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Tough choices

September 3, 2008

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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...

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The people who made the levees hold

September 2, 2008

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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...

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Don't judge that book so quickly

August 28, 2008

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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...

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More than a dollar sign

August 27, 2008

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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...

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

August 25, 2008

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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...

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'Die-ing' for respect

August 21, 2008

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In my editorial coming up in the September 2008 issue of The FABRICATOR, I write about Die Tech Services Inc., basically an agency that sends out tool and die experts, machine builders, and CNC machinists on a temporary basis.Like most entrepreneur stories, the company"s genesis is some other...

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What price gold?

August 20, 2008

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As I write this, the U.S. leads in total medals (82) in the 2008 Summer Olympics. However, China has won more gold medals (45) than the U.S. (26) and Russia (13) combined, and more than the U.S. and Great Britain (26) combined.The U.S. is expected to gain ground in the gold medal race in...

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Made in America, sold to BRIC

August 18, 2008

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Several events this month have made me feel a tad on edge, at least at first.First, it was the Olympics. I"m sure many of you saw the opening ceremonies, and like me you probably thought it was quite a spectacle. You probably also remember commentator Matt Lauer"s comment as 2,008 drummers played...

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A U.S. national buffoon's European vacation

August 15, 2008

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I just came back from a 10-day vacation. My wife and I visited England and Ireland for four days each. The trip was fun, but it"s hard to just put your life on hold for an extended period nowadays.As we slept in our tiny hotel room built for none on the fourth day, I tried not to think about work,...

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Desk rage on the rise

August 13, 2008

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One of my co-workers always ends her e-mails with a profound one-liner. Her current gem is: Events are less important than our response to them.My immediate reaction to these words of wisdom was also a one-liner: Truer words were never spoken.Life is a continual learning process. A lesson that we...

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Looking down the tiers for change

August 12, 2008

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This week the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) holds its Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich. After reading event news trickling onto the Internet, news that includes automotive execs opining away about industry troubles, I"ve come to a conclusion. They should listen to...

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What's hot—What's not

August 7, 2008

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This post isn't about the dog days of summer, nor is it a list of Paris Hilton's "that's hot" endorsements. Rather it's a glimpse of one metal bending company that has a $7.4 billion backlog of projects—now that's hot.It also is about the hottest manufacturing sectors...

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The Japanese supply stream

August 5, 2008

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Hidetsugu Masuda revels as a tour guide.The president of KantoSeiko Co., Ltd. Group, in Fuji-Gun, Shizuoka Prefecture, isn"t your typical Japanese shop manager. The shop"s main meeting room is lined with photos of customers and other shop managers from Japan and, indeed, around the world who have...

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The credit crunch

July 31, 2008

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If you missed the headlines last week, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. stepped in and closed the First National Bank of Nevada and First Heritage Bank N.A. last Friday. That comes just about two weeks after the same folks closed the doors on IndyMac bank.Of course, that led to Treasury prices...

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Picking up the torch

July 30, 2008

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Confession time. At last year's FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show in Chicago, I had the opportunity, along with several of my co-workers, to try welding. Sue from ESAB graciously invited us to the company's Solutions Tour Truck Booth to suit up and weld under the guidance of a...

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