Q&A: Jeff Yoders, MetalMiner’s New Assistant Editor

jeff-yoders-headshot-optimizedSince we at MetalMiner are committed to producing the best, most thoughtful (and sometimes, most provocative) original content in the industrial metals sourcing world, we brought on another team member last week – Jeff Yoders, who has extensive experience in the B2B media world.

We thought we’d do a little Q&A with him for readers to get to know him a bit better.

Q: So give us a little “The Life and Times of Jeff Yoders,” so to speak.

A: Jeff has been writing for newspapers, magazines and websites for nearly 20 years, the last eight of which focused on the architecture, engineering and construction markets. At Building Design + Construction magazine, Jeff won a Jesse H. Neal Award, the Pulitzer of B2B journalism, for his coverage of 3D building information modeling (BIM), design technology and new construction tools such as tablet computers on the job site at both BD+C and at Structural Engineer and CE News, where he led new technology coverage. He’s been a Chicagoan ever since getting a graduate degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in 2002 and he lives in Bucktown with his cats Sebastian and Blackie. He also enjoys referring to himself in the third person.

Q: How did you get into covering the construction sector?

A: I had written a lot of freelance articles about architecture when I attended Medill and I really got interested in the process of designing and creating buildings. After working at AOL CityGuide, I was able to turn my hobby into my profession when I got hired at BD+C. Chicago architecture is the best in the world and being here to cover firms such as SOM and Perkins+Will was a great opportunity.

Q: Do you see any interesting crossovers between 3D BIM, design technology, etc., and industrial metals sourcing?

A: Electronic purchasing has already transformed industrial metals sourcing the same way that 3D BIM has changed construction planning. Part of what many of my story subjects were tasked with was coming up with accurate estimations of how many materials such as structural steel or copper were necessary for a a certain project before prices went up. Now, procurers and estimators can essentially use the same processes to achieve cost certainty when it comes to metals purchasing.

Q: Where do you see digital media heading?

A: When we all get those Johnny Mnemonic jacks in our heads to be fed constant information, no one will laugh at Keanu or that movie anymore. Well, maybe still at Keanu.

But seriously, I see digital media serving more and more specialized markets as the “mainstream” media as we know it continues to fragment. More people will be able to access information on metals prices, procurement, etc., thanks to the democratization of the web. The costs of printing, publishing or TV/radio broadcasting are no longer an excuse – and that’s a very good thing for the marketplace of ideas.

Q: What’s been the most interesting thing you’ve come across since starting with MetalMiner?

A: It blew my mind to find out banks in China stockpile copper as lending collateral and how that affects the global price of the material. I knew there was warehousing going on in all commodities, but I didn’t realize the extent of it and how the practice really does artificially affect the market.

Q: If you could pick one thing that excites you most about working with us – we know, there are many! – what would it be?

A: Other than Lisa and her amazing stories? The opportunity to educate so many buyers and decision-makers. This is an extension of the work I did at BD+C, Structural Engineer and CE News, helping buyers make better decisions to transform one of the oldest industries in the world. My grandfather was a construction laborer and my father worked in Pittsburgh’s steel mills. I look at myself as an extension of them, and if my writing can make projects run more efficiently and safely, that helps every construction worker and steelworker out there.

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