Bartels Fellowship Lecture Series: “Career Risk in the 21st Century”
October 27, 2011, 11 am - Dodds Theater
Arthur Steier ’89 EMBA, President and CEO, Schumann/Steier, Inc.
Don’t tell Arthur Steier he is a self-made man. He’ll disagree.
Yet that is exactly what his story suggests. Born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, Steier earned degrees in marine engineering and nautical science from the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Following graduation, Steier served on oil tankers engaged in international trade. After a few years, he faced a crossroads: Would he spend his career at sea or pursue opportunities in the business world?
Taking a substantial pay cut and a leap of faith, Steier became a shipbroker, negotiating contracts between oil companies and ship owners. “It was the most interesting job I could find,” recalls Steier. Soon thereafter, one of Steier’s clients, Eurochem Shipping, asked him to open a Houston office, where he managed a fleet of chemical tankers. Four years later, he returned to the East Coast as Director of International Marketing for Moore & Munger, a Fairfield, Conn.-based refiner and marketer of petroleum products.
With an eye toward senior management, Steier enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the University of New Haven to “fill the holes” in his business knowledge. “It was a great program,” Steier says, “that took me up the learning curve and gave me the ability to deal with experts across many fields.”
After earning his degree, Steier soon found an opportunity to acquire an equity stake in the company he worked for, and eventually spun off a lubricants trading division now known as Schumann/Steier, Inc. Today Steier is president, CEO and sole shareholder of the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company, a worldwide marketer of petroleum products. The company recently acquired SSI Chusei, a Houston subsidiary that produces polyethylene waxes and chemicals.
Steier’s avocations include flying high-performance planes and researching change management – an emerging business field. “You can either learn to benefit from change or become a victim of it,” he says.
Despite the field’s complexities, Steier’s formula for success remains simple: Follow your passion. Define success in terms beyond financial gains. And seek good mentors.
“I know many successful people, and not one is self-made,” says Steier, himself a mentor to business students at the University of Miami. “Everybody needs someone to help them along.”