General Information

2018 MSCI Economic Summit
Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
Schaumburg, Illinois
August 20-21, 2018

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Questions or Assistance

For questions or assistance, contact:

Rose Manfredini
Vice President, Membership & Events
(847) 485-3008 – rmanfredini@msci.org

2017 Schedule

Monday, September 18, 2017

Registration Desk Open

9:00 AM – 6:30 PM

Flat Rolled Council Meeting

9:00 – 11:00 AM


11:15 AM – NOON

Outlook 2018: North America and Beyond

12:15 – 1:15 PM

BMO Capital Market’s U.S expert offers a unique perspective on the economies of the United States, Canada, Mexico and key global players at a time of uncertainty on trade, tax and other policies affecting the entire global industrial metals supply chain.

Michael Gregory, managing director, deputy chief economist & head of U.S. economics, BMO Capital Markets

Refreshment Break

1:15 – 1:45 PM

Insight From the Front Lines: Top Industry Leaders Talk About Today’s Most Pressing Challenges

1:45 – 2:45 PM

A dynamic panel of perceptive executives from big and small metals companies looks at the positives and negatives of doing business today and how they manage effectively. There will be plenty of time for your questions.

Moderator: M. Robert Weidner, III, president & CEO, MSCI

  • Ladd R. Hall, executive vice president, Nucor Corporation
  • Keith A. Harvey, president and chief operating officer, Kaiser Aluminum
  • Richard T. Marabito, chief financial officer, Olympic Steel
  • Michael F. Petersen, chief executive officer, Petersen Aluminum Corporation

Refreshment Break

2:45 – 3:15 PM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions I

3:15 – 4:15 PM

  • Commercial Construction Investment Outlook
    Outlook for commercial real estate & power generation projects
    Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America
  • Appliances
    Forecast for home appliances
    Evan Barrington, Ph.D., vice president, economic analysis and forecasting, The Stevenson Company
  • Renewable Energy
    Outlook and trends for geothermal, wind, solar, and biofuels
    Katie Archer, director, Keybridge Research
    Alex Chausovsky, consultant, ITR Economics
  • Aerospace
    Expected changes for commercial, defense and private aircraft
    Richard Aboulafia, vice president, analysis, Teal Group Corporation

Concurrent Breakout Sessions II

4:30 – 5:30 PM

  • Infrastructure
    Outlook for federal and large-scale private projects in roads, bridges, ports and high speed trains
    Kenneth D. Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America
  • Fossil Fuels
    Outlook for oil, natural gas and fracking
    Loren C. Scott Ph.D., president, Loren C. Scott & Associates, Inc.
  • Residential Construction
    Outlook for the housing market. Learn how builders’ sentiment and consumer confidence are impacting housing starts.
    Stephen Melman, J.D., director of economic services, National Association of Home Builders
  • Shipbuilding & Barge
    Expectations for fishing boats, cargo ships & barges
    Alex Chausovsky, consultant, ITR Economics

Receptions by Product Division

5:45 – 6:30 PM

  • Aluminum
  • Bar Products
  • Flat Rolled
  • Next Generation Leaders
  • Plates & Shapes
  • Specialty Metals
  • Tubular Metals

Dinner with Entertainment

6:30 – 8:30 PM

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Registration Desk Open

7:00 AM – NOON


7:00 – 7:30 AM

The Future of Manufacturing: AI and Nanotechnology

7:30 – 8:30 AM

Jacobstein explores innovation, disruption, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology. He offers a glimpse into the future of technology impacting a variety of industries, including manufacturing.

Neil Jacobstein, chairman, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at Singularity University and AI technical consultant to many Global 1000 businesses and Government organizations

Refreshment Break

8:30 – 9:00 AM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions III

9:00 – 10:00 AM

  • Agricultural Equipment
    Expected demand for farming equipment and trends in food consumption
    Ann Duignan, U.S. machinery analyst, managing director, J.P. Morgan.
  • Truck & Trailer
    Outlook for truck and truck/trailer
    Eric Starks, CEO & chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence
  • Defense
    Forecast for U.S. Navy, U.S. Airforce, U.S. Army procurement and federal spending
    Bill Edgar, Managing Director at Govini
  • Automotive Tier 2 & Tier 3
    Hear the outlook for automotive after-market parts
    Shane Norton, director, consulting, IHS Markit

