Refwin: Ms. Julianne Lord, thank you for accepting our interview. Would you please start with an introduction to FRC Global, as well as the global footprint?
Ms. Julianne Lord: FRC Global is a leading supplier of refractories, electrodes, and high temperature combustion systems. We have offices, agents, and partners in 20 countries spanning five continents, which allows us to provide support for our customers in the iron, steel, and nonferrous metals industries. We have a rare combination of young leadership and passionate industry veterans that allows us to function differently. Part of how we do things differently at FRC is fostering a culture that embodies our ethos of problem solving at every level of our organization.
Refwin: FRC Global is a young company with a 30-year history, compared with traditional well-known refractories manufacturers, what are your core advantages?
Ms. Julianne Lord: The fact that we are a medium-sized company allows us to be agile and flexible. When tasked, we will quickly put the right amount of resources in place to get the job done. We are willing and able to work with large and small customers alike. We pride ourselves in finding creative solutions, no matter the size of our customer. Our ability to leverage the capabilities of our expert staff and global network means we operate on a different model that is more customer focused. Being in business for over 30 years is proof that our model and our products are proven.
The biggest advantage we provide, without a doubt, is the people that work at FRC. Whether it’s our unmatched engineers, knowledgeable sales team, or our skilled operations staff, we have a group of exceptional people who are empowered to find solutions in new and better ways.
Refwin: As the next generation family-owned business, what can we expect for the future development of FRC Global?
Ms. Julianne Lord: The foundation of our business has been based on continual innovation and improvement of our products, technology, and engineering services. Moving into the future, the next generation of leadership here at FRC has a passion for innovation with sustainability in mind. We are rather unique in the industry as a woman-owned business, and even more so that we are owned by three sisters. We encourage our employees to challenge the status quo and embrace their curiosity. If you look at our leadership team, we are anything but “status quo” of the typical refractories company. FRC is passionate about leading our industry into the future, because let's face it, we need young people to join and stay in the refractories and associated industries. Our industry needs to welcome a new generation of leaders to survive, prosper and ultimately change the landscape. We are creating a kick ass culture for people to work.
Refwin: In 2020, FRC Global launched a restructuring plan, could you tell us more about it? What progress has been made so far?
Ms. Julianne Lord: The restructuring was completed in 2020, and FRC became the next evolution of our family business. The legacy that my father has created lives on through us into the next generation of leadership. FRC Global is the name that reflects our current and future reality of being an international corporation. We have always done our due diligence to find the best products and solutions from around the world, and we have the airline miles to prove it! Being a global entity is core to our strategy, and we are continuing to build our global partnerships and capabilities.
Refwin: Could you describe the role of FRC Global in the steel supply chain?
Ms. Julianne Lord: Being upstream in the steel supply chain is fascinating. It’s a rewarding feeling to see how our products get used by our customers, and how their many diverse products are eventually put into use in the world. While supplying products is part of what we do, our real passion is solving problems for our customers at their facilities. When they have questions or issues with their refractory performance, we have the people on the ground that love creating engineering solutions for them. Technology is being used in new and different ways, and we are constantly testing and developing ways to improve our products and operations. Our emphasis on continual improvement benefits not only our customers but also our people and vendors too. At FRC, we are embracing changes in the industries we serve and supporting the communities they exist in.
Refwin: What role will FRC Global play in the future of metallurgical advancements? What preparations have you made?
Ms. Julianne Lord: Whether it’s hydrogen metallurgy, plasma metallurgy or other innovations in the green steel space, we keep our finger on the pulse of these developments. A critical focus of the FRC vision is to pioneer sustainable solutions. One example is our Thermal Kinetic Energizer (TKE) technology, which is now being used globally. TKE is a revolutionary system used in industrial heating to replace conventional gas burners, not only saving our customers money but also significantly reducing the carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Refwin: How do you see the current and future status of the refractories industry?
Ms. Julianne Lord: It is an exciting time to be in the refractories industry with all the advancements and innovations happening. There are more women in industrial companies than ever before, and I hope to encourage and see more women in leadership roles in the coming years. There is also a greater focus on social and environmental impact, which is something I personally have a passion for. In fact, I have a master’s degree in corporate sustainability which gives me the foundation and knowledge to build FRC Global for today and tomorrow.
Overall, the future is bright, and I am extremely proud that FRC Global has a part to play in the future changes in the refractories industry and in the success of our customers.
Thanks for all the valuable and professional sharing with us. Wish FRC Global a brighter future and all the best to you!
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