August 30, 2012

Manufacturing Leaders Call for Change


 August 30, 2012

For more information:
Jon Kalkwarf, 847-485-3007
Ashley DeVecht, 847-485-3011 or 616-260-2785


Manufacturing Leaders Call for Change

Oakbrook, Ill.—Tuesday the Central States chapter of the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) held its 2012 Manufacturing Summit “Closing the Divide Between Jobs, Policy and Growth”. The event was moderated by MSCI president and CEO Bob Weidner, III, and hosted by MSCI chapter president Terry Minogue, vice president, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp. Participants included: William M. Hickey, president, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp.; C. Davis Nelsen, II, chairman & CEO, Nelsen Steel Company LP; Michael F. Petersen, president, Petersen Aluminum Corporation and Bert Miller, president, Phoenix Closures.

Political candidates attending or represented at the event were:

  • U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, Republican – Illinois 8th Congressional District

  • Richard L. Grabowski , Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress – Illinois 3rd Congressional District

  • Brian Woodworth, Republican Candidate for the U.S. Congress – Illinois 2nd District

  • Leslie Coolidge, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress – Illinois 6th Congressional District

  • Dennis Anderson, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress – Illinois 14th Congressional District

  • Christopher Nybo, Republican Illinois House of Representatives – 41st District

  • Kitty Weiner, representing Republican Peter J. Roskam – Illinois 6th Congressional District

  • Robert W. Pritchard, Republican Illinois House of Representatives – 70th District

  • Ron Sandack, Republican Senator – 21st District

The summit was an opportunity for national and local manufacturing leaders, policy experts, employees and political candidates to discuss the most pressing issues facing the manufacturing and metals services sectors. A major concern of all panelists in their businesses is the current state of indecision by our government. “I don’t think our country is working very well right now,” shared Miller. “The way the government spends money, there won’t be much of a future if we don’t improve the present.” He also advised the 200 guests in attendance to invite candidates to tour their facilities and educate them about what is needed to grow their business and create more jobs.

While questions for the panel centered around MSCI’s policy agenda, which includes positions on energy, trade, tax and regulation, panelists highlighted the importance of strong leadership and decisive action to support steady growth in the manufacturing industry.

“There are so many things we can do,” said Hickey, “but we need someone with a vision to stand up and do it. We don’t have that. Leadership is someone who will stand up and pass a budget.”

Nelsen agreed, “We have a leadership vacuum in this country. Leaders who are leading with their heads rather than their hearts perpetuate the status quo instead of improving on it. They are avoiding the conflict that doing the right thing can bring about. Politicians are trying to preserve what they have rather than do their job.”

“How do you run a plant or make investment or hiring decisions with constantly changing policy?” asked Petersen. “Leaders [should be] willing to take on the big problems and get our financial house in order.”

This event was the second of 11 being held across the country this year. Other host cities include: Cincinnati, Kansas City, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Buffalo and Los Angeles. MSCI has hosted town hall meetings since 2004, but the program was expanded this year to more forcefully address the continued economic uncertainty many manufacturers and American industries face and to provide the leadership necessary time to find workable solutions.

“This is a critical election year,'' added Weidner. “It’s important to give our members, their employees and communities the opportunity to learn more about the concerns of our industry —and to share that information with candidates, too. There are real issues facing the manufacturing sector, which will have real costs for employers and employees alike. Today’s discussion was frank, open and insightful. If we're not part of the solution, we are part of the problem.”


Founded in 1909, the Metals Service Center Institute, based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., has over 400 members operating from more than 1,500 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and throughout the world. Together MSCI members constitute the largest single group of metals purchasers in North America, amounting each year to more than 55 million tons of steel, aluminum and other metals, with about 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators as customers. MSCI’s membership also includes almost all ferrous and non-ferrous industrial metals producers in North America. Service centers inventory, process and distribute metals to manufacturing intermediaries and original equipment manufacturers.

For more information, visit www.MSCI.org. “Like” us on Facebook at Metals Service Center Institute, follow us on Twitter @MSCITweets, and connect with us on LinkedIn at Metals Service Center Institute.