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It’s time for the titans of the steel industry to get their due


In the cut and thrust of the modern steel industry, it's all too easy to forget to recognize the achievements of individuals and enterprises that have helped drive the industry forward.

Modern markets demand a focus on short-term results, and sometimes recognition of what might be lasting contributions is worryingly momentary. That's one reason why it was such a pleasure recently to help present the first AMM Awards for Steel Excellence.

There were some truly outstanding nominations for the array of awards, and it seemed long overdue that the industry should recognize its finest achievements and achievers. As Tom Graham notes in his column this month (page 74), the tributes to former Nucor Corp. chief executive officer Ken Iverson, AMM's Titan of Steel, were particularly touching. The contribution of Iverson is a prime example of steel industry heritage that we must work hard to preserve.

With that in mind, AMM is pleased to announce that it is launching the AMM Steel Hall of Fame. As far as we know, this will be the first institution of its kind for the industry, joining baseball, football and rock and roll, among others, in giving proper recognition to its greatest contributors. Initially, at least, the Hall of Fame will be a virtual one, with the inaugural inductees recognized during the presentation ceremony for next year's AMM Awards for Steel Excellence.

Over the next several months, AMM will call for nominations to the Hall of Fame and you will be able to make your suggestions either online or at the AMM booth at any one of a number of industry events, starting with AMM's Steel Raw Materials Strategies Conference in Minneapolis Sept. 28-29 and Scrap and Scrap Substitutes Conference in Philadelphia Oct. 19-20. A highly qualified panel will make the final selection of the first inductees.

Personally, I'm intrigued to see who makes the cut. One would think that some names are slam dunks surely Andrew Carnegie can expect "the call to the Hall." But what about some of his fellow founding fathers of the U.S. industry? Will Charles Schwab, Henry Clay Frick, J.P. Morgan, Elbert Gary and William Henry "Judge" Moore make the cut?

AMM's Hall of Fame will not be limited to people who made their careers in the United States, so there should be strong contenders from Europe and Japan. German pioneers like Friedrich and Alfred Krupp and members of the Thyssen family must come into consideration, while there also are worthy contenders from other historical steelmaking powers such as France, Luxembourg, Spain and the United Kingdom.

One Brit who must be a strong contender is Henry Bessemer, whose process revolutionized steelmaking. There will doubtless be other champions of technology to consider. From the early pioneers to modern-day metallurgists, technologists have always been the heartbeat of the industry and a major reason why steel remains as relevant today as it was in Carnegie's time.

But the Hall of Fame need not be only for those long since past. Unlike other Halls of Fame, AMM does not insist that a candidate be deceased or retired to be eligible. Has anyone had a greater impact on the steel industry in the past 50 years, for example, than Lakshmi N. Mittal?

There will surely be much debate as the candidates are whittled down to form the initial class. I invite your participation in the process and look forward to the results.

Senior vice president and publisher

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