Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2014

There Would Not Be Labor Day, Without the American Laborer

As Labor Day approaches, I again have been contemplating what it takes to be a valuable middle manager.  I grew up in the Detroit area and have worked in Michigan for half of my adult life.  As an engineer I was attracted to heavy industry.  The first third of my career was spent at a large integrated steel mill with 3500+ employees organized by the United Steel Workers of America.  As a 28 year old general foreman, nothing prepared me for the daily confrontations of an organized environment.  My father, taught me important lessons relating to why companies become organized by unions, and how it has been usually the fault of poor management.  Poor management directly correlates with the poor treatment of the workforce.  During the middle third of my career, I joined a newer steelmaker that was a vibrant and growing leader in the steel industry.  The management of the company were also its owners, and fully understood the integral part that the workforce played in the success of the c

The Strength of Manufacturing, Today and Tomorrow

During a recent staff meeting, I grabbed a can of soda from the mini-fridge in the conference room.  There was one lonely can of Vernors Ginger Ale amongst the plethora of cans of Pepsi, and Diet Pepsi.  Normally, I don't drink regular soda because of the sugar, but a spicy Vernors sure did sound good.  If you aren't familiar with Vernors, it's a long-time Detroit favorite.  A once regional product, it has become a nationwide staple.  Different from Canada Dry or Schwepps ginger ale, Vernors has a unique darker color and spiciness that makes it an acquired taste. The logo of Vernors has always been an old style wooden stave barrel with riveted wrought iron bands.  Even this particular can was dressed up like an old barrel.  While holding the can in my hand, my mind was flooded of thoughts and memories about my connection with Detroit, and my grandfather, great uncle, and great grandfather that were in the barrel and crate business.  The business later transformed, just