8 editor’s corner | by Dan Davis, Executive Editor
Editorial Advisory Board
Not all manufacturing’s fault
Kids don’t consider manufacturing as a
career choice? Sometimes it just happens
some welding in February at Lincoln
Electric’s application shop in
Cleveland, the same place her dad
went to welding school almost 40
Manufacturing has changed since
those days, but so have people’s atti-
tudes about their children and their
futures. Middle-class parents don’t
necessarily want their children apply-
ing for jobs that might require heavy
lifting. The children of many owners
of job shops or manufacturing compa-
nies whom I meet are employed in
the front office and not on the shop
floor—a situation that mirrors what is
happening in U.S. society.
Actually, it happens in any mod-
ern society. In Japan manufacturing
employment has dropped as it has
here in the U.S. In 1990, 15 million
Is it any wonder that these kids really don’t look to people were employed in manufac-
manufacturing as a career choice? They haven’t had turing, and that’s down to 12 million as of last year. Japanese leaders are so
to work as hard as the previous generation, and in most worried about manufacturing’s future
instances their parents don’t want them to have to work that they have started a nationwide
as hard. monozukuri (“making things”) campaign, which funds technical projects
dedicated to developing efficient
means of manufacturing.
“What’s important is learning by
getting your hands covered with
grease,” Seiichi Osawa, an official at
the Nagano Prefectural Institute of
Technology, told the Associated Press.
“But kids these days think everything
can be done by just sitting in front of
a computer.” Sound familiar?
It’s not manufacturers’ fault that
kids aren’t interested in joining their
ranks, but it is manufacturers’ oppor-
tunity. By taking some time to meet
with the next generation of workers,
a fabricator might be making a
brighter future for manufacturing.
Dan Davis, executive editor of The
FABRICATOR, can be reached at
Ihad the opportunity to speak
about publishing to 25 students
from Rockford, Ill.’s Guilford
High School on Feb. 7. I knew I
had my work cut out for me when sev-
eral kids showed up with bad sports
coats—one that was actually lavender
suede—and ties worn over T-shirts.
These weren’t your local Kiwanis who
were going to give you their undivid-
ed attention and hearty handshakes
afterward. These were students who
had a get-out-of-school free card for
the next three hours.
mostly sophomores—really didn’t
know what they wanted to do with
their lives, which I discovered on fur-
ther questioning.) And they likely
won’t discover the joys of metal fab-
ricating at their school because it
doesn’t have a tech ed program;
those programs are run at other
Rockford-area high schools.
So I got a glimpse of the future
work force, and I immediately under-
stood why some in manufacturing are
worried. These kids are used to a con-
venient lifestyle in which things are
immediately available: friends,
music, and video. They may have
had to work to purchase the tools to
avail themselves of this convenience,
but how hard have they worked in
other aspects of their life? Writing a
term paper that might be available
Charles Caristan, Air Liquide America LP
Greg Cornett, Tennessee Stampings LLC
Metal Locking Service/West Metal Works Inc.
Aerofab Div., Tube Processing Corp.
Muammer Koc, University of Michigan
Travis Linds, Hannibal Industries
Subramaniam Manivannan, Ford Motor Co.
Gary Morphy, Vari-Form Inc.
Jim Poe, American Athletic Inc.
Roger Schulz, Monroe Truck Equipment
FMA Officers and Directors
Chairman of the Board
Roger Steel, FORMTEK Group
First Vice Chairman
Steve Heim, Brenco Industries Ltd.
Second Vice Chairman
Mike Pellecchia, MC Machinery Systems Inc.
John Koschwanez, Independence Tube Corp.
Immediate Past Chairman of the Board
Joe Mayer, FORMTEK Metal Forming Inc.
Dave Barber, MegaFab
Don Begneaud, BEGNEAUD Mfg. Inc.
Joe Chiaramonte, Midwest Metal Products
Tom Connell, Main Steel Polishing Co. Inc.
Burke Doar, TRUMPF Inc.
Tony Granelli, SWR America
The kids proved to be a nice audi-
ence, however—engaged most of the
time and sleeping the rest. But I
think I learned just as much from
them as I hope they did from me.
As an example, I posed the ques-
tion “How many of y’all read maga-
zines?” Maybe a couple of hands
went up. I posed another question:
“How much time do y’all spend on
the Internet every night?” Pretty
much everyone engaged in Internet
use nightly—goofing around on
myspace.com or gaming—and some
spent as much as four to five hours.
As I tried to make the segue into
the core coverage of The FABRICA-
TOR® and its sister magazines, I
asked if anyone had thought about a
career in manufacturing. Not a hand
went up. (Truthfully, the kids—
online? Figuring out math problems
that might be easier to answer with a
calculator? Wanting new music that
is easily available through illegal
Is it any wonder that these kids
really don’t look to manufacturing as
a career choice? They haven’t had to
work as hard as the previous genera-
tion, and in most instances their par-
ents don’t want them to have to
work as hard.
My dad was a pipe fitter for many
years in the petrochemical plants
along the Mississippi River; I’m a
journalism major who writes about
metal fabricating technologies and,
on occasion, tube and pipe fabricat-
ing. Amanda Carlson, the associate
editor of Practical Welding Today, is a
journalism major who actually did
Jay Groendyke, Synergis Technologies Group
Michael Nallen, Thermatool Corp.
Tom Nederpel, Dofasco Inc.
Carlos Rodriguez, Acero Prime,
S. de R.L. de C.V.
President & CEO
Gerald M. Shankel
Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.
The FABRICATOR | An FMA Publication
www.thefabricator.com | March 2007
Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AMI)
at Kansas State University
Manhattan, Kan. www.amisuccess.com
Lafayette, La. www.begno.com
Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pomona, Calif. www.csupomona.edu/~ime/
Center for Manufacturing
Galesburg, Ill. www.cme.csc.cc.il.us
Industrial Research & Development
Institute (IRDI), Div. of Georgian College
Midland, Ontario, Canada
Laser Processing Consortium of the
Applied Research Laboratory at
The Pennsylvania State University
State College, Pa. www.arl.psu.edu
Synergis Technologies Group