Chairman of the Board
Texas ProFab Corp.
First Vice Chairman
Second Vice Chairman
William “Jeff” Jeffery
Ohio Laser LLC
Chairman of the Board
Al Zelt, ASKO Inc
Rick J. Hargrove
Steel & Pipe Supply Co. Inc.,
Storage & Processors
Kawasaki Motors Mfg. Corp. USA
Amada America Inc.
MC Machinery Systems/
Briggs & Stratton Product Group
Industrias Selbor SA de CV
Valley Iron Inc.
Airgas USA LLC
Form Tech Concrete Forms
President & CEO
Fabricators & Manufacturers
FMA’S CERTIFIED EDUCATION CENTERS
FMA Certified Education Centers (CEC) are community
and technical colleges, trade schools, and universities
that specialize in training adults for careers in the metal
forming, fabricating, processing, and machining sectors.
They offer coursework for local students year-round and
serve as host locations for many types of FMA professional
development programs as requested. A council of
members convene six times a year to plan and execute
special programs on worker training for educators and
human resource managers from companies of all sizes.
To learn more about FMA’s CEC program and view a list
of the current member schools, visit
To discover how your local community or technical college
can become a member, call 888-394-4362 or send an
FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Read more from Dan Davis at
NASA is a place where man routinely thinks about life beyond this earthly existence. So it makes sense that people might get excited when visiting Kennedy Space Center. Elected
officials, I guess, are no different.
In early July Vice President Mike Pence vowed
to send the U.S. back to the stars. “Here from this
‘bridge to space,’ our nation will return to the moon,
and we will put American boots on the face of Mars,”
he told the crowd.
Of course, statements like this aren’t that unusual. In 2016 President Barack Obama declared
his ambition for the U.S. to send humans to Mars by
the 2030s. In 2004 former President George W. Bush
announced his intention to have U.S. astronauts
back on the moon by 2020, with the ultimate goal
of reaching Mars.
President Donald Trump has gone so far as to
resurrect the National Space Council, which was
formed by former President George H.W. Bush in
1989 but discontinued in 1993. Pence, chair of the
newly re-formed council, pledged to have a meeting
before the summer ends.
Meanwhile, the last resident of Mars forgot to put
out the welcome mat. The planet is cold and miserable, hardly desirable for a weekend visit, much
less an extended stay. There is very, very little liquid
water, which matters a little bit to human visitors.
Also, the combination of hydrogen peroxide, rust,
and perchlorates—which are chemicals often used
in rocket fuels, according to Popular Mechanics—in
the soil and UV light makes it almost impossible for
the red planet to support any sort of bacteria life on
So as some people think about the funds and
preparation needed to travel the approximate eight
months to Mars, let me offer up one suggestion:
Forget space travel, and focus on rising commuting
times on this country’s crumbling highway system.
Instead of reliving the past, let’s rebuild America for
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
gives America a D+ in its 2017 Infrastructure Report
Card. Here are some highlights from that less-than-
• Lack of highway development has led to about
6. 9 billion hours delayed in traffic, which is
about 42 hours per U.S. driver.
• 9.1 percent of bridges are rated structurally
• 15,498 dams are identified as having high-hazard potential.
• 6 billion gallons of treated water is lost every
day because of substandard setups.
ASCE’s 2016 study, “Failure to Act: Closing the Infrastructure Investment Gap for America’s Economic
Future,” suggests that $2 trillion is needed to get the
country’s infrastructure to the point where it is in a
good state of repair. The report actually calls for an
additional $206 billion from the federal and state
governments to boost the quality of infrastructure
and make it globally competitive with the world.
Those aren’t small numbers.
Plenty of support exists in the industrial ranks
and in Congress to push forward with a small sort of
funding package to get this effort going. It certainly
means more to U.S. economic vitality than an ultra-expensive trip to find John Carter.
Forget the bridge to Mars;
invest in U.S. bridges
A boost in infrastructure is good
for the country and fabricators
Trump actually held an “Infrastructure Week” in
early June in an attempt to generate support for the
idea of improving the nation’s infrastructure. But
he led off with the idea of privatizing the nation’s
air-traffic control system, which has the support of
some companies, but not really the public in general. The whole effort has since been scrapped. It
was an inauspicious start to what should be a game-changing movement.
Of course, certain voices will complain about the
likelihood of adding to the deficit at the federal
level. But a Republican-controlled Congress that is
ready to trim Medicare should have enough political
backbone to find some funds elsewhere. Congress
authorized the U.S. Interstate Highway System with
the passage of the National Interstate and Defense
Highways Act of 1956, of which former President
Dwight D. Eisenhower was a big supporter. He recognized the importance of being able to transport
supplies and troops during a domestic emergency
or even a foreign invasion. Congress should have no
problem recognizing the importance of a strong infrastructure and subsequently earmarking defense
dollars as an investment to boost national security.
Are you comfortable with the idea of water treatment systems that can’t deliver clean water or lose
thousands of gallons a day? Do you really want to be
traveling across a bridge wondering if it is about to
collapse? Do you have enough time that you are OK
wasting several hours per year because of traffic or
airport congestion? Have you considered what life
could be like without power if the nation’s power
grid failed or came under a cyberattack, which is no
longer just a plot gimmick for a spy thriller?
Infrastructure spending is good for the U.S. and
good for fabricators. Whether U.S. infrastructure
updates are publicly or privately funded, or some
combination of both, elected officials need to make
it happen. Leave the space travel for another day. A
lot more bridges need to be rebuilt in the U.S. before
Pence gets his bridge to Mars.