Refreshment Break

10:00 – 10:30 AM

Concurrent Breakout Sessions IV

10:30 – 11:30 AM

  • Heavy Equipment
    Outlook for agricultural, construction, industrial machinery, mining equipment and heavy truck manufacturing
    Don Johnson, Ph.D., former chief economist, Caterpillar
  • Automotive & Light Truck
    The complete outlook for North American automotive and light truck output
    Michael Robinet, director, global production forecasts, IHS Automotive
  • Rail
    Outlook for rail cars and rail infrastructure
    Eric Starks, CEO & chairman, FTR Transportation Intelligence
  • Foodservice, Food Processing, and Medical Equipment
    Outlook for foodservice, food processing, and medical equipment
    John Anton, ferrous metals industry analyst,  IHS Pricing and Purchasing Service

Council Meetings*

NOON – 2:30 PM

  • Affiliate Committee
  • Budget and Audit Committee
  • Bar Products Division Council
  • Plates & Shapes Council
  • Specialty Metals Council
  • Tubular Products Council

*Closed to council members only

2017 Speakers


Michael Gregory

Michael Gregory is Deputy Chief Economist and Head of U.S. Economics for BMO Capital Markets. He manages the team responsible for forecasting and analyzing the North American economy and financial markets.

Michael began his career in economics with Royal Bank of Canada in Montreal in the mid-1980s, before moving to Toronto to work in RBC’s foreign exchange and money market research group. He eventually moved further along the yield curve and across the border, joining the fixed income strategy group at Lehman Brothers in New York City in the mid-1990s. Returning to Canada at the end of 2001, Michael headed up the Financial Services Analysis team at Bank of Montreal, focusing on regulatory and industry restructuring issues, before shifting to BMO Capital Markets Economics in 2004. He moved to Chicago in late 2013, providing research support for the U.S. and Canadian fixed income business and working with the Global Fixed Income Strategy team, before returning to Toronto last year.

Michael is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal and the University of Western Ontario in London. Michael also did doctoral studies at Fordham University in New York City. He holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Ladd R. Hall

Ladd R. Hall has been Executive Vice President of Flat-rolled Products at Nucor Corporation since September 10, 2007, and served as its Executive Vice President since September 2007. He started in the steelmaker’s marketing department near his hometown in Utah in 1981. Hall graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Marketing and a minor in Japanese. He serves as an Associate Director of MSCI.

Keith A. Harvey

Keith Harvey is President and Chief Operating Officer of Kaiser Aluminum.  Harvey served as Executive Vice President -Fabricated Products since June 2014 and was named to his current position December 2015. Harvey joined Kaiser in 1981 as an industrial engineer at the company’s rolling mill in West Virginia. He subsequently held increasingly responsible positions in engineering and sales at several Kaiser locations and was named a Vice President in 1994. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.

Neil Jacobstein

Neil Jacobstein chairs the Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Track at Singularity University on the NASA Research Park campus in Mountain View California. Neil is a former President of Singularity University. Jacobstein is a Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Stanford University Media X Program, where his research focuses on augmented decision systems. He Chaired AAAI’s 17th Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence Conference, and continues to review technical papers for IAAI. In 2016, he became a founding member of the editorial board of AAAS Science Robotics. Neil has served as a technical consultant on AI research and development projects for: DARPA, NSF, NASA, NIH, EPA, DOE, the U.S. Army and Air Force, GM, Ford, Boeing, Applied Materials, NIST, and other agencies. He was CEO of Teknowledge Corporation, a pioneering AI company, where he worked on AI applications systems for industry and government. He worked as a graduate research intern in Alan Kay’s Learning Research Group at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and was a consultant in PARC’s Software Concepts Group. Jacobstein is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He has moderated Aspen Institute Socrates Programs on the technical and ethical implications of advanced technologies, and he coaches Socrates moderators. Neil is deeply interdisciplinary, and has a keen sense of how the arts and sciences can integrate. Since 1992, he has served as Chairman of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, a 501c3 nanotechnology R&D organization. Jacobstein contributed to the 2005 National Academy of Sciences workshop on the feasibility of molecular manufacturing, and the 2007 Foresight Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems. He is the primary author of the Foresight Guidelines for the responsible development of nanotechnology. He has given invited talks worldwide on the technical, business, and ethical implications of exponential technologies, such as AI, robotics, and atomically precise manufacturing. He is a member of AAAS, AAAI, IEEE, and ACM. Neil has served in a variety of executive and technical advisory roles for industry, nonprofit, and government organizations.  He received his BS in Environmental Sciences, Summa cum Laude from the University of Wisconsin, and an MS in Community Health Sciences and Human Ecology from the University of Texas, in conjunction with NASA’s Environmental Physiology Simulation Program.

