Feb. 28, 2019 – The Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise at Florida Southern College today hosted its annual CEO 100 Lecture, welcoming as the featured speaker Mr. John Ferriola, the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Nucor Corporation, the largest steel manufacturer in North America.
Nucor Corporation, which is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is building a $240 million steel mill in Frostproof, Florida.
Mr. Ferriola joined Nucor in 1991 as the Manager of Maintenance and Engineering at the company’s steel mill in Jewett, Texas, having previously worked for 17 years in various operational and management roles with Bethlehem Steel Corporation.
In speaking to the large gathering of students, faculty, and community leaders about his company’s mission, Mr. Ferriola stressed the important role he believes a company should play in its community, by giving back in ways that will benefit its people and the local economy.
One of the many ways Nucor demonstrates its commitment to putting “teammates” first, he said, is by making safety the top priority. “Any teammate can and, more importantly, is expected to stop the operation” should a safety issue arise in the workplace, Mr. Ferriola said.
“John Ferriola has a record of success in leading what I consider to be the most efficient steel producer in the U.S., if not the world,” said Dr. James Fenton, Jr., Dean of the Barnett School and Professor of Management. “Nucor’s employees, from the CEO down to the newest, entry-level employee, embrace the fact that they are in a performance-sensitive work environment. It is egalitarian in every sense of the word. All Nucor employees — as individuals, or as teams — are empowered to make a positive, consequential impact on corporate performance.”
In his lecture, Mr. Ferriola said the company gives teammates “the freedom to experiment,” encouraging its 26,000 employees to try out new ideas. “We know if we give our people the tools they need to succeed, and then get out of their way, there is nothing that they cannot and will not accomplish.”
At the conclusion of today’s program, FSC President Dr. Anne Kerr conferred upon Mr. Ferriola an honorary Doctor of Business degree from the College. In an accompanying proclamation, Dr. Kerr commended Mr. Ferriola for his distinguished 28-year career at Nucor, and for his continuation of “a 50-year corporate legacy of excellence that holds at its core an unswerving commitment to cultural and environmental stewardship in the communities where they live and work.”
Previous speakers for the CEO 100 Lecture Series have included: Richard Smucker, Executive Chairman of The J.M. Smucker Company; Craig Menear, Chairman, CEO and President of The Home Depot; and Ken Powell, Chairman of the Board of General Mills.