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Winners and losers in a recession

December 2, 2008

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At the restaurant, I knew something was up.The family ate out at a middle-class dining establishment next to a big shopping mall on Thanksgiving weekend the day after Black Friday. Only, the place was only half full. More than that, service was horrible. Two waitresses scurried around helping...

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A different recession, different challenges

November 25, 2008

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As you can see by this headline, I"ve used the word recession for the first time in writing blog postings or features for the magazine. I don"t think I have to worry about anyone giving me a ring and chastising me for bringing down U.S. manufacturing single-handedly by muttering the dread r...

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E&E Metal Fab: Finding success and giving back

November 25, 2008

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As automotive execs, in delicious irony, flew luxury private jets to Washington to ask for billions of taxpayer money, I flew coach.In the middle seat, mind you.I landed Thursday in Philadelphia to tour E&E Metal Fab, a little more than an hour to the west in Lebanon, Pa. The company celebrated its...

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Questions about an automotive bailout

November 20, 2008

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How crazy is the automotive sector in this country? I talked with a co-worker who just purchased a Ford F-150® for about $16,000 after a $14,400 rebate from the automaker. Additionally, he said he heard a Northern Illinois automotive dealer was selling a Chrysler PT Cruiser® for $1 with the...

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Scam artists targeting fabricators

November 19, 2008

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By now, most of us are familiar with the Nigerian scam, in which "wealthy" foreigners need help moving millions of dollars from their countries and promise those who assist hefty rewards. Victims have lost thousands of dollars to this and similar scams. Now scam artists are targeting fabricating...

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Marriages in metal fabrication

November 17, 2008

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With the economy a mess, many can"t wait for things to bottom out. But what will it take to get there, and what will happen after all is said and done? Among other things, consolidation has entered the conversation. Analysts view it as inevitable if business conditions persist, and today an analyst...

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How does this legal action suit you?

November 13, 2008

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We get plenty of magazines delivered to the office. It helps us stay abreast of other manufacturing segments and the steelmaking and distribution business.In the October 2008 edition of Metal Center News, I came across Editor-in-Chief Tim Triplett"s editorial on three lawsuits filed against eight...

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Turbulent times call for extraordinary leadership

November 12, 2008

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Whether it's nervous energy, a pre-holiday cleaning bug, this week's full moon—whatever the reason—for the past few days, I've been on a mission to clean my office. Three full trash bags now are waiting outside my door, and my paper shredder needs to be emptied. It's...

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Finding those diamonds

November 11, 2008

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My wife loathes when she walks into the family room and sees me watching a certain, shall we say, intense person jumping around a wacky set and talking stocks. OK, I admit it: I like watching Jim Cramer. I"m not a day trader. I don"t live and breathe the Dow. I haven"t even opened my 401(k)...

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Five things I learned from this election

November 6, 2008

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Maybe you"ve heard that we have a new presidentor president-elect, as someone at the office reminded me. For many of us, the election of Barack Obama is a sign that we now can get on with our lives. The never-ending campaign is finally over. Well, some people don"t want it to end.I"m not going to...

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After the ball

November 5, 2008

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The mind is amazing. Who really knows why it remembers what it does and forgets the rest? This morning, the day after the U.S. presidential election, a song my parents taught my sisters and me when we were children sprang into my mind—totally out of the blue. (We saw a lot of blue and red...

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A hunch on the downturn: This time, it"s different

November 4, 2008

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As I type this, the line at the polling place across the street has finally shown signs of movement. It"s the morning of Nov. 4, and by evening we"ll know who will have the world"s largest bully pulpit for the next four years.Seeing how the numbers are adding up, I won"t envy the winner. The...

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EuroBLECH—It's a good thing

October 30, 2008

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Well, I"m barely alive and well after a weeklong trip to EuroBLECH in Hanover, Germany. Tell someone who doesn"t have to travel a lot that you are going to a foreign country, and it sounds exotic. Only after those same people have walked a thousand steps through slow-moving airport security;...

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Welding your way to a six-figure income?

October 29, 2008

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Last week's Welding Wire e-newsletter lead feature discussed a report by Chief White House correspondent for the CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod, who recently was surprised to learn about a career that requires no college degree and pays six figures.Axelrod reported that "thanks to a program run...

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Don't judge a business by its market

October 27, 2008

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During these economically trying times, you would think some companies would have a better shot at emerging from this mess somewhat unscathed, while others might be more vulnerable. But that"s not necessarily the case. Consider news last week of two metal fabricators, one that"s laying off...

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