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COMMENT: AMM Awards for Steel Excellence reflect winning ways

Keywords: Tags  John Ambrosia

This is an exciting time at AMM. We’re just weeks away from announcing the winners in the second Awards for Steel Excellence program.

With the day-to-day realities of competition, regulation, amorphous markets and rising fuel and raw material costs, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the achievements of individuals and enterprises that are carving out the future of the industry.

Pressures are tremendous on company leaders this year, this quarter, this month. But without those who also manage to keep an eye on what’s coming down the road, the steel industry would not be able to innovate, compete and thrive in an ever-changing and difficult global environment. This is why we seek to recognize such creative and visionary thinking and work in our annual Awards for Steel Excellence.

As last year, we received many outstanding nominations. This year, we will hand out awards in the following categories:

• Best Brownfield Technology Project

• Best Greenfield Technology Project

• Best Innovation: Product

• Best Innovation: Process

• Best Mergers & Acquisitions

• Best Operational Improvements

• Environmental Responsibility/Stewardship

• Industry Ambassador/Advocate of the Year

• Logistics/Transportation Provider of the Year

• Scrap Company of the Year

• Service Center of the Year

• Steel Producer of the Year

A panel of independent industry experts reviewed the large number of nominations before we ended up with 35 finalists (including a handful added by our editors) in the 12 categories (see page 24). The next step is for a panel of five distinguished judges to choose the winner in each category before we announce the final results June 21 at a dinner during our Steel Success Strategies XXVI Conference in New York.

Last year’s awards ceremony was a smashing success. For the first time ever, awards were given to recognize advancements rooted in pioneering and implementing business improvements that delivered real change to the steel industry. We gave awards to a total of nine companies and two individuals.

AMM congratulates last year’s winners and this year’s nominees. Reviewing those two lists, several common traits among the winners and nominees stand out:

• They listen to their customers. Whether it was to develop a new process, expand or build a plant, send a new product to market or improve service, these leaders were responsive to the needs of existing or potential customers.

• They know their communities. Some communities are gung-ho for growth, while others are more reticent because of environmental or local economic concerns. But successful businesses take all of that into account and try to accommodate those needs as much as possible—after all, they’re going to be in the neighborhood for years or decades, and it’s not only good citizenship but also good business practice.

• They are decisive. Sometimes making a move calls for an investment of money, manpower or other resources. Sometimes it means taking a big risk. Either way, the companies and people on our lists had the vision to move forward when they believed they were doing the right thing for the company’s future.

• They seek their markets. To be able to successfully meet existing market demand is its own skill. But to be able to detect where the market is going or find an unexploited niche in existing circumstances is an even more special skill. Many of our recipients and nominees possess this trait.

• They make investments: Whether in money, equipment, manpower or other areas, leaders who succeed aren’t afraid to spend a little to make a little. Without this, many tremendous ideas would be left on the drafting table and the industry as a whole would become stagnant.

If you haven’t already made plans to be at the Steel Success Strategies XXVI Conference June 20-22, and the awards dinner June 21, there is still time to do so.

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