has become an annual summit of the sector's movers and shakers.

The Steel Success Strategies Conference cosponsored by AMM and World Steel Dynamics celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

Those attending the first event—then labeled Steel Survival Strategies—back in 1986 would have been forgiven if they'd questioned whether there would even be a steel industry in the United States a quarter of a century later. The event's tag line, "Can the major U.S. steel mills survive?" was not simply a marketing tag.

As it happens, one might argue that today, and recession aside, the domestic producers are in pretty good health, though of course many of the nation's mills are now owned or operated by overseas concerns.

It's probably a little conceited to think that the conference had a hand in ensuring the industry's survival, but to peruse reports of that first gathering—back when China was a nothing in terms of steel production and Barry Bonds was still a slender rookie—is to get a pre-taste of what was about to unfold. ....

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