The lights on Broadway are dark. Most restaurants are closed. The glittering hotel ballrooms are empty, and the silence in New York City is almost deafening. But despite the lack of a ballroom filled with hundreds of people in festive attire and high spirits, there were shouts of jubilation from at least some of the many participants on the Zoom call that announced the winners of the Fastmarkets Global Awards for Steel Excellence 2020. With the planned June 2020 Global Steel Success Strategies conference moved from an in-person event to a digital conference in October, the awards were presented on July 23 on a call attended by people from around the world.
It is very satisfying that notwithstanding the coronavirus challenge that we can recognize these companies now rather than wait for October and the Steel Success Strategies conference, said Alex Harrison, editorial and pricing director, metals and mining, for Fastmarkets. Awards such as these serve many purposes, not the least of which is to shine a spotlight on companies and people who deserve recognition for their striving to improve. After all, that search to be better or best, and through that to offer better value, lies at the heart of all successful businesses.
The 2020 awards saw 90 finalists, about 70 from the Americas complemented by a strong group of international businesses from across the world. Consequently, this years awards were more global in scope, and new categories sought excellence in automotive suppliers, workforce diversity, ferrous trading, exchange company - ferrous, and production/processors/fabricators.
There were quite a few first-time entrants this year, and their reasons for submitting a nomination varied. For example, for Greg Leidner, chief executive officer, Merfish United, timing was everything. It was an absolute honor to be selected as a finalist for this prestigious award, and to win the Mergers and Acquisitions category sends a truly positive message to our customers, suppliers and our employees on the value of bringing these two storied companies together. From the 100-year history of Merfish Pipe and Supply and the 40-year history of United Pipe & Steel, we created Merfish United, which is already demonstrating results and enormous value for the entire supply chain.
Another first-time entrant was Bull Moose Tube, whose Mark Abernathy said that with the development of the innovative HydroLogic product entering the awards with a new product gave us the opportunity to see if people in the industry think our work is innovative. And as the winner of the Best Innovation - Product category, I guess they do!
Cronimet Envirotec of Germany submitted two entries one each in the Best Innovation - Process and Raw Materials/Consumables categories and won both categories as a first-time entrant. Dr. Filipe Manjolinho Costa, executive director, explains that the firm was looking for validation of its work by a professional, international jury to assess its technology and its innovativeness. Receiving two awards in those categories is a great honor, which shows us that our recycling technology is recognized across borders and industries. Winning these two awards shows us that we are focusing on the right market and customer base with a value-creating recycling service.
And previous entrant and winner Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. said that winning the large service center category for the second year in a row is a meaningful endcap to our 80th anniversary commemoration, said Stephen Koch, senior vice president, operations. This award boosts morale, especially during these unprecedented times. It underscores that Reliance has been doing the right thing. We will continue to do so for the suppliers, customers, employees and communities who rely on us.
In addition to the 2020 award winners, also recognized was John Ferriola as Industry Advocate of the Year. Ferriola, who recently retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Nucor Corp., spent more than 40 years in the U.S. steel industry and was a trusted thought leader for the industry, said Philip K. Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association. Nominations for the 2021 Fastmarkets Global Awards for Steel Excellence will open in October 2020.
To read more about our winners, please click here