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Fabricating in the future

September 25, 2008


$500-a-barrel oil? Believe it&"Boy, that caught my attention as I looked at the Sept. 29 cover of Fortune. Watching gas prices recede slightly in the Chicago area even after U.S. demand has pulled way back, I know that there is nowhere to go but up for oil prices. The future of crude for the... Continue Reading

Big fears, long lines

September 24, 2008


Yesterday, I met a co-worker for lunch. You're thinking ho-hum, big deal. Actually it was a big deal for me, because my employer and almost all of my co-workers are located 624 miles from me. However, two of us telecommute long distances from our homes, which just happen to be in the same... Continue Reading

The (North) American economy

September 23, 2008


News of how the American government could take up to $700 billion of bad debt out of the hands of the private sector had the weight of something historic. The move will add as never before to our already mounting national debt. It will reshape the financial landscape, not only of the U.S. but of... Continue Reading

U.S. versus China: Time to get it on

September 18, 2008


The Olympics are over, so it"s time to turn our attention to a more recent favorite pastime—China bashing.The best part of this activity is everyone can participate. Sure the Democrats have driven this point home in battleground states, such as Michigan and Ohio, where local citizens worry... Continue Reading

Metal manufacturers on bailouts

September 17, 2008


The September Fabricating Update e-newsletter discussed recent U.S. government bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Since the newsletter went out, AIG also has been the beneficiary of a government-backed bailout. Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch weren't as lucky.This newsletter also... Continue Reading

A Ross way of thinking

September 16, 2008


What a troubled week. Automotive industry execs spent it in front of Congress saying they need a loan. And of course there are those big weekend stories, with Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy and Bank of America acquiring brokerage giant Merrill Lynch.Hearing and reading all the pundits pine... Continue Reading

Get burned up after reading

September 11, 2008


I heard this company president say one time that one of his hobbies was reading business books. I thought to myself that hobby ranks right up there with sword swallowing and power walking in malls as things that make me scratch my head.I"ve got my own management theory. If a company is run by... Continue Reading

Where the jobs are and aren't

September 10, 2008


Texas made the national news today when thousands of Texans in Brazoria County were urged to evacuate, and officials contemplated ordering a mandatory evacuation of one million people in a second county, as Hurricane Ike gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico on its way toward the state. If the... Continue Reading

Weathering the storm on Cape Ann

September 9, 2008


The economy is looking like an intricate patchwork that"s still holding together, though with some seriously thread-bare areas. The housing and financial service sectors make up the brunt of those bare threads, while manufacturing continues to hold surprisingly strong, if you don"t include sectors... Continue Reading

The right to protect your sourcing

September 4, 2008


We have an outstanding resource center here at the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association. If you are an FMA member, you probably already know that after having taken advantage of some of our research or information-gathering capabilities.We also have access to many industry magazines. I picked up... Continue Reading

Tough choices

September 3, 2008


It's been a rough couple of weeks in the Bell household. While we normally have difficulty finding anything we care to watch among the gazillion stations available on satellite TV, for the past two weeks, we've found ourselves having to choose between watching the political conventions or... Continue Reading

The people who made the levees hold

September 2, 2008


The levees held.At least at this writing. Absorbing the news stories last night and this morning, I saw that most people held cautious optimism. We"re not out of the woods yet, but Gustav was no Katrina, and New Orleans did not turn into a giant, murky cesspool as it did three years ago. As... Continue Reading

Don't judge that book so quickly

August 28, 2008


Colleagues and I were out to lunch this week with some welding educators from Rock Valley Community College in Rockford, Ill. We were discussing their recent activities and goals for the program; we were mining them for story ideas and ways we could better serve our welding readers.The educators... Continue Reading

More than a dollar sign

August 27, 2008


Listen up, fabricators. Looking for a new product to fabricate? One that capitalizes on the "green" movement and, therefore, stands a decent chance of finding a market? Then look to the sidewalks of New York City.Ignore any pigeon droppings and trash bags awaiting pickup. Focus instead on some... Continue Reading

If it can"t be measured, it's not real

August 25, 2008


There"s nothing like the Olympics to spark dreams of human potential. Something about the event brings out romantic optimism in me. I know that"s what the producers at NBC were aiming for and, with me at least, they"ve succeeded. For instance, I must have replayed Usian Bolt"s races 10... Continue Reading