Q&A with Jeff Simons, President and CEO, Metalwest

Jeff Simons, Presiden & CEO OFR MetalsWe have spent a lot of time introducing you to our general managers, but what about our head honcho? Introducing Jeff Simons, Metalwest’s President and CEO. Jeff began his role with us in February 2014, previously working for O’Neal Industries, previous parent company to Metalwest.

Being CEO of a company is a large job. So, what is it like being in that position? Well, we decided to find out through a Q&A session.

You have been working in various positions for the O’Neal family of companies for a while now. What is your favorite part about working with the organization?

Jeff Simons (JS): Our companies are family-oriented, which creates a level of loyalty and commitment to the organization that is rare in today’s business world. That dedication from our employees has been and will continue to be a critical key to our success.

What is the greatest lesson you have learned from working in the steel industry?

JS: There are thousands of companies in our industry, and I’ve always been amazed how small it seems in terms of the people in our business. Although people change companies from time to time, they tend to stay in the business. To have a successful career, you must have a foundation of honesty and integrity and never compromise ethical behavior. This is a lot simpler at the O’Neal Industries family of companies since those are our core values.

How would you describe your leadership style?

JS: My leadership style is best characterized as transformational. Our industry seems to be in a constant state of change and, to succeed, I believe that it’s important that leadership commitment is felt throughout the organization. I strive for our team to be excited and motivated to achieve success that they didn’t think was possible. In simple terms, it’s all about commitment, not compliance.

We aren’t under the impression that being CEO is all sunshine and roses. So, what has been your biggest obstacle during your role as CEO at Metalwest?

JS: As I mentioned before, we seem to be in a constant state of change. The biggest challenge has been leading our company through change while navigating the headwinds of the current market.

At Metalwest we believe in being a company that employees will want to work for. So, what is your favorite part of working for Metalwest?

JS: Our employees have an unbelievable team spirit. I’ve seen acts of kindness and support across the entire Metalwest team that are truly inspirational. A company is defined by the people. It’s our team members who make our company a special place to work.

Did you have any role models (famous or not) that had an influence on where you are today? Who are they and how did they help you get here?

JS: My dad is my biggest role model. He worked in sales for one of the largest pharmaceutical corporations in the world and I saw him build relationships that supported him in consistently winning national sales achievement awards over a 40 year career that separated him from others.

In the workplace, Dave Simpson, a retired Regional VP for O’Neal Steel was a key role model as my career developed from sales into management and further into leadership roles. I worked for him directly for 18 of the 28 years that I’ve been with our company and his influence was a huge part in my career development. He mentored my career as I became an effective manager and leader.

The bottom line to what Metalwest values and believes is our customers and their success. In your opinion how does doing business with Metalwest help our customers succeed?

JS: The bottom line is that our customer’s success is our success. A key differentiator for Metalwest in our industry is our customer-focused orientation. We take a long term view and we’re committed to developing partnerships that are built on trust and lasting over time. Our focus on and commitment to providing our customers the highest quality products at competitive prices, in addition to the capability of developing complex supply solutions where appropriate, are all keys to helping our customers succeed.