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I can do WHAT and get a raise?

May 1, 2013

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You want a raise; I want a raise; we all want raises. Even corporate heads who take pay cuts to show how much they empathize with their workers probably want and think they deserve raises, but that’s a topic for another day. What would you do for a raise, besides doing the best job you can...

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Stay safe and out of OSHA's way

April 26, 2013

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Fabricating shop owners—and business owners in general—have voiced concern about increased regulations that their companies have had to face since the election of President Obama, but that may be nothing compared to the trouble they might find if they run into trouble involving the Occupational...

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Go for it, Christophers!

April 24, 2013

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Last week’s “Welding Wire” e-newsletter featured the blog post “Backbone of America deserves a round of beer,” which focused on comments from Christopher W., a young welding student, about welding formerly being on a worst jobs list. He couldn’t understand how that could happen. We...

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It is not just business

April 23, 2013

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Troy Berg, president of Dane Manufacturing, a contract fabricator in rural Dane, Wis., attends equipment auctions not just to find a deal on equipment, but to learn. With success comes confidence and determination; with failure comes soul-searching, self-scrutiny and, quite often, unfiltered truth....

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Defining a champion

April 16, 2013

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As I was putting together this issue’s Shop Stories featuring Tim Baber of College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, Calif., one word from our conversation stuck out in my mind: Champion. Champion is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a warrior or a fighter; a militant advocate or defender;...

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A litany of amateur mistakes

April 16, 2013

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At 7:03 pm on November 1, 1955, a DC-6B (United Airlines Flight 629) crashed near Longmont, Colorado. The Civil Aeronautics Board and the FBI carried out a comprehensive recovery effort, and eventually pieced together most of the airplane. The tail had severed off cleanly, and when engineers from...

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Careers for manufacturing professionals, not button pushers

April 15, 2013

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When it comes to the economy, everyone may be fretting about unknowns, yet manufacturing still is making headlines--this week on TIME magazine’s cover. The article tells a familiar story: Manufacturing is back, but don’t expect the industry to hire people en masse. Automation has reduced the...

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Manufacturing forecast: Sunny days ahead

April 12, 2013

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Is current economic news making you unenthusiastic about the rest of this year and 2014? The editors at The Kiplinger Letter say not to fret. Manufacturing's future in the U.S. appears to be pretty good in the near term. In the early April newsletter, editors suggested that, even though...

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Backbone of America deserves a round of beer

April 10, 2013

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As content manager for thefabricator.com, one of my job duties is to moderate comments left for articles on the site. This is an interesting task. Some comments are blatant promotions, complete with links, for companies that want to use this opportunity to hawk their products. While you have to...

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Dysfunction junction

April 5, 2013

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How could the U.S. Congress screw up funding job training programs? Manufacturers need specialized workers, and the unemployed need training for those unfilled positions in manufacturing. Sounds simple, right? Nothing is simple nowadays. In mid-March Republicans in the House of Representatives...

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Hands off the merchandise!

April 4, 2013

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In early March, my colleague Vicki Bell wrote a blog about a common and highly dreaded problem these days: Metal theft. I am sure the main target is copper, which typically fetches more than $3.00 per pound (spot price), and it probably started with stealing plumbing pipe from abandoned buildings....

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A race to the bottom

April 4, 2013

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“Wal Mart is the death knell for small business everywhere they open shop. Wal-Mart is good for small business in the same way amputation is a successful weight-loss program. Wal-Mart is killing America, and if you shopped there this week, here’s hoping the American job you just shipped...

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College basketball and cross-training

March 22, 2013

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'Tis the time of year when people might be secretly paying more attention to NCAA basketball tournament games than work and, in some cases, actually leaving work early to watch the afternoon first-round games. Even though March Madness might sap worker productivity, it still might hold meaning for...

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A decade later, cautious optimism still applies

March 21, 2013

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ManpowerGroup has released its latest Employment Outlook Survey findings, which suggest that employers worldwide are seeking signs of a robust global economy before labor markets are likely to achieve sustainable traction. Despite the recent stock market gains, thought by some to be a barometer...

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American business success: Optimism peppered with pragmatism

March 19, 2013

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So said Don McNeeley, president and COO, Chicago Tube & Iron Co., and professor at Northwestern University, speaking Feb. 27 at The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit in Palm Harbor, Fla. After conversations with various fabricators since then, most tend to agree with him. Business is OK, not...

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