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Would you want to work here?

April 13, 2009

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A visit last week to an OEM of construction equipment made me feel good about manufacturing in America. Based in Salisbury, just north of Charlotte, N.C., Power Curbers Inc. plasma-cuts, saws, welds, and machines parts for curb-making machinery. Like many connected with the construction industry,...

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Spraying to all fields

April 9, 2009

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The baseball season started earlier this week. Temperatures in the Chicago area barely crept above 50 degrees this week, with snow falling on Sunday, but I witnessed baseball on the television. All is right with the world.So in the spirit of baseball, I'm going to cover a lot of area. Hitters...

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'Tell me something good'

April 8, 2009

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As many do before heading off to work each day, my husband and I turn on a local television station to check the weather forecast. This morning, the two items we heard before the weather segment were about a gunman who shot several people in California (can we go a day without something like this...

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Gaining market share during tough times

April 6, 2009

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Buy low, sell high. Good rules to live by for the investment-savvy person. (I, being oh-so-not investment-savvy, usually do the opposite.) The phrase could be applied, slightly altered, to a business strategy: Invest during slow times so you can sell when times are good. That sounds like a smart,...

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Time to go RVing?

April 3, 2009

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I was talking with a fabricator at the Metals Matters conference in Carefree, Ariz., last week about vacations. I mentioned that one of these days I wanted to pack up the family up in a recreational vehicle (RV) and head to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore. Based on a similar trip taken by a...

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Are we there yet?

April 2, 2009

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No, you're not a family vacation; no, you're not driving a station wagon on a cross-country trip; no, you're not being bombarded with that question from a back seat full of impatient youngsters. Yes, you're asking yourself that question, and you'd probably like to ask every...

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April foolery

April 1, 2009

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Today, April 1, is known in the U.S., the U.K., and various other countries as April Fools ' Day, a day in which practical jokes are expected and can be performed without impunity—unless, of course, the joke causes serious harm.My dictionary-that-weighs-a-ton defines practical joke (an...

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The auto meltdown: 'It's all about the parts'

March 31, 2009

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"It's all about the parts. It's all about the parts."That was Jean Jennings, editor-in-chief of Automobile magazine in an interview yesterday with Marketplace host Tess Vigeland. Her comment really hit home with me, particularly after digesting the auto industry news and opinion that have...

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Lean conversation

March 26, 2009

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I"m in Carefree, Ariz., today for the first day of conferences at the fourth annual Metal Matters leadership summit, sponsored by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. That follows a meeting I had yesterday with the folks from LAI International, a precision manufacturer of complex parts...

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'Cracks' in welds

March 25, 2009

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Are cracks in welds ever acceptable? Is the term 'crack' a misnomer for linear indications, hot tears, lack of fusion, and other weld characteristics, and are these characteristics acceptable?A recent issue of the "Welding Wire" e-newsletter featured an item that originally appeared in...

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Auto suppliers get relief

March 24, 2009

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A friend of mine in college couldn't wait to get to Detroit. A mechanical engineering major, he loved cars. He worked at summer co-ops trying to get his foot in the door. He'd talk about designs, inside and out. And though I never saw him do it, I bet he was the kind of guy who ran his...

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Looking to the stars for inspiration

March 20, 2009

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If it's one thing that I'm certain of, it's that highly educated people will have the best chance of achieving standards of living that exceed that of their parents, a scenario that many in today's world see slipping from their collective grasp. This belief pertains to skilled...

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'Why didn't I think of that?'

March 18, 2009

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When you think about it, we all have the ability to innovate. Our innovations can be as simple as coming up with a temporary "fix" for a problem until it can be handled properly. Those of us who work with computers are very familiar with this type of innovation; we call it a workaround. Sometimes,...

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Who's paying for the bailout?

March 16, 2009

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As bad bailout news emerges unabated, we continually hear that finger-wagging phrase that, once uttered, we hope makes these unabashed bankers hang their heads in shame: Taxpayers are shouldering the burden. I've heard the phrase so much that I'm beginning to think we're all serfs...

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Turning the corner? I don't know

March 12, 2009

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I love conversations with my dad. Not too much is said, but I tend to learn a lot from these brief encounters. Take this interaction when I was a teenager: He"s the equivalent of spoken text messaging. He"s also the reason that I don"t offer too many thoughts on the current state of this...

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