Richard T. Marabito

Richard T. Marabito serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Olympic Steel, Inc. He joined Olympic Steel in 1994 as Corporate Controller and served in this capacity until being named Chief Financial Officer in March 2000. He also served as Treasurer from 1994 through 2002 and again from 2010 through 2012. Prior to joining the company. Marabito served as Corporate Controller for a publicly traded wholesale distribution company and was employed by a national accounting firm in its audit department. Marabito is a Governance board member and past Treasurer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana and also serves as the Chair of its Northeast Ohio regional board. He previously served as a board member and the Audit Committee Chair for Hawk Corporation. Mr. Marabito serves on the Board of Trustees and was a past Treasurer for Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also vice chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metals Service Center Institute and is a past Chair of its Foundation for Education and Research.

Dennis M. Oates

Dennis M. Oates is chairman, president and CEO of Universal Stainless & Alloy Products, Inc. He was named Chairman of the Board in 2010 and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since January 2008. Oates joined the Board of Directors of Universal in 2007. Oates served as Senior Vice President of the Specialty Alloys Operations of Carpenter Technology Corporation from 2003 to 2007. In 2002, Oates was the Senior Vice President of Engineered Products Operations for Carpenter.

Oates began his career in the metals industry in 1974 at Lukens Inc. in Coatesville, Pa., where he progressed through positions of increasing responsibility before being named President and Chief Operating Officer of Lukens’ General Industries Group in 1988. In 1991, he was appointed Senior Vice President of Lukens Inc. and President and Chief Operating Officer of Lukens Steel Company. From 1997 through 2002, Oates was President and Chief Executive of TW Metals. Prior to forming TW Metals, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Boston-based Connell Limited Partnership (CLP) from 1995 to 1997.

Oates was named Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 by Ernst & Young and received the 2014 Sustainability Award from Smart Business Magazinein recognition his role in building a 21st century specialty metals manufacturing company. He is a past Chairman of the North American Specialty Metals Council and previously served on the Boards of Directors of the Steel Manufacturers Association and the American Iron and Steel Institute. He currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Specialty Steel Industry of North America and as a Director on the Metals Service Center Institute Board. Oates holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Temple University.

Michael F. Petersen

Michael F. Petersen graduated from Colgate University in 1977 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History. He began his career with Petersen Aluminum Corporation, a family-owned metal distributor based in suburban Chicago, in 1977. He was named President of the company in 1987. Petersen Aluminum Corporation remains a privately held distribution business with processing plants located in Chicago, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia and Maryland. The company’s primary markets are for industrial and architectural applications of aluminum, galvanized and stainless steel.

Michael is a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Metals Service Center Institute.  He served as President of the National Association of Aluminum Distributors from 1997 through 1999 and was on the NAAD Board since 1991. During that time he also served as a member of the steering committee of the Aluminum Association. In addition, Mr. Petersen was Board President of the Good News Community Kitchen, serving over 55,000 meals annually to the impoverished in Chicago’s Rogers Park community.

Breakout Speakers

Richard Aboulafia

Richard Aboulafia is vice president of analysis at Teal Group and manages consulting projects for clients in the commercial and military aircraft field and has advised numerous companies, including most prime and many second-and third-tier contractors.  Aboulafia writes and edits Teal’s World Military and Civil Aircraft Briefing, a forecast tool covering over 135 aircraft programs and markets. He also writes publicly about the aviation field and military defense including Military Technology, Naval Forces, Military Simulation and Training and has a regular column in AIAA’s Aerospace America. He is frequently cited as an aviation industry authority by trade and news publications.  Before joining Teal Group, Aboulafia analyzed the jet engine market at Jane’s Information Group, served as an aerospace industry consultant for an international trade advisory company and supported research projects at the Brookings Institution. Richard earned a master’s degree in war studies from the University of London and a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University.

Katie Archer

Katie Archer is a Director at Keybridge. She specializes in energy and environmental policy, economic and regulatory impact analysis, and data management and analytics. Ms. Archer has worked at Keybridge since 2009. Before starting with Keybridge, she worked for a public affairs firm in Washington, DC.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Studies and Economics from Rhodes College, and a Master’s degree in International Relations and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, with Honors.

