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|Our Most Important Responsibility
For most companies in our business, it was a very good year. Surprisingly, the business came back almost as quickly as it went down three years ago. Let’s keep in mind, of course, that all of this is going on during unprecedented challenges in our country and world. So, I’d like to urge you to consider two things: one as an industry corporate citizen and one as an American citizen.
Get involved in your local community to help manufacturing. In March 2011 at The MFG Meeting, our annual meeting, AMTDA gave the first annual award for “Industry Involvement” to Terry Iverson from the Iverson Company in Chicago. Terry started a program called CHAMPION-which is an acronym for Changing How American Manufacturing is Perceived In Our Nation. Terry is trying his best to tell people about the great jobs available in our business. He spends hours each month at schools, at career nights, doing tours at his facility, and on the radio. In short, Terry will go anywhere and do anything to advocate for careers in manufacturing.
Pete Borden, Senator Rob Portman, and Greg Jones Meet in the Capital
Since both of us are constituents from Ohio, Greg Jones and I visited with Senator Rob Portman and some of his staff members on Capitol Hill to discuss the issue of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education in our schools, the importance of starting that education early in K-12, and in involving parents in a positive way to get their kids interested in manufacturing as a career again. We also discussed the importance of renewing Sec. 179 Bonus Depreciation to our industry. In the current climate in Washington, budget issues may continue to take longer to resolve, but as business leaders, we can’t let up.
Then there is what we might do as citizens on a broader, more macro, scale. Certainly, Americans are known as charitable people. Private and corporate contributions donate over three billion dollars every year. All of our companies contribute to charities through the United Fund and others, and as individuals we contribute to our churches, flood, earthquake, tornado and hurricane relief, etc. Besides our money, these organizations, and more importantly, the people that they support, need our time. I know all of you are working, running, fighting to keep up in your daily schedules’ and time is precious, but frankly, more of us need to get focused outside of ourselves and our companies, and I would encourage CEO’s and managers to endorse and foster these volunteer activities in our communities.
Websites such as www.serve.gov, and www.servicenation.org, and your local charities can give you suggestions about how you can volunteer. With US student test scores now at 17th in the world in math, science and reading, there are many opportunities here. Tom Brokaw’s new book on the The Time of our Lives describes the power of the many volunteer non- profits organizations to solve issues such as breast cancer, diabetes or drunk driving.
I was fortunate to work for a man named Bill Walker in Cincinnati who lead by example and worked for more causes than I can list. He lived the legacy of stewardship and the responsibility to leave our society better off than we found it.