CHICAGO Brian D. Robbins, newly elected president of the Association of Steel Distributors (ASD), is looking to promote the relevance of a close-knit trade group in an increasingly technology-oriented world and increase membership during his tenure.
An active member of the ASD board of directors since 2004, Robbins will take the helm during the organizations annual convention in March. He will succeed Lisa Goldenberg, president of Fort Washington, Pa.-based Delaware Steel Co., who was the third generation of her family to serve in the role.
"I am honored to be chosen to lead an organization with such a rich history," said Robbins, chief executive officer of Midwest Materials Inc., Perry, Ohio. "It is humbling to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather, Joseph Koppelman, founder of Midwest Materials ... who served as (ASD) president 45 years ago."
ASD comprises "a very proud, industrious and committed group" whose members have forged strong, long-term business and personal relationships built on trust, Robbins told AMM, noting that his grandfather and Goldenbergs grandfather, Bernard Brownstein, were best friends.
ASD members "easily transact thousands of tons daily" and are knowledgeable about steel products, vendors and customers and serve as valued resources through the supply chain, he said.
As president, Robbins will focus on drawing in new members by touting the advantages of networking and promoting the steel industry. "Its an amazing network that fosters transactions that affect the bottom line and offers guidance in a nonthreatening, noncompetitive way."
This is important when people can send one e-mail that reaches dozens of people who are looking for coil. "Day-to-day transactions are overshadowed by technology sometimes," Robbins said. His grandfather used to drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh every month to look at a mills stock list, then call his salesman to discuss the list and place orders in the rolling schedule.
"So one of my guiding principles is to redefine how to continue the relevance we provide. Relationships go beyond just a transaction. We want to make connections, find commonality and revive the spark of passion for the industry," he said.
Joining Robbins on the executive committee will be Tim Loeffel, vice president of Loeffel Steel Products Inc., Barrington, Ill., as executive vice president; Andrew Gross, president of Alliance Steel LLC, Bedford Park, Ill., as vice president; and Mike Sawyer, vice president of Universal Metals LLC, Toledo, Ohio, as treasurer.