12-2009 From the Editor
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Service Center Survivors All Deserve Recognition
By Tim Triplett, Editor-in-Chief
 
Picking the service center executive of the year is always a challenge because there are many deserving candidates in the industry. Given the dismal economy, no one—not even our honoree Mike Petersen—would say 2009 was his best year.

But then, that depends on how you look at it. Many companies are showing their true mettle at a time when demand for metal is truly at its worst. Petersen Aluminum, the subject of this month’s cover story, is a prime example.

Under Mike Petersen’s leadership, his company has managed to remain profitable despite its focus on the commercial construction market, which is among the weakest of the end-use sectors for steel and aluminum. Over the years, Petersen Aluminum has transformed itself from a conventional service center into a manufacturer and distributor of prefinished metal roofing, wall panels and related building products. Along the way it has created and nurtured the PAC-CLAD brand and made it a common spec for architects and builders. Despite its name, Petersen actually sells more steel today than aluminum. With roots in the Chicago area dating back over 40 years, the company has opened four branches so it can serve the entire country east of the Rockies, and has aspirations of becoming a national enterprise. By expanding his product line and geographic reach during the good times, Petersen spread the risk and gave his company staying power during the bad times.

A self-confessed “serial volunteer,” Petersen also has distinguished himself through the generous contribution of his time and talents to various trade and community groups. In fact, he was instrumental in steering the merger of the former National Association of Aluminum Distributors with the Metals Service Center Institute—a move that has proven beneficial to both organizations’ members.

MCN’s Executive of the Year Award recognizes an industry leader for the sum total of his accomplishments—his career batting average, in other words, not just a recent homerun. Even in a down year, Mike Petersen’s story provides some positive affirmation for MCN readers who continue to believe in the future of the service center industry.

We briefly considered renaming our award for 2009 the Service Center Survivor of the Year, to honor all of the industry executives who continue to persevere under such difficult business conditions. If you rank among them, you are due some recognition, as well. Congratulations to each of you, and best of luck in 2010.

Questions or comments about Metal Center News. E-mail feedback@metalcenternews.com
  
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