2019 Annual Meeting

General Session Topics

Economic Outlook

Are economic indicators beginning to shift? So far, the employment market continues to tighten, and economic growth continues strong. Will rising interest rates have a negative impact? Is it time to relax, or is it time to prepare for the worst? What may affect the economy in the coming year? A steel economist will provide context.


Tariffs and the Wire Industry

What will the impacts of tariffs be in February? Will they continue through 2019? What will that mean for the Steel Wire Industry? How well is the new Product Exclusions website and the Department of Commerce managing exemption requests? It’s a complicated environment to navigate – we’ll discuss the latest.


Political Update

By February, the attention will be turning to the new 116th Congress. We’ll have an expert to brief you on developments, as well as what action to expect from Congress and the administration in 2019. What issues will be on the forefront, and what strategies will AWPA pursue to have an impact on Capitol Hill? We’ll have the details.


Workforce Development

One of the top issues facing the wire industry and manufacturing across the country is finding and keeping workers. As unemployment continues to fall across the country, how are AWPA members developing the future manufacturing workforce? We’ll have a panel discussing methods and techniques that work to create manufacturing workers in your community.


Growth Opportunities, Financing and M&A Trends in Steel Wire and Rod

This session will be a general discussion of the steel wire producer market strengths, weaknesses, trends, trade and general M&A activity.  Speakers will address financing trends in commercial banks, institutional term loan and bond markets, and leveraged loan markets, as well as investor concerns.  Andrew Pappas, Managing Director of BMO Harris Bank NA and Vincent Pappalardo, Managing Director for Brown Gibbons Lang and Company will talk about current economic drivers and trends in M&A, market views on vertical integration and the potential for spinoffs in this sector. Beyond the major international players, what are the opportunities/risks for independent wire producers?  To put the M&A environment for wire producers in current context, they will touch on expectations in key end markets, as well as the ways recent trade action continues to affect supply and demand dynamics.


Rod Market Outlook

The rod market in 2019 presents a unique and challenging environment – representatives from AWPA member companies will provide insight into the supply and demand issues that will affect the industry and your business in 2019. We’ll hear from Jim Kerkvliet with Optimus Steel, Michael Setterdahl with Liberty Steel.