Taking place from February 28 to March 2, 2017, Foam Expo will unite manufacturers and buyers of technical foam materials, products and services, catering to the entire foam manufacturing industry for North America’s first free-to-attend exhibition and conference for the entire technical foam supply chain.
Foam Expo serves all types of foam and raw materials used in the manufacture of foam and foam-related products, including the comfort and technical foam markets. Featuring over 200 exhibiting companies, the exhibition will profile molded, rigid and flexible foam solutions utilizing materials ranging from urethanes to elastomeric materials such as rubber and PVC, as well as a full range of equipment and machinery manufacturers plus a wide range of foam service providers including Dow, Rogers, Honeywell, FXi, 3M, Foam Supplies Inc, Grand Rapids Foam Technologies, Lear Corp, Nitto Automotive, Huntington Foam, Zotefoams, Saint Gobain, Sekisui Voltek, UFP Technologies and Woodbridge Foam Corp. The end result will be a single marketplace for foam manufacturers to meet with their supply chain and existing and potential buyers.
In its launch year, Foam Expo will host 20 sessions, two tracks, and more than 50 speakers over three days. It will showcase the latest product applications, services, and equipment from six key sectors: automotive; aerospace; industrial/technical packaging; construction; medical; and sports and leisure.
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Dear President Trump,
First, congratulations on your victory in last year’s hard fought campaign. You connected with tens of millions of American who have trusted you with their hopes for the future.
As CEO of one of the boating industry’s largest companies with manufacturing across the USA, over 1,000 employees, and distribution in 70 countries, I want to do my best to be helpful and constructive. With that in mind, the following are some thoughts I believe will help our country continue to grow even stronger than it is today; I hope you will consider the following:
- Rise above partisan politics – Mr. President, I have spent time with both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House and am disheartened by partisan politics. When I meet with members of either party I realize there are many items (that would be good for our country) on which we mutually agree. However, unfortunately, many seem to focus on the periphery where we disagree and appear to be more interested in their team (party) than making progress. I hope you will step above this and help us all focus on the areas on which we can make progress.
- Embrace the inevitable aspects of the global marketplace – Mr. President, the world is changing fast and will soon be much different than the world we have experienced the past few decades. I have been privileged to visit over 100 countries and the economic growth I have seen around the world is not only impressive but also provides many customers and great opportunity for the U.S. If we become protectionist the 95 percent of the world who are not in the USA can grow without us. We can compete with anyone so let’s not be afraid to use our influence to develop trade agreements that lower tariffs on U.S. products and level the playing field by requiring other countries to accept reasonable labor and environmental regulation. With this in mind, I respectfully ask you to take another look at the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP); I believe it is an agreement that helps US businesses, will help protect jobs in the U.S., and sets rules that are beneficial to U.S. businesses.
- Ensure reasonable regulation – Mr. President, the travels I mentioned have taken me places that have no, minimal or unenforced regulations and it is not good. I have been in countries where you are smart to wear a mask to breathe and would never go in the water. Actually, this is how many U.S. cities were during the industrial revolution (before reasonable regulation). As a CEO I don’t want burdensome regulation and can assure you our company will do our best to be responsible corporate citizens and treat our employees and environment right, with or without regulation. However, both history and examples around the world today show us that without some reasonable regulation people and the environment suffer. I hope you will work hard to find the right balance.
- Help CEOs with our biggest problem: Finding good people – Mr. President, as you know, 10,000 baby boomers retire every day. If you get any 100 CEOs together I’ll bet that at least half of them will say that their biggest challenge is finding good people. The U.S. economy is at risk of being throttled in the years ahead because of this problem. We need an effective immigration policy that will allow good people into the U.S. to help us fill these jobs; immigration has fueled our country’s economic growth for over 200 years and it is in our country’s best interest today.
- Address income inequality – Mr. President, I fully understand and embrace the model of nicely rewarding those who work hard and take risks; it is the American way. However, income inequality is going to be a huge problem in the U.S. if we don’t address it soon. I have been encouraged to read about Henry Ford’s view on this and more recently David Green of Hobby Lobby’s perspective. U.S. employers can pay fair wages and benefits and still make a reasonable return to their shareholders; in fact, I believe in the long run they improve that return by treating people well.
