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The first PVF Roundtable of 2013 was another major success, attracting more than 400 attendees to its new home at the J.W. Marriott in Houston.
The quarterly event, formerly held at the nearby H.E.S.S. Club, was moved to the Marriott after continual spikes in attendance necessitated a larger venue.
“Seeing a crowd like this makes us proud,” PVF Roundtable President Danny Westbrook (Westbrook Manufacturing) told the audience.
|More than 400 people packed the J.W. Marriott for the first PVF Roundtable of 2013. Photo courtesy of Danny Westbrook.|
Chicago Tube and Iron President and CEO Dr. Don McNeeley delivered a thought-provoking and entertaining keynote address, which tackled a number of key issues relevant to the PVF industry. In a video interview with Supply House Times after the event, McNeeley said the nation’s recent economic woes have created growth opportunities.
“The industrial sector, particularly the manufacturing sector, was hit much harder than the economy at large,” McNeeley said in the interview available at www.supplyht.com. “As the recession has stayed protracted, infrastructure has aged and equipment needs to be replaced. You are going to see a disproportionality of money allocated toward industrial-type manufacturing projects.”
McNeeley’s optimism isn’t limited to the near future. “In the next 36 months if you look at GDP growth, if we call that ‘X,’ I find in our econometric modeling in the industrial sector and manufacturing sector it will grow 60% greater than ‘X,’” he said. “I would contend in 2009 and 2010 our industry was in a depression. There are the simple economic laws of supply and demand along with the engineering phenomena where for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That means if the production in the manufacturing sector went down greater than the economy at large, when we rebound it will be greater than the economy.
“The outlook for the next three years is very bullish. We also see this being fueled not only by the need for infrastructure spent, but you also see tremendous re-shoring now occurring with manufacturers returning from China.”
McNeely, also a professor at Northwestern University in the Industrial Engineering and Management Science Department, addressed the topic of attracting young talent into the industry.
“A lot of us have expansion on the horizon, we have a desire to expand and we have the opportunity to expand, and ironically there is very attractively priced money at hand,” he said. “Isn’t it interesting we’ve reached a point in the evolution of our nation where the constraint or barrier is whether or not we can find talent? We are an industry ripe for recruitment. The attraction of our industry is a simple metric. The average age of an employee in the U.S. manufacturing sector is 57. We simply have an absence of 40-something-year-olds. Young men and women coming into our industry have a very bright future and an accelerated career path. Their careers will evolve and move up the hierarchy much quicker than ours did. The opportunities are abundant.”
Prior to McNeeley taking center stage, Supply House Times columnist and American Supply Association industry analyst Morrie Beschloss presented his quarterly forecast and also shares in McNeeley’s optimism.
“The strength of this industry will give the energy sector the push needed to move forward,” Beschloss said. “I think it is going to be good enough this year to where the majority of people here will have a pretty darned good year — better than expected.”
The next PVF Roundtable takes place Tuesday, May 21 at the J.W. Marriott. The day before, the fifth annual Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament will be held at Wildcat Golf Course. The tournament benefits the PVF Roundtable Scholarship Fund providing scholarships to the Texas A&M and the University of Houston departments of industrial distribution. Last year’s tournament raised $26,000.