As I wrote a couple weeks ago (here), a group from my company recently attended FABTECH in Chicago. One of the things I got to do while I was there was attend the State of the Industry: Executive Outlook panel discussion. On the panel were Alan Beaulieu, Economist and President of ITR Economics (who was also the moderator), Jeff Oravitz, CEO at MetoKote Corporation and Bill Adler, President at Stripmatic Products, Inc.
The panel discussion began with questions and answers that you might expect from a group like this.
- "Is there really a manufacturing renaissance?" Yes.
- "What could stop U.S. manufacturing from growing?" Increased government regulation and higher taxes.
- "Is Obamacare the end of the world?" No, but it is bad for the economy and job creation.
- "What do you see for 2014 and beyond?" Mr. Beaulieu did turn a few heads when he answered that he is anticipating another significant recession in 2019. To hear someone openly speak of the "R" word was a little disconcerting, but that wasn't what really surprised me.
Later in the discussion the conversation had turned to the challenges that manufacturers are having in finding the needed talent. After getting feedback from the other panelists, the moderator turned to the audience of about sixty people, mostly all manufacturing folks, and asked us a simple but important question...