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Jobs go up in smoke

April 23, 2008


Various media have reported that a Whirlpool Corp. factory in Evansville, Ind., has suspended 39 workers who signed insurance paperwork claiming they don't use tobacco and then were seen smoking or chewing tobacco on company property. Tobacco users at Whirlpool pay an extra $500 in insurance... Continue Reading

Don"t let service go down the drain

April 22, 2008


I don"t know much, but I do know this: If metal fabricators had my plumber"s customer service record, they wouldn"t be in business for long.Forgive my venting, but I"m sure many can relate. We had an oh-so-delightful problem with our plumbing1946 vintage. The trouble really began when we bought... Continue Reading

Remembering VT

April 16, 2008


When I sat down to write this post it was with the conviction to write about something positive on this day of sad remembrance, but quite honestly, I"m not sure I have it in me. Today is the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, a tragedy that hit close to home. My husband and his... Continue Reading

Who knew?

April 15, 2008


Chicago police shot a cougar on the North Side on Monday afternoon. I guess the cougar didn"t feel like running anymore and stood its ground, leaving the policemen no other choice than to kill the 150-pound cat. That"s not the story you expect to wake up and read in the morning paper. I have to... Continue Reading

Cheap labor never stays cheap

April 14, 2008


Labor costs continue to rise. Companies feel the pinch of surging raw material prices. Margins are declining. Companies can"t find the labor they need, and manufacturers strive to cut costs and keep work on their shores. This sounds like the problems manufacturers face stateside, but it"s not.It"s... Continue Reading

Don't be bearish; attack your problem

April 11, 2008


Let it not be said that I wasn"t paying attention in church on Sunday. Check out this golden piece of wisdom from Rev. Victor A. Scantlebury, assistant bishop of the Diocese of Chicago: A guy skipped church one Sunday to go hunting. He was out and about on a beautiful day when he turned a... Continue Reading

Relo or no?

April 9, 2008


Last week's Welding Wire e-newsletter addressed the skilled welder shortage and asked subscribers to e-mail us any welding programs they were aware of in their areas. is interested in compiling a list of programs that can be used by both those interested in welding careers... Continue Reading

METALFORM report: Stampers add value, not labor

April 8, 2008


My brother-in-law and fellow blogger, Chris Walker, is having trouble with his Internet provider, something not too unusual until you consider his locale and his problem. He"s spending a year in Mumbai, India, as part of a fellowship program that helps for-profit humanitarian enterprises find... Continue Reading

Listen for the key to conflict resolution

April 4, 2008


I was going to write about the economy, but something I was watching on TV last night really stuck with me. My wife grabbed the remote control from me and sat down to watch Larry King's interview with Jenny McCarthy, who is the mother of an autistic son and has just written a book about the... Continue Reading

What makes Grand Rapids so grand?

March 31, 2008


Last week three researchers walked the streets of Grand Rapids, Mich., to answer a curious question: Why has the city"s manufacturing job market fared so well, relative to the rest of the state?The team from George Washington University"s Institute of Public Policy visited the city to see what was... Continue Reading

Some things just don't pan out

March 28, 2008


My wife and kids are on a spring break trip with the in-laws in Florida. I stayed behind to get some work done and save up some vacation time for trips this summer.(As I write this, it"s snowing yet again in Rockford, Ill. This comes after we got 7 inches of snow on the first day of spring last... Continue Reading

What is Tata thinking?

March 26, 2008


Scanning a major news site this morning, I faced a difficult decision—which story would I read first? Vying for my attention were the compelling headlines about the escalated fighting in Iraq, the floods in Arkansas, and American Airlines grounding its MD-80 jets and the not-so-compelling... Continue Reading

Marmon, Warren Buffett, and the "d" word

March 25, 2008


Warren Buffett must be among the world"s richest individuals for a reason. When Forbes measured asset values for its annual list on Feb. 11, Buffett sat on top, edging out software pioneer Bill Gates, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.Evidently,... Continue Reading

Things on my mind besides hair

March 20, 2008


I"ve got plenty of thoughts this week, but they are all over the board. Here are a few of them that don"t deal with the NCAA college basketball championship tournament. 1. I talked with my high school buddy and college roommate on Sunday evening. He"s about to break off and start his own... Continue Reading

A solution to the skilled-labor shortage?

March 19, 2008


Among my job responsibilities is compiling and sending out monthly e-newsletters—Fabricating Update, Stamping News Brief, Tube Talk, and Welding Wire. These newsletters deliver industry-specific information to subscribers. They also are what I like best about my job. Why? Because subscribers... Continue Reading