- Leverage energy advancement to our broader benefit – Mr. President, as you know technological improvements in both carbon based and photovoltaic energy development will provide the U.S. with a significant energy windfall in the years ahead. I hope we can develop national policies that (instead of exporting that energy) will encourage U.S. manufacturers to use the windfall to process U.S. goods less expensively which will make our products even more competitive in the global market.
- Embrace technological changes – Mr. President, the technological changes in the years ahead will be more than we can imagine today. While most of these changes will be hugely positive overall, they will be understandably scary to those who will be displaced or lose their livelihoods because of the changes. I encourage you to fully embrace those changes even though they may cause disruption. While we need to assist those disrupted and help them transition to different roles it would be a long-term mistake for our country to take a protective role and slow technological change.
- Fix our infrastructure – Mr. President, based on your comments during the campaign, you clearly understand the need to improve our infrastructure. I agree and believe we can make these improvements without increasing our national debt. As you work to fix this big problem I encourage you to remember our national debt problem when considering funding alternatives that make the most progress at the least cost.
- Execute tax reform – Mr. President, as you know, we have big problems with our corporate tax laws. We need corporate tax rates that are globally competitive. However, we all remember experiences in the last few decades where tax reform that was supposed to shrink our deficit actually significantly increased it; I encourage you to look at those examples and determine what we can learn from them. We also need tax reform that will bring to our country the trillions of dollars U.S. businesses hold overseas because of onerous tax rates; these dollars could even be used for the infrastructure improvements we need.
Mr. President, I know you have much more on your plate than just these items but I hope you will consider what I have suggested. You have a unique opportunity to be a different President; one who gets things done. I believe the above will help our boating industry which provides good jobs, will help the overall U.S. economy, and go a long way to ensuring your successful presidency.
Bill Yeargin is the president and CEO of Correct Craft.
Look for a feature on Correct Craft in the upcoming March/April 2017 issue of Manufacturing Today.
The creation of an outdoor recreation industry office established Colorado as a leader in one of the nation’s most critical economic segments.
By Tim O’Connor
The most striking thing about Colorado’s outdoor recreation manufacturers is how interconnected they are. Snowboard maker Never Summer shares its manufacturing facility in Denver with ski company Icelantic. Likewise, knife company Spyderco, located in Golden, Colo., teamed up with Never Summer to create a limited edition snowboard and knife set aimed at firefighters.
It’s not uncommon for local manufacturers to do business with one another, but Colorado is finding new ways to foster these kinds of symbiotic relationships. Two organizations – one public and one private – are leading that charge.
Something Independent is a group that combines leadership, lifestyle and commerce by promoting interconnections between companies and celebrates achievement. The organization is perhaps best known for its Wright Awards, an annual event that honors Colorado entrepreneurs who developed inspired business ideas. From his vantage point as the organization’s co-founder, Chuck Sullivan has witnessed how mashing different industries together in the same room can start a conversation and lead to greater business connections. “Little things like that can spark big opportunities,” he says. “Colorado is on the cusp of something that has been here for a long time.”
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By Pedro Suarez, President, Dow USA at The Dow Chemical Company
Today is Manufacturing Day – a day set aside every year when the men and women who make the products that change the world, celebrate those who experiment, invent and create. Although for me and my Dow colleagues, every day is manufacturing day.
My story in manufacturing began when I was a young boy in Argentina, and since then has crossed businesses, borders, and even continents. It has led to a lifetime of being inspired by inventing and creating something new, something I could hold in my two hands; and by the diversity of experiences, cultures and challenges I experienced along the way. Yet today I see young people who don’t know that science, technology, engineering, and math careers are exciting, accessible, and full of opportunity.
The seeds of my career in manufacturing were planted a generation ago when my father, the first born in Argentina to a Spanish immigrant, began to work at seven years old. His education in the classroom ended early, but the lessons of the printing business helped him to support his family throughout his life. His work ethic inspired me. He was a “maker.” And he encouraged me to pursue math and science, because he saw a talent and an opportunity to go into a technical field and have a better life than he had.
