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The 2nd annual SMU NexGen Leadership Award

Steel Market Update is pleased to announce the 2nd annual SMU NexGen Leadership Award, designed to recognize and celebrate the excellence of emerging leaders within the greater steel community.

Nominee criteria:
  • Candidates for the SMU NexGen Award will be no more than 35 years of age as of August 1, 2020
  • The candidates must work within the greater steel community
  • This includes manufacturing or fabrication companies that utilize mild carbon or automotive grade steels in their products, steel distributors (service centers or wholesalers), steel mills, trading companies or toll processors
  • There is no minimum time within the industry requirement, however the nominee should still be employed by the company recognizing the nominee’s talents 

  • How to nominate someone:
  • Self-nomination and/or nomination by a colleague or peer
  • Nominations must be received by August 1, 2020
  • Nominations can be made by clicking the button below:

    Hear from the 2020 Winner:

    What makes a good nomination?
    Nominations should give clear examples of how the nominee has demonstrated excellence and leadership. All nominations will be judged on the following criteria and only those nominations which give solid examples of the below will be considered "Qualifying Nominations": 


    • Identified ways to improve processes or service delivery
    • Implemented change in a creative manner

    • Inspired and encouraged professional and personal development in self and others
    • Contributed to the success of an initiative that benefited those outside his/her own department
    • Assisted in attracting other young people into the industry

      Rising Star: 
    • Recognized by peers as a positive force within the company
    • Outstanding contributions toward completing a successful project and/or a change management program

    See the 2019 Winning Entry for Meredith Meade of Tempel Steel

     Perks for Nominees:
     All qualifying Nominees will be given complimentary access to the 2020 SMU Steel Summit Virtual Conference

    The Award:
    The NexGen Leadership Award will be bestowed on the candidate whose emerging leadership within his or her company sets a standard for the rest of the industry. The award will include the following:
    • A mentorship day with Chuck Schmitt, President of SSAB Americas
    • Recognition in the Steel Market Update newsletter and SMU/CRU websites
    • Invitation to attend one of the SMU Steel 101 or SMU Steel 201 workshops in late 2020 or during 2021 (no registration fee)
    • An invitation to the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Virtual Conference with registration fees waived
    • A video of the award being presented
    • Recognition in the form of a trophy or plaque which can be proudly displayed on your desk or office area

    Please note:
    • Those on the short list will be notified by August 9, 2020      
    • The award will be judged by a panel of industry leaders and experts selected by Steel Market Update and the CRU Group
    • The winner and finalists will be chosen before the 2020 SMU Steel Summit Conference
    • Judges will be selected by Steel Market Update and the CRU Group and will be announced within the next 30 days 

    For more information on the awards, click here

    The SMU NexGen Leadership Award is sponsored by:


     The SMU NexGen Leadership Award 2019 - sponsored by SMA, recognized and celebrated the excellence of emerging leaders within the greater steel community.

    The recipient of the first SMU NexGen Leadership Award was Meredith Meade at Tempel Steel Company. Ms. Meade was presented her award by Steel Manufacturers Association CEO Philip Bell. SMA sponsored this year’s award, which attracted 21 highly qualified nominees from 18 companies. The finalists for the award were Ms. Meade, Viv Helwig at Vested Metals, and Kristin Boyle at Big River Steel.

    Ms. Meade received a commemorative plaque as well a mentorship day with Steel Dynamics CEO Mark Millett, complimentary attendance at an SMU workshop, complimentary invitation to the 2020 SMU Steel Summit, and wide recognition by SMU, CRU and SMA.

    Meredith Meade is NAFTA Steel Purchasing Manager at Tempel Steel Company. She is a graduate of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis., where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.

    During her 10 years at Tempel, Meredith has demonstrated a unique ability to develop supplier relationships, successfully implement change, manage information systems, apply automation to improve workflow and mentor others. As a result of her supply chain savviness, Meredith’s efforts in the last year alone have resulted in roughly $3 million in annual cost savings, and contributed to nearly $50 million in new business revenue for the company in Canada and Mexico. The new business has directly resulted in expanding the manufacturing space at Tempel Burlington (Canada) along with hiring 75 additional employees to accommodate the new demand. It has also supported Tempel’s creation of a new Automotive Focus Factory in Tempel de Mexico that will focus on complex electric vehicle and hybrid laminations, which will open later this year. She is also a member of the Association of Women in the Metals Industry.

    The judging panel responsible for the selection of an award winner from the outstanding group of nominees included Philip Bell, Steel Manufacturers Association; Jack Bellissimo, Hubbel, Inc.; Edward Lehner, Ryerson Holding Corp.; and Lenore Trammel, Big River Steel.

    Congratulations to the finalists:

    Kristin Boyle nominated by Big River Steel
     – “…Since Ms. Boyle joined BRS, she has quickly moved up the leadership ranks due to her willingness to cultivate change in a rapidly evolving company....” 

    Viv Helwig nominated by Vested Metals
     – “…I started Vested Metals International, LLC, in 2014 and have since grown it from a one-person brokerage to a multi-million dollar thriving entity….” 

    Congratulations to all nominees for being selected as outstanding leaders at their companies.

    -   Alliance Steel LLC--Drew Gross
    -   Big River Steel--Kristin Boyle
    -   Chemcoaters, LLC--Brit Capizzano
    -   Conklin Metal Industries--Austin Adams
    -   Eagle Steel & Metal Products--Stuart Ray
    -   Imperial Manufacturing Group--Patrick Magee
    -   Jemison Metals--Sam Curtis, Jeffrey Heinke, Wes Kaigler                           
    -   KW Industries, Inc.--Brian Frye
    -   Leeco Steel--Matt Niemeyer, Andy Polka
    -   Magic Steel--Sadie Kelosky
    -   Metalwest--Eric Daniel
    -   Mitsui & Co. (USA), Inc.--Ted Van Dorn
    -   Pacesetter--Kathleen Cox, Lauren Bryson
    -   Sormak Mine Company--Shayan Khakmardan  
    -   Steel Spectrum--Farhaz Jassani   
    -   Tempel Steel Company--Meredith Meade
    -   Vested Metals International--Viv Helwig
    -   Windsor Door Manufacturing--Harrison Ferrel


     Award Sponsored by:  

     For more information about the award, please click here