Blog Posts

thefabricator.com has a team of bloggers that cover the challenges and rewards associated with a life in metal fabricating. Topics typically addressed by contributing authors include political and demographic trends affecting the fabricating industry, the business side of running a job shop, the culture of the welding community, and detailed looks at what happens on the shop floor.

Filter Content

President Obama and the Stamping Press

June 8, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Business owners in the metal fabrication industry are getting to be old hands at hosting top dogs from Washington on both sides of the political aisle. Several years ago President Bush visited Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., and gave a speech. Last year Vice President Joe Biden visited...

Continue Reading

Speak up but don't hold your peace

June 4, 2010 | By Dan Davis

The continuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is silently eating away at my insides. My grandmother purchased a camp in Clermont Harbor, Miss., back in 1969 after Hurricane Camille dramatically rearranged the Gulf Coast. Growing up I spent most of my summers down on the white beaches of the...

Continue Reading

Crisis management and small business

June 3, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Google "crisis management" (with the quote marks) and you'll retrieve a list of almost 3 million results, many with links to articles about how companies can manage crises that threaten their existence.   Google "BP crisis management" (also with quote marks) and you’ll get more than 6,000...

Continue Reading

Making It in America

May 28, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I'll have the American flag flying outside my house this holiday weekend. It's not a statement of my patriotism so much as a view of summer as a time when all of those fun, all-American activities take place: baseball, competitive hot dog eating, and parades. It's the perfect time to let Old Glory...

Continue Reading

We don't need no education?

May 27, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

Not to disrespect your song, Pink Floyd, but we really do need an education. Nothing brought that point home to me more clearly than a cell phone conversation I overheard Wednesday at O'Hare airport. A young, Caucasian male, sat down across from me to wait for a plane to Atlanta. He scattered his...

Continue Reading

What I did on my vacation to Detroit

May 26, 2010 | By Dan Davis

I took a day trip to Detroit last week, and I have no joke about it. I actually enjoyed my time in the Motor City. Whereas others like to use Detroit as the poster child for what's wrong with big-city politics, the U.S. automotive industry, and public education, I see the city as one that may be...

Continue Reading

Taking stock of employee ownership

May 25, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Butch Munson has worked at the same metal fabrication company for 43 years, and in a few years he plans to retire. He’s had a good career at LeFiell Mfg. Co., a tube and specialty fabricator in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Sure, the shop has had its ups and downs, but generally the company has always...

Continue Reading

Just happy to have a job?

May 19, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

In the last few years, as more and more jobs have disappeared, those who have remained employed have considered themselves very lucky. No matter how much they've been pushed to do more with less, or how many benefits they've lost, many of these workers have adopted the mantra: "Just happy to have a...

Continue Reading

The laser is 50, and still beaming

May 17, 2010 | By Tim Heston

On May 16, 1960, Theodore Maiman of Hughes Labs became the first person on the planet to build light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation—or laser. (Thank goodness the acronym stuck.) On Sunday, the laser turned 50. I’m willing to bet that on that day in 1960, Ignacio “Nacho”...

Continue Reading

Fabricators on recovery and job creation

May 12, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

If you didn’t receive this week’s "Fabricating Update," you missed some promising numbers about the economic recovery and manufacturing jobs. Have no fear; I'm repeating them here, because they are worth repeating: The U.S. added 290,000 jobs in April, the largest monthly total since March...

Continue Reading

Is manufacturing cool again?

May 10, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Did you here? The folks who make things for a living are now … cool. Many business gurus out there, including Warren Buffett, say manufacturers are leading the economic recovery. The Institute for Supply Management reported the fifth month of growth in manufacturing employment. ISM’s employment...

Continue Reading

Fabricating to the rescue yet again

May 5, 2010 | By Dan Davis

By now everyone has heard about the massive oil spill taking place in the Gulf of Mexico, a result of an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig April 20. If you haven't, you'll also be shocked to know that bell bottoms have come and gone out of style again and that Abe Vigoda is still alive ....

Continue Reading

Playing field could become even more precarious

May 5, 2010 | By Vicki Bell

For the nearly eight years I’ve been asking fabricators about the state of metal manufacturing, many have expressed the opinion that a primary contributor to the decline in U.S. manufacturing is an unlevel playing field with China. In stating their opinions, these fabricators typically mention...

Continue Reading

Good news from the oracle

May 3, 2010 | By Tim Heston

Omaha, Neb., became a worldwide business epicenter over the weekend. Its oracle spoke. Warren Buffett held his annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder extravaganza in Omaha. He spoke in the Qwest Center to some 40,000 investors, and afterward held a press conference to trumpet his message: Business...

Continue Reading

Saluting civilians

May 1, 2010 | By Amanda Carlson

Some people might think that the only way to serve their country is by joining the military. If that were true, then this country, the men and women currently serving, and our national security would be in a world of trouble. Even though they don't receive much recognition, the fact is civilians...

Continue Reading