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FABTECH: An industry physical

November 16, 2010 | By Tim Heston

As a reporter for the industry, I’ve always treated FABTECH as a kind of metal fabrication physical. A healthy show is a sign of a healthy industry--usually. Two years ago FABTECH’s opening-day attendance--on Oct. 6--was the biggest on record, despite the financial crisis that exploded onto...

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FABTECH 2010 impressions

November 10, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

If you missed last week's FABTECH in Atlanta, you missed a lot — many new product introductions; outstanding educational offerings; an opportunity like no other to network with fellow fabricating and forming professionals; having your photo taken for the cover of an industry publication; Sonny's...

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A paradox in welding education

November 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

What's going on in welding education? That's a question I had to ponder when researching an article I was asked to write for the FABTECH® Show Daily, a publication distributed at this year's exhibition in Atlanta. It's a broad question that could go in many directions, but in my research I found...

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Second chances: A different approach to finding workers

October 27, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

  Last week’s "Welding Wire" e-newsletter described what Turner Industries did to find workers for a pipe fabrication shop it built two years ago in Pasadena, Texas. As related in an article on, Personnel Manager Brian Daigle needed to hire 100 workers quickly, because the company had...

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The power of predictability

October 25, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Several years ago Doug Gardner, president of Johnson City, N.Y.-based Hi-Tech Industries of New York, landed what’s increasingly rare today for fabricators: a multiyear contract. The shop’s Amada Pulsar 2-kW laser ran 24 hours a day and just couldn’t keep up, Gardner said, adding that the...

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'A sturdy and successful career at Caterpillar'

October 20, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Articles about metal manufacturing pop up daily on the news sites I frequent and in my Google alerts. I scan them for information I think is important — both the good news and the not so good — to share with those who visit   There's been a preponderance of the latter in...

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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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