Something about pulling together 150 manufacturers in one place that things start to get real interesting:
— The Board passed a number of resolutions — one calling for Judge Roberts’ confirmation, and others on China and on site security. We’ll post them all tomorrow in this space.
— Energy continued to be the theme of this meeting. Whenever two or more manufacturers gathered, energy was the topic of the moment. The topic progressed like this: “Business is good, but energy costs are stifling; we need to do something about prices; we need to do something about supply; why not find new sources for energy like ANWR and the Outer Continental Shelf; why does France get 80% of its energy form nuclear and we don’t? Time to get Congress to act.” That’s how it went. Expect building pressure from the Heartland for Congress to set about the task of lifting long-outdated restrictions on finding new energy sources.
— “If Congress can blame China”, said one Board member, “It gives them an excuse not to work hard.”
— The Board heard from new SEC Chairman Chris Cox and Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing Al Frink. Both are friends, were well-received.
— Incoming NAM Chairman Jim Berges of Emerson said of our 22% cost disadvantage vs. our trading partners: This is “a headwind of our own making.” He went on to note that we rank 16th in the world in broadband deployment, largely because of a hostile and cumbersome regulatory scheme. Time to bring that into the 21st Century.
— Tiny Quality Float Works (15 employees) of Schaumburg, Illinois — their CEO, Sandy Westlund-Deenihan is one of our newest small manufacturer directors. A third (or is it fourth?) generation member of this 90-plus year-old company. They make a floating metal pump (“How do they do that?”, asked everyone). Somebody asks, “Do you export?” They do indeed — to seven countries! As NAM President John Engler always says, there is no division between large and small, the division is between those who are in the global economy and those who are not. Guess this makes Quality Float Works a “multi-national.”
All in all, new energy and leadership under John Engler. The gavel came down on the meeting today, but folks left with renewed vim and vigor. Manufacturers are and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with. We drive the economy, we intend to drive the agenda as well.
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