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Welding's missing link

February 12, 2008


Several years ago Ken Smith took a long, hard look at the country's welder shortage. The manager of training for Lorain County Community College's welding program in Elyria, Ohio, saw a need to tackle the issue at the source: education.Smith, together with representatives from the... Continue Reading

Snow, television, and fabricating

February 8, 2008


When more than a foot of snow is expected to fall, you should probably go out and shovel a couple of times during the day instead of waiting until the end of the snowfall to do it. That was the case yesterday as I battled the white stuff in my driveway and sidewalks. The office was closed, so I... Continue Reading

Get with the program

February 7, 2008


Have you ever noticed how things run in cycles? Feast or famine? Drought or flood? No phone calls, or one call after another? I telecommute, and days go by that my work phone doesn't ring at all. On those days, all communication transpires electronically. This is not one of those days.Among... Continue Reading

Manufacturing's story on Super Tuesday

February 5, 2008


In August 2006 a metal fabricator got a chance to tell the president why he felt businesses like his were good for America.John West, president of Fox Valley Metal-Tech in Green Bay, Wis., showed the commander in chief around the company"s facility that housed, among other things, one of the... Continue Reading

Welding: 'That's awesome!'

February 1, 2008


I"m writing this from WeldMex, a welding tradeshow in Mexico City. We"re trying to promote The FABRICATOR en Español to Mexican metal fabricators.All in all, there"s some interesting things that I"ve learned about the Mexican market:Welding technology companies are positive about the Mexican... Continue Reading

Frills or no frills?

January 30, 2008


A mere three weeks ago, the introduction of the Nano, the $2,500 car produced by Tata Motors, made the headlines worldwide. It also was the topic of the Jan. 15 "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter lead-in, which asked subscribers what they thought of the new car and whether it would have any impact... Continue Reading

Stein economics

January 29, 2008


Recently the managing editor at Money magazine sat down with Ben Steinthe quirky lawyer, economist, comedian, and former Nixon speechwriterand asked if he was worried about a recession. Stein said no.The editor responded, But aren"t you worried about the headlines, about the credit crunch, about... Continue Reading

Just pay the people

January 25, 2008


Nuthin" like a shot upside the head to make you see the light. In this blog and in the Editor"s Corner of The FABRICATOR [Saving manufacturing one sweep at a time, p. 8, January 2008], I"ve written how a clean work environment might contribute in a small way to changing a youngster"s mindset... Continue Reading

Flashdance meets real life

January 23, 2008


I'm interviewing Brennan Palmiter, a young race car driver with a passion for welding that's almost as strong as his passion for racing. His profile will be featured on next month.Palmiter's story, along with two stories I ran across today, proved to me that there... Continue Reading

Never give up

January 21, 2008


The economic news has been pretty grim. Housing"s down; manufacturing production"s down; employment"s down; the stock market"s down. Most everything is pretty much, well, down.My gut says, though, that Parviz Shahriari hasn"t paid it a second thought. The director of engineering at GEMVIS, a... Continue Reading

The changing world of farm life

January 18, 2008


Many economists and politicians like to compare the evolution of manufacturing in the U.S. to that of the agricultural industry. At one time agriculture was the dominant industry in the U.S., but as time passed, the numbers employed in agricultural jobs diminished with the rise of... Continue Reading


January 17, 2008


Today's post is a mishmash of interesting items that have crossed my desk in the last few days.The words hodgepodge and mishmash are alterations of Middle English words, hochepot and misse-masche, respectively. The English language has evolved over the years, and so has the English... Continue Reading

All aboard the Nano

January 15, 2008


My brother-in-law, Chris, is spending the year in Mumbai, India, as a part of a fellowship program that helps for-profit humanitarian enterprises find better ways to do business--that is, if he can get to work in one piece. Last week he took a ride on Mumbai"s commuter trains. Call it herding,... Continue Reading

Looking ahead to 2008

January 11, 2008


I don't want to offer up any predictions, even though I finished the college bowl season with a 20-12 record against the spread. (That's how my wife's extended family celebrates the holiday season, and as long as I keep up with my debts, I'm happy to play along.) So let's offer up some observations... Continue Reading

Filling a need

January 9, 2008


Can you remember a time without wheelchairs? Probably not. According to, the earliest found image of a wheelchair is incised in stone on a 6th century Chinese sarcophagus. In the 16th century, King Philip II of Spain used an elaborate rolling chair with movable arm and leg rests.... Continue Reading