John Palesny, president of Petersen Aluminum Corp. (center) receives the MSCI Lifetime Achievement Award from Bob Weidner III, CAE, president and CEO of MSCI (right) with Marlane Palesny, John’s wife.

The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) gave its Lifetime Achievement Award to John Palesny, president of Petersen Aluminum Corp., in late November during its Aluminum Products Division Conference in Florida. The award recognizes Palesny’s contribution to the metals industry during his 47-year career at Petersen, headquartered in Elk Grove Village, Ill.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all my colleagues at Petersen,” says Palesny. “Together we have built a great company that is recognized as an industry leader. So it’s not really about me, it’s about the people who have made this company such a remarkable success and a joy to work with.”

Palesny says his approach to management has been to be hands-on while allowing people to do their work with the least amount of supervision.

“I learned early in my career that it was critical to build a great team, set the goals and then let them have the necessary freedom to deliver,” he says. “The biggest challenge in my career is keeping an eye on the competition and how we stack up against them on quality, service and product development. I think about that all the time.”

“These winners are iconic leaders. Their contributions within their respective companies, our industry and the communities within which they live are marked by their integrity, passion for metals and manufacturing, and empathy for others,” says Robert Weidner III, president and CEO of MSCI.

The Roman god Janus was chosen as the symbol for the award for his ability to both reflect on the past and look toward the future.

“John embodies the principles of Janus through his ability to look over the horizon to see what is coming and determine how the metals industry should respond. John is also able to reflect of the past and build on success,” says Weidner.

Palesny has held volunteer leadership positions including president of the Chicago chapter of the former National Association of Aluminum Distributors, chair of MSCI’s aluminum division, and a term on the MSCI executive board. He also served on multiple committees and supporting groups in his career.

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