Commonalities: Grady Cope, NTMA, and Tom Friedman’s “Still Digging”

On the same day that I read Tom Friedman’s “Still Digging” column in the New York Times, I hosted Grady and Ann Cope at Horst Engineering. Grady is the President and CEO of reata Engineering & Machine Works in Englewood, Colorado. He is also the chairman of the National Tooling & Machining Association. NTMA is a venerable industrial/manufacturing organization that we are active members of. We mostly participate through our own chapter, the Connecticut Tooling & Machining Association, but Grady and I lead companies that have looked way beyond the boundaries of our home states.

During a tour of our two East Hartford plants, Grady and I spoke about the need for a manufacturing renewal in the United States. Years of outsourcing, offshoring, and giving away our intellectual property has left the US manufacturing base weaker. Our manufacturing workforce is aging and that poses additional risk. Upstart rivals have taken our work and our jobs. Even Horst Engineering de Mexico, an operation launched to capitalize on the growth south of the border, faces challenges from abroad. Friedman’s column once again calls on our policy makers to quit the nonsense and support initiatives that build more capabilities in America. He also challenges our country to come up with a plan. The stimulus wasn’t a plan. It was a response to a crisis. We have yet to see a long-term plan that will introduce a new growth strategy.

Grady Cope’s plan for the NTMA in 2011 is to ask his fellow manufacturers to be more positive and to convince them to portray manufacturing as a great place to be. It is high-tech and it pays well from bottom to top, especially in the skilled sub-sectors. It also creates a network of economic activity that other sectors don’t. Few people know someone in manufacturing. Maybe they have an uncle or a cousin who works in a factory. 25 or 50 years ago, the connections were a lot closer and everyone knew someone in manufacturing. It was likely that their parents worked in factories. Nowadays, it seems like everyone knows a barista or a clerk or a contractor. I’m sorry, but more retailers, distributors, banks, and developers will not create the value that this country needs. That is wasteful consumption. We need production. We need to make stuff of real value.

Which brings me back to the plan. Friedman called for it and I’m right behind him. The problem is that those of us with solutions are tied up trying to keep our businesses running. Our society loses because too many small business leaders avoid politics and we end up with “career politicians”  in elected office. Politics shouldn’t be a job. Grady’s chairman role at NTMA isn’t a job. He has a small business, so I don’t think he needs another job. It is community/public service. He is leading our industry organization because he loves manufacturing and he loves what he does.

1 Response to “Commonalities: Grady Cope, NTMA, and Tom Friedman’s “Still Digging””

  1. 1 Lee este método Trackback on 28 November 2013 at 4:35 am

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I ❤️ the @eastcoastgreenway ### #eastcoastgreenway #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #carfreecommute
Finally made it to the @breakawaybrewhaus in time! Technically I was late, but Matt and Cindy are Bolton neighbors. I left my empty bottles a month ago and now they are full again. You can easily fit three in a @dillpicklegear pannier. I’m STILL waiting for my pannier’s lost mate to find its way home. #carfeecommute @horsteng #teamhorstsports #crossspikes @seven_cycles #sevencycles #bicycle #beer 🚴🏽🍺
A fun filled day of #mountainbike goodness at the West Rock Superprestige Short Track final. The @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad and the older dudes on #teamhorstsports all rode like champs. We gave it our all and left it all out there on the gnarly course. There must have been at least 15 of us in a variety of categories, plus a couple of runners; and our families, who cheered like madmen/madwomen. Big thanks to the Laurel Bike Club/D’Aniello’s Amity Bicycle. @horsteng #crossspikes
A 5K #trailrunning race was a great way to kick off today’s West Rock Superprestige Short Track #mountainbike finale. It suited the Livingston women just fine. @trailrunningmom and Little D were both on their respective podiums after two laps of the gnarly course. It was a small but dedicated group of runners who came out for the inaugural run. Good work by the Laurel Bike Club/D’Aniello’s Amity Bicycle crew. #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders 🏃‍♀️⛰🏆
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Anytime a #triathlon swim is canceled (due to a #thunderstorm ⛈), the advantage goes to the Livingston’s. We rarely lament a run 🏃‍♀️when it replaces a swim. 🏊‍♂️ @trailrunningmom took the victory in the mud. 🚲 Shep notched a Tiny Tri win. Boy did it rain ☔️at #windingtrails tonight! 🌩 ### #Duathlon #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes
I rode from @horsteng to Cornwall Bridge to see @trailrunningmom finish her 36 mile (+8,094 feet ascent/-8,048 feet descent) solo training run on the Mohawk Trail/Appalachian Trail Loop. Better her than me! She crushed it on a hot day in 9h38m. I had a lovely ride on some of the best roads in #Connecticut and arrived at the trailhead 20 minutes before she did. We followed it up with a date @floraweha ☀️ 🚲 🏃‍♀️ #trailrunning #cycling #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders #ultrarunning @seven_cycles #sevencycles @appalachianmountainclub @ctforestandparkassociation @ultraspire #ultraspire #veganathlete
Passed through #Toronto late in the day yesterday during a short biz trip and discovered #dufferingrovepark the fabulous #reflexologyfootpath and the farmers market.
#nembafest was an absolute blast. This morning, #teamhorstjuniorsquad and #teamhorstsports put in one more monster #kingdomtrails ride. These #trails are awesome. We saw so many friends out there. The rain calmed down Friday’s dust. We missed some other big events like #manitousrevengeultra and @wser , but this event is on par. 3,000 riders in the hills of #vermont Today was the #mountainbiking equivalent of a #powderday 🚵‍♂️⛰ ### @nemba_mtb @kingdomtrails @horsteng @the_ccap #horstengineering #crossspikes

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