CHICAGO — From the state of the U.S. steel market to finding happiness at work, this year’s Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association summer meeting covered a lot of ground.

The May 1-3 event, held at a hotel just steps away from the city’s Magnificent Mile shopping district, brought Jim Berlucchi of the Spitzer Center for Ethical Leadership to talk about including your company in your goal of personal happiness. It is possible to be happy at work and in your personal life, he said.

Berlucchi’s discussion was followed by Ridley Gunderson, the president of Sector3 Appraisals Inc., an advisory firm specializing in metals, chemicals and other commodities. In his May 2 talk, Gunderson focused on the hot-dip galvanized market.

“The North American steel market has gone through tremendous change,” he said, adding that overseas-made steel still has price advantages. “Import is quite a bit cheaper than domestic material. We’re probably going to see a lot more imports over the next quarter at least.”

Another presentation was made by Scott Witherow of California duct sealants and adhesives manufacturer Design Polymerics. Witherow called his speech “The 1 Percent Solution,” and it focused on how duct makers can help meet project specifications that call for less than 1 percent air leakage.

When it comes to sealants, “Not all duct sealers are water resistant,” he said. “Duct sealers can wash off.”

Sealant selection used on projects seeking green certification is especially critical, Witherow added. Utimately, a hands-on test is often the best way to determine if a product will meet your needs.

“The only way to tell if a duct sealer is good is to take it out, spread it out,” he said. “Try it.”

Association members also had a chance to break off into small groups to discuss industry issues such as inventory management, future trends and new products.

For a number of members, the highlight of the three-day conference may have been the chance to watch the Chicago Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals from the roof of an apartment building overlooking Wrigley Field May 3.