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WDI-Durable Goods

Pacesetter Steel Service Inc.


The U.S. steel industry has quite the competitive atmosphere, and even with the economy much stronger than in years’ past, many companies still find it difficult to survive. There may not be a magic formula for every steel operation out there, but Pacesetter Steel Service Inc. has found what it needs to keep going, and not just survive, but continue to support its customers and remain responsive to their needs. 

“We believe in servicing our customers, above and beyond processing and supplying flat rolled steel,” explains CEO Aviva Leebow. “We want to be their solutions provider.”

Based in Kennesaw, Ga., Pacesetter owns and operates service centers near Atlanta, Chicago and Houston. The company works closely with its customers to process and supply cold-rolled, galvanized, galvannealed, galvalume, aluminized and pre-painted steel. Its services include coil slitting, cutting to length, precision blanking and CNC punching. 

“Our core belief is in the power of people with a relentless pursuit of new ideas, who deliver exceptional solutions,” Leebow says. “We believe in the power of the team as we strive to be exceptional in the areas of collaboration and teamwork. We are consistently performing well beyond our customers’, suppliers’ and partners’ expectations. We maintain the highest standards, look after the smallest details, and will always go the extra mile.”

Being Innovators

Steve Leebow founded Pacesetter in 1977, after having worked for years in his family’s steel distribution center in New Jersey. He set up shop in Atlanta, and during the first 10 years, the company only had a small group of associates, but they established the operation’s foundation of strong work ethics, a focus on customers and teamwork. These three values and its ongoing focus on people enabled the company to grow, and many of those first associates are still with the operation, leading and guiding newer associates.  

Since then, Pacesetter has added equipment, locations and capabilities to best serve the needs of its customers. The company took a big step in 1997 when it moved its headquarters to its current site in Kennesaw, and another major change last year when Leebow transitioned to become COO and turned the business over to Aviva Leebow, his daughter.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead, team and partner with so many great people to take our company into the future,” she says. “The ‘Pacesetter experience’ is not just for our associates. It is what our families, our friends, and our customer and supplier partners share with us every day. It is the energy you feel as you walk in our front door. We strive to be the best, unsurpassed in service to our customers, quality of product and the value we create for our partners.”

Steve Leebow explains Aviva’s ability to innovate and transform a legacy company was what encouraged him to name her CEO. “Aviva has the people and leadership skills, the know-how and the technological expertise to transform our company for the future,” he says. “Pacesetter will continue to operate under the same values that have guided our company since 1977.”

Aviva Leebow began her career with Pacesetter after graduating from the University of Baltimore Law School in 2010. In her former role as executive vice president, she developed and led business growth strategies. She created Pacesetter University, which is an education and learning center, and has implemented several talent management initiatives. 

She stresses that the company’s top assets – its people – and their innovative minds will remain her primary focus throughout her tenure. 

“Our company was founded with a people-centric focus and will forever center on people,” she says. “We must be the innovators and innovate we will do. The future is ours to shape and create. It is what we imagine and innovate. If we can imagine it and envision that it can exist, then we can create it. And we at Pacesetter will.”

Focused on Delight

From the outset, Steve Leebow established a belief that the company should “delight” its customers, and much of that comes from Pacesetter’s focus on understanding its customers’ needs. The company relies on its people to deliver that promise, and Pacesetter continues to solidify its strengths by focusing more on innovation and customer service.

“I thank our associates for their unbridled dedication and commitment, our suppliers for teaming with us to service our customers with excellence and our customers for their support,” Aviva Leebow says. “It is those that we partner with that challenge us to be better every day.

“The only constant at Pacesetter is change,” she adds. “We must be the innovator. This means more structure, process improvement and ongoing technological advances.”

For example, although the company focuses on coil slitting, cutting to length, precision blanking and CNC punching, Pacesetter also offers beading and strippable film applications when customers require them. 

Additionally, the company has established several strategic partnerships with customers, allowing it to offer other services such as continuous coil coating, perforating, embossing, forming and laminating. Leebow explains the company always is open to collaborating with its customers to add even more services. 

She notes that the company’s valued associates and its ongoing focus on its core values will continue to lead Pacesetter forward and maintain its position in the industry. Pacesetter can boast that more than half of its associates have been with the company for more than 10 years, she says, and that is because it treats associates as an extended family. 

“Since 1977, integrity, relationships, service and innovation have been the cornerstone of Pacesetter,” she says. “As we look to the future, our company has the opportunity to assume an even greater role in the market, where our people, our customers and our suppliers thrive. Pacesetter is vibrant.”

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