Evan Barrington

Evan Barrington is Vice President of Economic Analysis and Forecasting for The Stephenson Company.  Dr. Barrington works with a diverse set of clients in various durable goods industries, including appliances, transportation, consumer durables, and housing. He has over thirty years of experience in forecasting and industry analysis. He was formerly the Manager of Regional Forecasting and Analysis for GE Appliances, where he was responsible for analyzing the appliance and housing industries. Earlier in his career, he was a managing economist at Data Resources, Inc., where his work focused on consumer spending and demographics. Dr. Barrington earned his Ph.D in Economics at MIT and his undergraduate degree at Brigham Young University. Dr. Barrington has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Kentucky Economics Association, is a former Board Member of the National Association for Business Economics, and is a member of the National Business Economic Issues Council. He currently serves as Chairman of the Business Data Council of AHAM.

Alex Chausovsky

Alex Chausovsky is a highly experienced market researcher and analyst with more than a decade of expertise in subjects that include macroeconomics, industrial manufacturing, energy efficiency, automation and advanced technology trends. He has consulted and advised companies throughout the US, Europe, Brazil, China and Japan for the last fifteen years. Alex is currently responsible for providing reliable industry and company forecasts, presentations, webinars, and economic consulting services to small businesses, trade associations, and Fortune 500 companies across a spectrum of industries. In his prior role, Alex led a group of analysts covering the industrial manufacturing domain. He was also the lead analyst for 3D printing at a major international firm. Alex regularly delivers keynote addresses at leading industry conferences and association events, and his research has been featured in major industry trade publications and magazines such as the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared in interviews on NPR and the BBC. Alex takes part in more than 50 speaking engagements each year, and his presentations have helped thousands of business owners and executives capitalize on emerging trends.

Ann Duignan

Ann Duignan is a managing director at J.P. Morgan, covering the U.S. machinery sector. Ann has ranked # 1 and/or # 2 in Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team survey and the Greenwich Poll for over a decade.  Ann joined J.P. Morgan from Bear Stearns, where she was the diversified industrials analyst for five years.
Prior to that, she worked at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. as the capital goods analyst. In her five years with Eaton Corporation, she held positions in the Aerospace Controls Division as vice president and general manager, in the Truck Components Division as a business development and strategy director, and at corporate as manager of business development. She also spent two years with management consultant Booz & Company and a number of years in the automotive supply industry.
Ann holds an honors degree in agricultural engineering from University College Dublin Ireland, a higher diploma in mathematical modeling and computer simulation from Trinity College Dublin Ireland, and an M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN.

Bill Edgar

Bill Edgar is a Partner-level Professional Services leader at Govini, the leading business intelligence platform for companies that sell to the public sector, the firms who invest in them, and the government agencies that procure goods and services from the private sector. As Managing Director, Bill leads Enterprise Professional Services across Govini’s Aerospace and Defense (A&D) client portfolios in the Federal and commercial sectors.

Most recently, Bill was Vice President for Analytics and Commercial Markets at JANSON Communications, where he led JANSON’s organic industrial base market development initiatives. In that capacity he advised and coordinated the development of domestic and international business development through industrial partnerships across the US Army’s organic industrial base. He also provided business development and market strategy training to the US Army’s manufacturing leaders.

Bill’s previous experience includes leadership positions at IHSMarkit (Jane’s), Booz Allen Hamilton, and SAIC. Bill also advises corporate, product, and market development strategies for several start-up and early-stage businesses providing AI, economic analytics, and data visualization solutions. Over his career, Bill has led, and advised, on more than 100 market growth studies for international government and corporate A&D clients. Bill has conducted numerous international presentations and interviews on national security and defense industrial issues, and has provided expert testimony to the US Congress.

Don Johnson, Ph.D.

Don Johnson retired from Caterpillar Inc. in late 2014 and consults part-time on economic issues through his company, Precision Economics Inc. He focuses mostly on the U.S. and European economies. His Caterpillar career encompassed 43 years, the last 11 as Chief Economist. Most of his career was spent in Economics or Treasury. His experiences included following most major economies in the world, forecasting demand for construction equipment and analyzing exchange rate issues.  Don has a Ph.D. in economics from Iowa State University. His economic interests are macroeconomics and international economics.

Stephen Melman, J.D.

Stephen Melman, J.D., is Director of Economic Services at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Melman is a spokesman for NAHB’s forecast of new housing trends and the analysis of the home building industry. He has published numerous research articles on topics including industry structure and publicly traded builders. Before taking his current position, Melman was responsible for NAHB’s multifamily and federal housing program initiatives. Prior to NAHB, Melman was an Appeals Officer for the U.S. Civil Service Commission in Washington, D.C. He is a former president of Sinai House, a nonprofit that provides transitional housing for Washington homeless families. Melman earned a J.D. from St. Louis University School of Law, a Masters in City and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, and a B.A. in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis.

