May 11, 2016 | by Bob Weidner

No Man Is an Island

The value of community and standing together

“Everything we needed is right here. People have been wonderful,  —Jeff Hepditch in Wandering River, Alberta, after barely escaping the Fort McMurray fire


The devastation in northern Alberta and the response from the remote communities near Fort McMurray, reminded me once again what we can do when we stand together. As the 90,000 or so refugees from that burnt over town took shelter in various smaller communities around them, people—as they inevitably do—stepped up to help. High schools filled with clothes, food, beds and other donations. All were welcomed, whether they were oil field workers like Jeff Hepditch or several Syrian families who had been relocated there by the Canadian government after fleeing their war-ravaged country.

Communities and their people came together in the face of extreme hardship to make something important happen. And Canada and the world are better for it.  

In our own communities throughout the industrial metals industry we have opportunities to stand together, to take care of people in need, and also to do important things for our industry. It gives me tremendous satisfaction to lead an association of business leaders at MSCI who can be unflinching in their dedication to their communities, businesses and their industry. Fortunately, we do not often need to help people in the face of natural disaster. But we are able to come together to learn from each other, and also to work in the realm of public policy to keep government from doing any more damage to manufacturing and metals interests.

Just last month, more than 100 organizations showed up in Washington to urge the U.S Trade Representative and officials at the Departments of State, Treasury and Labor, among others, to take a far tougher stand against countries like China that are dumping steel and aluminum into our markets. MSCI board chairman Dick Robinson was one of those who testified eloquently at the USTR hearings. We will also be part of the bipartisan coalition of some 300 industry associations, labor, state and local organizations that will be in Washington May 16 for a week to push our government and lawmakers to establish a rational, consistent program for rebuilding the nation’s transportation infrastructure.

We firmly believe in these politically and economically uncertain times that the value of our MSCI community is more important than ever. As the year moves along, you will see us acting more aggressively to strengthen our industry community with more powerful advocacy programs, more relevant education offerings, and more sophisticated tools for running your businesses better including fine-tuned versions of the invaluable statistical forecasts in our Metals Activity and Metals Tendency Reports.

Trying to run businesses in very tough times can do odd things to our values and vision. We do see some among us choosing to turn their backs on the community, trying to hunker down and go it alone. But this is not the time for isolation, for ignoring how valuable MSCI colleagues and programs can be in this challenging business environment. Our goal at MSCI this year is to step up our game along with you, to offer new programs and upgrade or eliminate old ones so that we are increasingly relevant in helping you manage and transform your businesses.

We are in this together. And that is the only way we will grow and prosper. The poet John Donne reminded us: “No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main….Therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

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