China: From the Great Wall to Town Hall

Last Tuesday, I attended a China Geo Politics Forum at the Bolton Center School Library. The event was hosted by the Bolton Community Education Foundation. Bolton is a small town with 5,000 residents, but they still tackle big issues. The guest speakers were Yuhang Rong, Assistant Dean of the Neag Graduate School of Education at the University of Connecticut, and Chris Ulbrich, the Vice Chairman and COO of Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. I shot some good photos of the event.

Ulbrich is headquartered in North Haven, Connecticut, but does business all over the world. They operate in 14 countries including China. They have a factory in Hong Kong and a sales office in Shanghai. The Ulbrich Family and their company are long time friends of Horst Engineering. We purchase bar stock from Aerodyne, which was a business unit of Ulbrich before it was divested. In 1999, both businesses shared the Connecticut Family Business of the Year award. While Horst Engineering is in its third generation of management, Ulbrich is now in its fourth.

Dean Rong was born in China, but has lived in the United States since the late-1980’s. He shared his personal story about growing up in China, being educated in China, and migrating to the US. He earned his graduate degrees in the US. He spoke eloquently about the differences between the Chinese and US education systems. Rong and Ulbrich mostly agreed about the issues. Both have observed the swift changes as China has rapidly industrialized. Ulbrich is a global company now and is anxious to grow more revenue from their Chinese investments. They already have more than 600 employees worldwide. They supply their metal products to many industries, including aerospace, medical, nuclear, and solar. They have seen tremendous pricing pressure as a result of global competition.

The 90 minute forum explored all kinds of issues, including business, education, environment, population growth, technology, trade, and finance. Sandi Hastings moderated the forum with help from fellow Bolton Community Education Foundation board member, Tom Marrion. Many in the crowd will be part of a delegation that visits China later this year. The event was part of a series called From the Great Wall to Town Hall.

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