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The silent foundation of U.S. manufacturing

November 26, 2007

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On Sunday, after the Thanksgiving guests departed, with enough turkey leftovers to last for the next few millennia or so, and with my wife and 9-month-old daughter out at a brunch, I had a quiet moment to sit.Yes, sit. And as any parent knows, sitting is not something somebody with a 9-month-old...

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A top 10 list from FABTECH & AWS Show

November 16, 2007

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North America"s largest metal fabricating technology show is over, and for those who couldn"t make it to Chicago this week, I"m hoping to help you out. Here"s a list of the top 10 things that caught my attention at the 2007 FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show:Everyone knows that dust...

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Notes on FABTECH

November 15, 2007

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WARNING: I'm on FABTECH overload. I'm back in my office looking at stacks of press kits about products featured at the 2007 FABTECH International & AWS Welding Show that wrapped up Wednesday. Held in Chicago, this year's show was the largest I've seen in my nine years with the...

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Raise your hand

November 14, 2007

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On Monday Jim Reeb, director, manufacturing R&D for Caterpillar, asked some hard-hitting questions of several hundred members of the metal fabrication industry.So how many of you want your children to grow up to be welders? A fraction of the audience members raised their hand. OK, now how many...

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Speaking out on aerospace manufacturing

November 9, 2007

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It"s refreshing to hear someone speak frankly about a subject without business jargon or feel-good mumbo jumbo sprinkled throughout the conversation. They are speaking off-the-cuff and obviously have enough confidence in themselves or their support structure to not think twice about being candid....

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Cutting the pipeline

November 7, 2007

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This week two metal tube and pipe companies announced plant closings.Wolverine Tube Inc. announced Nov. 6 that it will discontinue its U.S. plumbing tube business and will close manufacturing facilities located in Decatur, Ala., and Booneville, Miss. The same day, U.S. Pipe & Foundry announced that...

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Keep your powder dry

November 6, 2007

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When tool and die maker Michael Ward Sr. started Ward Manufacturing Co. in 1936, one principle gave the business a solid foundation: Keep your powder dry.That"s according to the founder"s grandson, Tom Ward, vice president of the Evanston, Ill., company, now under its third generation of...

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To serve is to lead

November 2, 2007

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Piccadilly Restaurants are a chain of restaurants that started out in Baton Rouge, La. The chain now has locations all over the Southeast, but to be honest, I haven"t eaten at one since the early 1990s when I made the move to the Chicago area.After spending a week at leadership training, the...

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’Tis the season to give … of yourself

November 1, 2007

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Over the past 12 months I've held tight to my plan to discuss the skilled welder shortage in my editorials. I've shared stories of companies finding ways to train welders and foundations trying to expose young adults to the industry. As a result, several readers have reached out to share with me...

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Heavy metal

October 31, 2007

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It's Halloween, and to celebrate I thought I'd Google "Halloween metal," just to see what results the phrase would conjure up. I entered the words in quotation marks to try and limit the number of results. Among the 85,900 links returned were sites that featured metal Halloween...

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Are you ready for boarding?

October 29, 2007

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Last week Chew Choon Seng hosted a symbolic event in aviation history. The CEO of Singapore Airlines threw a party more than 30,000 feet in the air, where he strolled the aisles in his company"s new crown jewel: the Airbus A380. After years of delays, the thing is finally airborne. From Singapore"s...

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Revving up in China

October 24, 2007

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While the U.S. auto industry is busy dealing with the dollar-yen exchange rate, contract negotiations with the UAW, rising fuel prices, falling sales, and a "product so mediocre they need to bribe customers with incentives to buy American," (quote from a Forbes article Detroit to Japan: Strengthen...

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There's no place like home

October 23, 2007

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It boils down to a simple fact: Consumers get picky.That"s according to Chris Kuehl, Ph.D., managing director of Lawrence, Kan.-based Armada Corporate Intelligence. The economist stopped by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association (FMA), International, headquarters last week to communicate some...

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Change is necessary for China

October 19, 2007

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Everyone needs a bogeyman. Superman has Lex Luthor. Conservatives in the U.S. have the left-wing media; liberals have the right-wing conspiracy. The Boston Red Sox have the New York Yankees. Sometimes it"s just easier getting through life when you can focus your negative energies on one particular...

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Domestic steel's image

October 18, 2007

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Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner and presentation hosted by the Outside Processors Council (OPC). The council, organized in 1997 with the assistance of the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) Outside Processing Managers Committee, serves metal producers, service centers, and...

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