FMA Communications Inc.

Vicki Bell

Web Content Manager
FMA Communications Inc.
833 Featherstone Road
Rockford, IL 61107

Yes, Virginia, low-skill factory jobs still can be found, but

October 11, 2012


Tuesday’s “Fabricating Update” e-newsletter featured comments by Ed Youdell, president and CEO of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International®, about the first annual Manufacturing Day. The event, which was co-sponsored and -produced by FMA, was a big success as more than... Continue Reading

From one metalworker to another and beyond

October 4, 2012


Last week I wrote about a welder who called me to discuss some health concerns and wondered if his company should be having its welders take blood tests. A metalworker who read the blog post, “A call from Chet,” related very much to Chet’s concerns and shared his thoughts with me via e-mail.... Continue Reading

A call from 'Chet'

September 27, 2012


Had an interesting phone call this week. A welder who’s been plying his trade for 18 years called to talk about some job-related health concerns he has. He called me because of an article I wrote eight years ago: “Welding fume health hazards.” Since the article was written, various... Continue Reading

Evolution and politics

September 19, 2012


(Warning … this is a personal rant. Feel free to rant back.) I love the U.S.—the principles on which our country was founded, our constitution, freedoms, and diversity. I hate politics. Never have these statements been truer for me than in this political season. On second thought … I recall... Continue Reading

Thank you, welders

September 12, 2012


Tuesday was the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The September "Fabricating Update" e-newsletter that went out that day described the safety elements that went into the design of the new One World Trade Center building. It also made special note of the... Continue Reading

Where is your career going?

September 5, 2012


We hear a lot these days about the plight of employers looking for skilled workers and job seekers who can’t find jobs. What we don’t hear about too often—mostly because they are so grateful to be employed and want to remain so—is how the employed among us really feel about their jobs and... Continue Reading

Low-key Labor Day celebration

August 30, 2012


The workweek is winding down, and the Labor Day Weekend is upon us. As I thought about what my family might do to “celebrate,” it occurred to me that I don’t really feel all that inclined to celebrate. Yes, I’m grateful to have the day off to relax and maybe catch up on some much-needed... Continue Reading

Middle class and concerned

August 23, 2012


Every time I see the words “middle class” in an article title, I read the article. Why? Because I relate. I consider myself middle class, and I want to know if what is happening in my middle-class life also is happening to others in my economic circle. I’m looking for reassurance that the... Continue Reading

Spreading the word about manufacturing beyond the choir

August 15, 2012


Have you read the article “A moral argument for manufacturing?” If you haven’t, please do, and if you agree with the author’s premise that the only way to really change the landscape for manufacturing in the U.S. is to bring the moral argument for its existence to the collective... Continue Reading

The sure path to economic success?

August 1, 2012


No one would argue that postsecondary education is the most likely path to greater earnings and a better quality of life. However, just how much education and what type is debatable. For decades, parents and educators have preached fervently that a college education—preferably at a top-tier... Continue Reading

'When working was seen as an honorable thing'

July 25, 2012


You may have read the blog entry “Money and prestige” that was posted on in June. The post discussed why more young people aren’t taking advantage of training opportunities such as the one being offered by Marinette, Wis.-based shipbuilder Marinette Marine. This topic was... Continue Reading

Will Olympic uniform outrage be the catalyst for change?

July 19, 2012


By now, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Ralph Lauren, and you probably have heard much about the U.S. Olympic athletes’ official uniforms, and I don’t mean their style. A July 12 report on the ABC program World News Tonight featured a look at the uniforms designed by Ralph Lauren and... Continue Reading

How fabricators are faring this summer

July 12, 2012


It’s summer, a time when some companies (not ice cream and sno-cone vendors) experience a lull in business. Although a summer lull most often is a temporary situation, businesses worldwide fear any slowdown as being an indicator of a possible move back into a recession. On its website and... Continue Reading

'Money and prestige'

June 20, 2012


A colleague brought an interesting article to my attention the other day. The article, published on, told the story of Marinette, Wis.-based shipbuilder Marinette Marine and its struggles to attract young workers. Among its efforts are reaching out to local schools and offering paid... Continue Reading

Manufacturing and U.S. competitiveness

June 13, 2012


You may have read or heard something today about how the world views the U.S. The Pew Research Center has released its Global Attitudes Survey findings, and pundits have been quick to jump on and analyze the results, particularly as they relate to this year’s presidential contest and the two main... Continue Reading