That seed took root thanks to an elementary teacher who put chemistry in my hands as a young boy. Through a simple lab demonstration of distillation, I saw the magic of chemistry. My curiosity grew as I worked in a chemistry lab in high school. This set me on a chemical engineering track, and I’ve never looked back. A few years later, I found my way to Dow where my colleagues and I have shared different cultures and perspectives as we innovate our way towards solutions to the most difficult problems our world faces.
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By John Boudreau
It’s that time of year again when many companies are beginning to think about 2017.
It’s strategic planning season.
This post is not for those companies who have been doing strategic planning for years and have a solid process in place resulting in a clear plan.
This post is also not for those companies who are also tracking their plan each month and making adjustments to their plan so they can end the year where they planned.
This post is for you if your company falls into one these two groups
(1) You currently have no formal strategic planning process. “Formal” means you set aside focused time to think strategically about your business (typically in some off-site with your leadership team).
(2) You do not track your plan other than looking at your financials in an Excel spreadsheet each month
I think that companies just do not do “strategic planning” because it seems so daunting. Owners picture endless meetings and wasted time.
So, here’s a “lightweight” strategic planning framework that is proven to drive greater profitabilty.
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FABTECH 2016 will no doubt bring to the forefront all that is new and exciting in the metalforming industry. But it also serves to highlight some of the industry's challenges, and how the market is combating them. One of the key issues facing the sector is the lack of skilled workers coming into the fold. This year's RUN4MFG 5K, on the morning of Nov. 18, aims to raise money in support of the industry's future.
Now in its fourth year, the RUN4MFG 5K benefits nonprofit educational foundations and scholarship programs managed by FABTECH partners – the American Welding Society, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International, SME, the Precision Metalforming Association, and the Chemical Coaters Association International. In addition to supporting a good cause, the event provides a unique setting for the more than 28,000 exhibitors and attendees at FABTECH to congregate, promote good health and show unity as an industry.
“The RUN4MFG 5K is another example of our support for the metal fabricating industry,” says John Catalano, SME senior director, FABTECH. “It’s incredibly important to us to foster a learning environment at FABTECH and reinvest in the people who make manufacturing innovations possible. Our trades need highly skilled labor more than ever. The RUN4MFG 5K helps us bring attention to that in a fun and healthy way.”
The 3.1-mile route takes participants through Town Square Las Vegas, located on the south end of the famous Las Vegas Strip. Town Square is approximately 2-5 miles from most major hotels on the Las Vegas Strip and approximately 9 miles from the Las Vegas Convention Center. Participants should meet at:
Town Square Las Vegas
6605 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Northwest Corner of Parking Lot
Key Event Details
--Date: Friday, November 18, 2016
--Registration Opens: 6:30 a.m.
--5K Start Time: 7 a.m.
--Entry Fee: $35 -- Cost includes a FABTECH 2016 RUN4MFG shirt (After November 4, fee is $50)
A number of sponsorship opportunities are available for companies that would like to support the event. Benefits of sponsoring range from complimentary race registrations and promotional items in drawstring bags, to company logos on participant shirts and event signage. The sponsorship application deadline is Oct. 14, 2016.
For more information about the RUN4MFG 5K, including how to register as a participant or a sponsor, please visit fabtechexpo.com/run4mfg.
The Precision Metalforming Association is launching a new program to attract leaders to the manufacturing industry.
It's no question that the manufacturing industry is in major need of workers, and many organizations and companies are doing what they can to attract new people. Especially as one generation of workers heads into retirement, the industry understands the importance of attracting younger recruits. The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) is doing its part with its MFG NXT program. On Wednesday, June 29, the next generation of manufacturing leaders will gather in Independence, Ohio, for the launch of MFG NXT, an exciting recruitment and retention initiative sponsored by the PMA. MFG NXT is an ideas hub and support network for Millennials and Gen Xers who are quickly rising through the ranks of the manufacturing industry.
