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Meet the well-heeled manufacturing executive who never left the shop floor!
Magda Dexter of Saint-Gobain talks about workforce development
If you're a manufacturer almost anywhere in the world, you're having some challenges hiring the people you need. That's been Magda Dexter's specialty at Saint-Gobain North America, where she's Sr. VP of Communication and Human Resources. She joins us to tell all about their excellent efforts to attract the talent they need, with initiatives like formal mentoring programs, second-chance hiring for the formerly incarcerated, a focus on recruiting military veterans, and so on. Tune in and check out the whole thing - there are lots of ideas here you can copy!
The guys from Aprio are here to tell us the state of the manufacturing business!
For Episode 78, we're joined by Adam Beckerman and Simeon Wallace at Aprio, a CPA-led Advisory Firm with over 700 clients in their Manufacturing and Distribution Practice. Their quarterly "Manufacturing and Distribution Insights" report is a great look into the state of business for American industry. Simeon is Chief Investment Officer and leader of Aprio’s Wealth Management Practice, and Adam is Manufacturing and Distribution Industry Practice Leader and Assurance Partner at Aprio, so they bring a whole lot of expertise to the subject. The latest issue had some good news for manufacturers, including falling input prices and rising manufacturing sentiment from the Institute for Supply Managers. Adam and Simeon dive into all the details and give their insights about the current state of things and where they think we're headed. Tune in and hear the whole expert story! Link to the Aprio report: https://www.aprio.com/6-manufacturing-distribution-insights-from-q4-2023-and-what-they-mean-for-you/?utm_campaign=Manufacturing%20%26%20Distribution%202023&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=280490226&_hsenc=p2ANqtz--amAn4KMyPVhJGSc5pOQ19PsA0Ht2SlcIVRZESNQ7JbejCLoz6wlBRbI4KGdiQgIU9vdf8gbru0McLFhOyT3aGZkIV4A&utm_content=280490226&utm_source=hs_email
He's a walking encyclopedia about the bicycle industry!
Mark Stemmy joins us for our Episode 77 to talk about all things cycling. He's the founder of Optimized Cycling Solutions (https://optimizedcycling.com/), "a bicycle studio focused on bespoke products and services, offering custom frames and complete bikes, built in the U.S.A. and Italy." Plus he's spent decades in the business, and he talks about that history he has with the industry. He goes into great detail about the headwinds the bicycle business is facing these days and why it's got a lot of the players very nervous. And he tells us the hot trends that will carry the industry forward, as well as his own plans for how he's going to negotiate the rocky road ahead. If you're a bike nut, you should tune in for a major fix of cycling geekiness! And if you're not, you should tune in for one whale of an educational episode!
Our host tells about the craziness happening with electricity in Michigan and what it means for you!
Manufacturers uniquely rely on affordable, reliable energy for their business models. Unfortunately, legislators in Michigan's House of Representatives just last week passed a bill that will make our electricity a lot more expensive and a lot less reliable. Here are the basics: Even before last week's bill, Michigan was already on a path to big problems, with plans to shut down all coal our plants by 2032. They generated 30% of our electricity in 2021, and that was before the Palisades nuclear plant shut down (now folks are desperately trying to reopen that to help keep the lights on). The new bill mandates 100% "clean" energy by 2040, including 60% from renewables like wind and solar. The new bill doesn't, however, contain an actual plan for how we'll do that and still have reliable energy. Wind has a capacity factor here of about 40%, and solar even less - during December and January, it drops below 10%. Oh, natural gas can still be used - as long as it also incorporates carbon capture and storage, a technology that doesn't even exist at scale for grid-level electricity generation. It's like our legislators just handed us a pile of cloth and ropes, and needle and thread, and told us to jump out of an airplane. What's the very likely result? Blackouts, almost certainly starting in the next several years as our coal plants shut down. Manufacturers in Michigan need to start laying in plans accordingly.
He wants to bring bicycle manufacturing back to the US!