Shane Norton

Shane Norton is a director within the consulting division of IHS Markit and is responsible for managing IHS Markit consulting engagements across a variety of industries including automotive, automotive aftermarket, manufacturing, aerospace & defense and others. Norton has been with IHS Markit and predecessor companies since 2001, working within the Automotive Markets Division prior to moving to the Economics and Country Risk Consulting Group. He currently manages IHS Markit’s automotive aftermarket forecast, which is sponsored by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Auto Care Association and is utilized with the Auto Care annual Factbook.

Michael Robinet

Michael Robinet was promoted to managing director in the IHS Global Insights Automotive Consulting practice in November 2011. From March 2010 until late 2011, Robinet served as the director of Global Vehicle Production Forecasts for IHS Automotive. Before the purchase of CSM Worldwide by IHS in 2010, Robinet was vice president, Global Vehicle Forecasts since 1996. In his role as a managing director in the global consulting practice, Robinet will use his experience as a leader and innovator in global production forecasting, tracking future product programs (FPPs), analyzing sourcing and production strategies to serve OEM, supplier and government entities throughout the global industry. Robinet has over two decades of experience in automotive forecasting, strategic analysis and manufacturing finance. Prior to joining CSM Worldwide, he worked at various research companies and was schooled in finance at a major Tier 1 supplier. He has been widely quoted by worldwide print, radio and TV media on a variety of industry topics.

Loren C. Scott, Ph.D.

Dr. Scott is the President of Loren C. Scott & Associates, Inc., a 35-year old economic consulting firm whose clients include such large national firms as BellSouth, Capital One Financial, Entergy, ExxonMobil, J.P. Morgan Chase, and a diversity of others. He is one of the 32-member National Business Economic Issues Council (NBEIC), which meets quarterly to discuss issues of state, national, and international interest. This group has experts who cover international trade, Washington economic policy, retail trade, trucking, steel, chemicals, etc. Dr. Scott is an energy specialist on the NBEIC. He has been interviewed on CNBC, MSNBC, and Bloomberg TV, in addition to several local TV stations, and his work has been cited in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the New York TimesUSA Today, and the Financial Times, to name a few. His career started at Louisiana State University (LSU) in 1969 where he spent the next 35 years, rising through the ranks from assistant professor to the prestigious Freeport McMoran Endowed Chair of Economics and the Director of the Division of Economic Development and Forecasting. Over the thirteen-year period from 1983-1996, he was the chairman of the Economics Department at LSU. During that time, the Department’s ranking among the 3,000 economics departments in the U.S. rose from 101st to 38th. He is presently Professor Emeritus at LSU. He received seven awards at LSU for outstanding classroom teaching.

Kenneth D. Simonson

Ken Simonson is the Chief Economist at the Associated General Contractors of American. He joined AGC of America in September 2001. Ken’s weekly one-page email newsletter for AGC, The Data DIGest, provides 8000 readers with the latest economic news relevant to construction. He also sends out a variety of state-specific information. He is interviewed and quoted almost daily by local and national media, including The Wall Street JournalUSA Today, Business Week, andCNBC. In addition, he has written eight booklets explaining tax provisions in plain English, and he contributes frequently to a variety of business and professional publications and conferences.

Ken has 35 years of experience analyzing, advocating and communicating about economic and tax issues. Before joining AGC, he was senior economic advisor in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Earlier, he was vice president and chief economist for the American Trucking Associations. He also worked with the President’s Commission on Industrial Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, and an economic consulting firm.
Ken was appointed to the Blue Ribbon Panel of experts advising the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission. Ken is a board member of the National Tax Association and the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and is author of “Digging into Construction Data,” published in NABE’s journal, Business Economics. Since 1982, he has co-chaired the Tax Economists Forum, a professional meeting group he co-founded for leading researchers and policy makers among tax economists. He is vice president of Community Tax Aid, an organization that prepares returns for free for low-income taxpayers. Ken has a BA in economics from the University of Chicago, an MA in economics from Northwestern University, and has taken advanced graduate economics courses at the Université de Paris, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown.

Eric Starks

Eric Starks is CEO and chairman of FTR, Freight Transportation Intelligence, an industry leader in freight transportation forecasting. Eric has spent his entire career in the freight transportation sector and is a leading researcher in freight modal share analysis and forecasting.  His background includes research in both rail and truck freight movements and asset equipment purchases.  He is currently one of the premier Industry forecasters on transportation equipment demand for rail cars, commercial trucks and trailers. Starks is an active member of the transportation community and holds a position on the Board of Directors for the National Industrial Transportation League.  Eric holds a BS in Finance from Indiana University.