“We need to nurture a new generation of leaders to ensure that the manufacturing industry continues to keep growing, embracing new technologies, and adapting to a changing world,” says PMA President Bill Gaskin. “MFG NXT is all about bringing together talented young manufacturing leaders who are committed to success in their companies and to the future of the U.S. manufacturing sector.”
The first MFG NXT event is scheduled for 11:30 am – 6:00 pm at the PMA headquarters in Independence. Attendees will hear from leadership and generational workforce expert Linda L. Bluso, J.D., CEO & Founder of the Adaptive Knowledge Institute. Bluso will provide critical insights and advice for creating a cohesive multi-generational workforce for your business.
In addition to Bluso’s keynote remarks, the MFG NXT Roundtable will feature a roundtable discussion of key issues affecting the next generation of manufacturers; a planning session for the next steps for MFG NXT; and, a craft beer-tasting reception sponsored by Fat Head’s Brewery.
MFG NXT is open to top young talent, high potential employees, and next-generation leaders who are looking for opportunities to network with peers and gain the knowledge and tools needed to grow and succeed in manufacturing.
Online registration is available on the PMA website.
PMA is the full-service trade association representing the $137-billion metalforming industry of North America—the industry that creates precision metal products using stamping, fabricating, spinning, slide forming, and roll forming technologies, as well as other value-added processes. Its nearly 900 member companies also include suppliers of equipment, materials, and services to the industry. PMA leads innovative member companies toward superior competitiveness and profitability through advocacy, networking, statistics, the PMA Educational Foundation, FABTECH and METALFORM Mexico tradeshows, and MetalForming, Fabricating Product News, and 3D Metal Printing magazines.
Small Manufacturers Influencing Local Policy and Educational Institutions
By Jeff Applegate
We, the small manufacturer, are greatly influenced by the decisions made and programs developed by our local government and educational institutions. There are resources such as the National Association of Manufacturers that lobby on a national level for manufacturing, but do not have the resources to work in cities and counties. The local government and educational institutions are here to serve the community, but most often don’t really know the concerns of small manufacturers. They certainly talk to the large employers, eat at local restaurants, visit retailers and attend business meetings downtown that attract the suits from banks, law firms and service companies. Unfortunately, there is not a great vehicle for the small manufacturing company to communicate their needs or concerns and seek to influence the policy and programs being developed.
I think it is fair to say that few of us small manufacturers make the time to attend these events or enjoy dressing up, shaking hands and building relationships with those that direct the resources of our tax dollars and make policy decisions impacting our organizations. However, it is imperative that our opinion and interests are represented where decisions made can significantly benefit or burden us.
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Plays Well With Others
By Jeff Applegate
There is a lot of truth to the theory that much of what we need to be successful as adults we learned by the time we were two. How well we “play with others” is an indicator of our skills to consider and see value in others’ ideas, accept others’ opinions, share in their activities and learn from, grow with and gain benefit from working as a team.
I have been writing on the key attributes that have contributed to the success of a local manufacturing association. One of the questions we asked was why does the city of Houston need another association? There are so many good groups working to put on networking events, socials and educational programs. What we saw was many industry specific or special interest groups that were working to serve the community, train in professional development and provide networking opportunities. There was no common voice and consolidator of the entire manufacturing community.
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Hunt in a Pack
By Jeff Applegate
My father, who was a salesman in the steel business, used to tell me “nothing happens until you sell something.” Growing revenue and providing consistent work for our manufacturing operations is the primary responsibility of a business owner and manufacturing leader, and it is the principal driver of creating value in our companies.
When forming the Greater Houston Manufacturers Association, we opened our doors to our manufacturing neighbors and began getting to know each other, trading best practice and finding things we shared in common. We initially formed the organization around Houston’s Texas Medical Center. The Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the United States and invests more than $2 billion annually in research and development. We learned that companies harvesting this technology were commercializing the products outside the state. When we asked why they did not do it in Houston, the answer was that Houston did not have the manufacturing resources to do the work that needed to be done. The fact is that the resources were and are in Houston, but the thousands of owner-operator manufacturing companies were silently operating in their own silos and few knew how broad and capable the resources were in our own backyard.
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