FMA Communications Inc.

Vicki Bell

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

New Year, less money

January 9, 2013

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It’s a New Year, and we escaped falling off the fiscal cliff, thanks to the very last-minute, drama-laden efforts of Congress to pass a bill to avert a much-portended catastrophe. In fact, if you went to bed too early on New Year’s Eve, which I apparently did, you fell asleep thinking we were...

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Chipmunks on the fiscal cliff

December 18, 2012

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In 2009 and 2010, I offered a little tongue-in-cheek look at current issues in December blog posts—one a parody of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the other, a really lame take on “Let it Snow.” This year, I was motivated by Alvin and the Chipmunks to revive this holiday exercise to...

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Thoughts on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary

December 18, 2012

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It’s difficult to write today. The events of last Friday, Dec. 14, continue to weigh on my mind and the minds of everyone I know. Looking at all the sweet faces of innocent young children and those brave souls who tried to protect them is almost unbearable. You can’t do so without thinking of...

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Go north, young welder?

December 13, 2012

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Recently, my fellow blogger Tim Heston published a post that cited a New York Times article from November about how entry level pay in manufacturing is waning. The article quoted a Boston Consulting Group report that actually questioned the skilled labor crisis: "Trying to hire high-skilled workers...

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Another training option

December 5, 2012

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Last week I wrote about vocational training—how programs that were being decimated a decade ago are seeing a strong comeback with even stronger participation. Many are adding classes to accommodate waiting lists. While music to manufacturers’ ears, this training alone likely will not be enough...

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Vocational training a good bet

November 28, 2012

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Among my job duties is scouring the Internet for news of interest to the metal fabricating community. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t run across items related to a topic of particular interest to metal fabricators—the shortage of skilled labor. It seems that every notable publication...

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Letter to the President

November 7, 2012

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Dear President Obama: Congratulations on your reelection. Although I did not vote for you, I sincerely wish you the best of luck and fervently hope that you are able to work with our gridlocked Congress to enact measures that will help our economy. Frankly, I am discouraged by the past four years,...

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Putting the storm into perspective

October 31, 2012

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Despite all of the advancements of mankind, we are not—and likely never will be—a match for Mother Nature. Whether it’s an earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado, typhoon, drought, flooding, volcanic eruption, or some other natural disaster of epic proportion, Mother Nature has a way of...

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No votes for education?

October 24, 2012

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The current survey on thefabricator.com’s homepage asks which issue in the upcoming presidential election is most important to site visitors. It’s no surprise that the economy, including taxes, debt and deficit, and jobs, is the No. 1 concern with 55 percent of the votes. Of the 13 remaining...

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Just answer the question, please

October 17, 2012

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Today’s subject is pet peeves—more specifically, those that struck a nerve with me in last night’s presidential debate. Let me begin by listing a few of my pet peeves: Tardiness; the phrase “my bad” uttered by anyone over the age of 4; negativity; rude behavior, such as interrupting and...

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

October 11, 2012

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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...

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From one metalworker to another and beyond

October 4, 2012

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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....

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A call from 'Chet'

September 27, 2012

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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...

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Evolution and politics

September 19, 2012

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(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...

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Thank you, welders

September 12, 2012

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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...

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