I can't believe I got to Episode 75 before doing anything on bicycles! But we went big - Tony Karklins, CEO of Time Bicycles and Cardinal Cycling Group, joined us for a great discussion of my favorite sport! Tony digs into: - His own background and how he got to be where he is - including owning his own bike shop as a teenager! - Why pretty much all bike making went to Asia back at the beginning of the century - How Europe has already gotten a start on bringing bicycle manufacturing back - especially Portugal - Why he's bullish on his prospects for bringing some of that production back to America - Where he thinks the bike making hot spots for the US will be - What can be made here and what can't - His growth plans for the Time Bicycles brand Along with checking out the whole show and hearing all about what Tony has to say about the bike business in general and making them here in America, you should also check out this link: https://www.google.com/search?q=perfection+in+every+strand&oq=perfection+in&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqBggBECMYJzIGCAAQRRg5MgYIARAjGCcyBwgCEAAYgAQyBwgDEAAYgAQyBwgEEAAYgAQyBwgFEAAYgAQyBwgGEAAYgAQyBwgHEAAYgAQyBwgIEAAYgAQyBwgJEAAYgAQyBwgKEAAYgAQyBwgLEAAYgAQyBwgMEAAYgAQyBwgNEAAYgAQyBwgOEAAYgATSAQkxMDkzOGowajSoAgCwAgA&client=ms-android-samsung-rvo1&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#fpstate=ive&vld=cid:a74a8778,vid:5bQQqJ3r20E,st:0 And you can find Time Bicycles right here: https://shop.timebicycles.com/
She runs an amazing boat building school in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula!
I learned about the Great Lakes Boat Building School while on a sailing adventure with the Boy Scouts several years ago, when we spent the night docked in Hessel, just a few miles away from Cedarville, where the school is located. For Episode 74, we have Nikki Storey, the school's president, here to tell us all about the history of the GLBBS, what ultra-cool programs they have going on now, what other plans they have for the future, and how on earth this woman from a landlocked farming community wound up running this innovative school for building and maintaining boats! It's marvelous stuff! Nikki is a ball of fire, and she's chock full of fascinating info about the GLBBS and the boating industry, and about the gorgeous community the school calls home. She tells all about the amazing work the school is doing, in conjunction with its corporate partners, to build the maritime industry's workforce. (She mentions this work by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable along the way: https://www.nmma.org/press/article/24487?utm_source=Currents&utm_medium=orr&utm_campaign=orr) You can learn even more about the GLBBS here: https://glbbs.edu/ Tune in and check out the whole thing!
They made gears for all the Mars rovers!!
Finally! The end of our broadcasting day came at Huntington Place in Detroit on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, where we did all-day interviews at the Motion + Power Technology Expo put on by the American Gear Manufacturers Association. We finished strong! Forest City Gear's Kika Young, CEO, and Jared Lyford, Director of Operations, joined us to talk about their gearmaking shop in Roscoe, Illinois, just north of Rockford. It's a great story about a family-owned business that's been successful and shown that Americans can still manufacture with the best of 'em. Forest City serves industries ranging from food & beverage to medical to defense to, yes, space! It's certainly no small thing when your company's gears are instrumental to the rousing success of America's Mars rovers, right? Tune in and hear Kika and Jared tell all about it.
He started his own company to make transmissions and gearing systems!
We were getting close to the end of our livestreaming day at the MPT Expo in Detroit when Michael Cinquemani joined us for our Episode 72. Michael brings us full circle on what's represented at this show put on by the American Gear Manufacturers Association. We started with forging and heard from machine makers, toolmakers, and the people who make both gears and bearings. Michael's company puts it all together, making power transmissions and gearing systems for industrial applications and more. Heck, our host is a mechanical engineer and even he had trouble keeping up with everything Michael had to say! In addition to running his company, Michael also serves as the Chairman of the Board at the AGMA, so he shared his thoughts on the organization and what it does for industry and its members. Great stuff - do check it out!
These guys are into just about everything when it comes to making gears!
John Perrotti is CEO of Gleason Corporation in Rochester, New York. He sat down to chat with us for Episode 71, in the middle of the afternoon during our full day of livestreaming from the American Gear Manufacturers Association's Motion + Power Technology Expo at Huntington Place in Detroit. John's company makes machines like grinders and cutters. They make tools for those machines, too. They make workholding systems for the jobs. They make metrology equipment to check on what the machines make. They make software for those systems. And they make some gears themselves, too - plastic ones, some so small you can barely see them. Whew! Yeah, Gleason does a lot. John does a great job walking us through all of that, plus telling us about some of the opportunities and challenges he's seeing in the industry. This was an awfully educational episode! Tune in and see for yourself!