Welders vs. Philosophers

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) won a round of applause from the audience at the fourth Republican primary in Milwaukee, Wisc., when he suggested the United States needs more welders and fewer philosophers. Overall, America needs far more people in the skilled trades. The NAM’s Manufacturing Institute estimates that, over the next 10 years, a gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (or STEM) skills will result in more than 2 million jobs in manufacturing left unfilled. That talent shortage threatens not only the manufacturing resurgence in America but also the level of economic growth the United States requires to keep our future brighter than our past.

So it’s time more Americans aspired to careers in manufacturing, which, to the senator’s point, are not only highly respectable but also highly compensated. Students and parents need to see STEM fields as exciting, empowering—and worthy to pursuing.

That’s a part of the message David Landon, welding engineering manager of NAM member company Vermeer Corporation, took to Fox Business. Watch.


The Manufacturing Renaissance on NBC Rock Center with Brian Williams

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Manufacturers are the pride of this country and they continue to produce the innovations that are integral to each of our lives and the economic security of our country. Last night, NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams reported on the manufacturing renaissance that is happening all across the country and highlighted the efforts of Mary Andringa, NAM Chair and CEO of Vermeer Corporation, a manufacturer of agricultural, environmental and construction equipment in Pella, Iowa.

As the story reports, it is evident that manufacturing has changed, transforming its operations and products to be high tech, clean and efficient. Manufacturing also remains a bright spot in our economic recovery, fighting against unprecedented headwinds to hire skilled workers and invest in high tech facilities.

The Vermeer Corporation is a perfect example of the manufacturing legacy and the future of the industry. Vermeer has for decades supported their local and state economy and is a key player in the global manufacturing economy selling their products in over 70 countries around the world. Andringa also drives Vermeer to live by the company’s founding principle, ‘in search of a better way’, by constantly improving their products and operations to exceed the demands of their customers.

Andringa remarks in the story, “I think successful manufacturers take charge of the opportunities that are out there. They’re innovative in their approaches and they’re also pretty tenacious. They have to stay after better products, better costs and understand what their customers really want and what they’ll pay for.”

The manufacturing renaissance is happening and it’s bringing with it new opportunities for our country, the global economy, and future generations.

Dispatch from the Front: The Week of January 3, 2011

By | Dispatch from the Front, General | No Comments

The first week of 2011 is a busy and ceremonial one in Washington. President Obama returns from his Hawaii vacation to the White House on Tuesday afternoon. The U.S. Senate and House convene at noon Wednesday for the opening of the 112th Congress.

In the House, Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) will be elected Speaker of the House on Wednesday. On Thursday, the House floor session features a reading of the U.S. Constitution. Speculation builds about a House vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the health care law, and extension of the debt ceiling.

In the Senate, the session begins Wednesday with a presentation of the certificates of election and the swearing in of elected members. Morning business follows.

With the arrival of 2011, the National Association of Manufacturers now has a new chairman of the board of directors, Mary Andringa, president and CEO of the Iowa-based Vermeer. She began her two-year term as chairman on Jan. 1, 2011, succeeding Mike Campbell. Doug Oberhelman, CEO of Caterpillar, is the NAM’s new vice chairman.

Executive Branch: The White House and Executive Branch agencies have yet to release public schedules for the week, so we dig for this: The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future on Thursday tours the Savannah River site for storage of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste, and on Friday the Commission holds a public hearing in Augusta, Ga. (Details and news coverage.)

Economic Reports: The Institute for Supply Management today releases its manufacturing report. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reports on factory orders in November. On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announces the employment situation and unemployment rate for December. For more, see The Los Angeles Times, “Slew of economic data due could sway Wall Street.” You know, you can write that same headline nearly every week.

The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) starts Thursday in Las Vegas, with manufacturers front and center. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer delivers the pre-show keynote address Wednesday. Other speakers during the week: Verizon’s CEO, Ivan Seidenberg; Robert Stadler, chairman of the board of Audi AG; Boo-Keun Yoon, president of Samsung; Cisco CEO John Chambers; GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt:  Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns; and Alan Mullaly, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company.

Congratulations to the new governors already sworn into office: Andrew Cuomo of New York, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Rick Snyder of Michigan. Snyder enjoyed an auspicious beginning:  The Detroit Lions beat the Vikings. Today, Governor Jerry Brown retakes office in California, and Brian Sandoval is sworn in as governor of Nevada. In all, there will be 29 new governors in 2011.

Iowa’s Mary Andriga to Chair National Association of Manufacturers

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The Des Moines Register notes last week’s news from the National Association of Manufacturers, “Vermeer chief Mary Andringa named to lead manufacturers”:

Vermeer Corp. chief Mary Vermeer Andringa is the first woman and the third Iowan to be elected to chair of the National Association of Manufacturers.

The association’s board of directors selected her last week for a two-year term that begins Jan. 1.

Andringa, 60, is completing a two-year term as association vice chairwoman. She will be replaced by Caterpillar chief Douglas R. Oberhelman when she takes over as chairwoman in January.

The top leadership position at the nation’s largest manufacturers association typically goes to the head of a large corporation. Andringa is the third executive from a small or medium-sized manufacturing company to lead the association, the group said.

Other Iowans who have led the group were Daniel Krumm of Maytag Corp. in 1980 and Richard Kautz of Grain Processing Corp. of Muscatine in 1976.

NAM releases …