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A tale of two companies

October 19, 2010 | By Tim Heston

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times--and through it all, managers at two companies behaved very differently. First, there’s Brandon Fisher’s Center Rock Inc. of Berlin, Pa., a few hours east of Pittsburgh, not far from some of the hilliest terrain on the Pennsylvania Turnpike....

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Maybe manufacturing and farming do have a lot in common

October 15, 2010 | By Dan Davis

Free-trade pundits love to stress that the U.S. shouldn’t worry about the loss of manufacturing jobs. It's natural, after all. Just look at the state of modern farming. You don't see the world pining for more farmers, do you? Well, I did notice the most recent Farm Aid concert held in late...

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The changing American landscape

October 14, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

I read Dan Davis’ blog “Rethinking the education-to-employment system,” and I figured I’d chime in with my two cents’ worth. Dan’s blog focused on the future of education, specifically in vocational areas; I’d like to shine the spotlight elsewhere to illuminate a few trends that are...

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Fabricator leads tax break effort

October 13, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

If you're thinking about opening a business and are weighing possible locations, you may want to wait until after Nov. 2 and see if voters in Polk County, Florida, pass a referendum that will give new and expanding businesses a break from property taxes for up to 10 years. As noted in an article...

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Equipment investment and hanging fruit

October 5, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Several weeks ago I visited Ometek Inc., a contract manufacturer near the Columbus, Ohio, airport. After reading the manufacturing news this week, I started thinking about the company’s bending department. Here’s why. This week the business world learned what it pretty much already knew. The...

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The fabricator's apprentice

September 29, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday I ran across an item about a U.K. company, Ladbrook Engineering, that has taken on its first apprentice in 20 years. In an article published on, Ladbrook's Manufacturing Director Paul Goodman is quoted as saying, "Capable and experienced engineers are very difficult...

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Shifting, not reducing, the tax burden

September 27, 2010 | By Tim Heston

The more rhetoric I hear this election season, the more I’m reminded just how little the government can do to fix the economy in the short term. It can pour money into shovel-ready projects, but those don’t seem to be long-term fixes, and they won’t right the ship in time for the midterm...

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Rethinking the education-to-employment system

September 24, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I learned a bit of news that raised my spirits this week: This country's inability to educate its children is not a recent phenomenon. Apparently, the U.S. has been screwing up for years. That sounds awful, I know. However, when you constantly hear about the failure of the U.S. educational system,...

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Waiting for the first shoe to drop

September 23, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

I looked at my colleagues’ blog posts (or rants as Tim calls them) and noticed that employment is a hot topic, so I figured I’d throw out my two cents’ worth on the topic. I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone—not just people in manufacturing, but everyone—is wondering when the...

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Do fabricators care if SAIC invests in GM?

September 22, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter discussed the possibility of General Motors' Chinese partner, SAIC, investing in GM's initial public offering of stock. The two companies have produced cars together in China for a decade and announced plans in December to sell low-cost vehicles in India. ...

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Jobs are here, but qualified people aren’t

September 21, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Everyone says the U.S. government should foster an environment of job creation. I can’t argue with that. Thing is, some jobs are being created.  Employers just can’t find anybody to fill them. According to a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article, Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the...

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Manufacturing jobs available for 'the right candidates'

September 16, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

The lead item in the Sept. 15 "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter discussed the recently released "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey. This survey also was the topic of a blog posted last week by my colleague, Dan Davis. In his post, Davis wrote about survey findings that indicated the image...

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Much ado about nothing

September 15, 2010 | By Eric Lundin

China’s currency is in the news again. It made big news back in the summer of 2005 when the Chinese government unlocked the currency from the fixed exchange rate of 8.2765 yuan per dollar. Change came slowly; a year later it had appreciated just 3 percent, to 7.6055 yuan per dollar. The rate of...

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Fabricating focuses on the now

September 14, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Have you tried Google Instant? It’s an eye-opener. You visit the site, start typing and Google immediately spits back results based just on what you typed. Type “the” and I get listings for a thesaurus. Type “The Fab,” and you get results for The Fabulous Fox Theatres in Atlanta, St....

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Manufacturing: Not the dirty ol' job we thought

September 10, 2010 | By Dan Davis

People may have a much higher opinion of manufacturing jobs than previously thought. I received the second annual "Public Viewpoint on Manufacturing" survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute in my e-mail inbox last week, and the results were enlightening. In a survey of 1,055...

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