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SPEAKER INTERVIEW - JOSH PELLETIER TECHNICAL MANAGER - REFRACTORIES NORTH AMERICA, KERNEOS Please tell us about your role as technical manager – refractories, at Kerneos. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities? As the technical manager for the North American Refractory Market, my primary goal is to develop and maintain relationships with our clients’ technical teams and provide the interface with our R&D team. We focus on listening to the issues that our customers are facing, and we attempt to assist them in reaching their specific goals through the products Kerneos offers. Conversely, a if a solution to their problem doesn’t exist in a form that we currently provide, it’s our mission to decipher their feedback and translate that information into a potential new product offering. What would you say are the key challenges and opportunities you face at present? We are in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to the current situation in the global refractory industry. The strong dollar, low oil prices, and the overcapacity/under- In this Ceramics Expo Speaker Spotlight, we spoke with Josh Pelletier, technical manager, Refractories, North America, Kerneos Inc. Kerneos has more than 100 years of manufacturing expertise and is the global leader in calcium aluminate technology and a primary supplier of critical raw materials to the worldwide refractory industry. consumption of steel on a worldwide basis specifically has impacted our North American business. However, with challenges come opportunities. Kerneos always has prided itself on value creation at the customer level. This is something we have done for more than 100 years. The global refractory market always has been cyclical in nature; this is also nothing new. During these difficult times, we focus on the challenges that our customers are struggling to overcome and use that energy to guide our strategic offering. What excites and challenges you about your work? In the increasingly competitive global sourcing environment in which we all live and the challenges we face on a daily basis, the events that keep us on our toes as the reference supplier of calcium aluminates largely are related to staying one step ahead of the competition. The well-informed refractory manufacturers that we deal with know that this issue goes beyond cheap pricing discussions to include reliability of supply, response time, consistency and, of course, quality. Refractory manufacturers realize that a single misstep at a refinery or steel mill could result in years of lost revenue. As a result, we have invested millions of dollars at our manufacturing facilities to implement state-of-the-art quality control levers that help our customers sleep at night. Sometimes a lack of excitement is a very good thing. According to Freedonia’s recently published research report, there is a shift taking place in the refractories “The trend in the refractory industry since the beginning always has appeared to be toward higher-performance, longer-lasting refractory materials that are easier and faster to install” Register online for a free expo and conference pass


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