The PVF Roundtable picked up where it left off in 2013.
The popular industrial pipe, valves and fittings quarterly gathering established yet another attendance record in its debut in late February at the Westin Galleria in Houston.
PVF Roundtable officials said registrations for the event topped the 500 barrier as the meeting continues to explode in popularity. All 2013 meetings attracted registration numbers in excess of 400 people.
In addition to the customary and extremely popular nearly two-hour networking session, the PVF Roundtable welcomed back Chicago Tube & Iron President and CEO Dr. Don McNeeley as the evening’s keynote speaker.
While once again delivering an informative and highly entertaining talk, McNeeley spoke on two important topics related to not only the U.S. economy, but the industrial sector as well. McNeely told the audience the country must improve its numbers when it comes to jobs creation.
“The jobs creation is absolutely everything,” said McNeeley in a video interview with Supply House Times available at www.supplyht.com/video.
“What is important to understand is small employers are creating all the new jobs. We’re creating 180,000 new jobs per month. That’s inadequate. In the recession, we dropped nine million jobs. At the rate of 180,000 new jobs per month, we won’t get back to pre-recession levels until 2023. That’s too protracted.”
McNeeley added one of the impediments to jobs creation is “significant regulatory burdens on all employers and disproportionately on smaller employers.” He also noted another hindrance is a current shortage of technically skilled workers.
“We have to recognize the overall importance of jobs creation to the economy, but the jobs that are being created need technical abilities such as science, technology, engineering and math,” he said. “Right now the school system is not producing adequate numbers of those so we need some sort of galvanizing vision to recognize this as a problem and incentivize the appropriate medium to produce what we need.”
McNeeley did deliver some good economic news on the industrial front. “Some of the economic models I look at, the algorithms suggest $1.5 billion of new economic activity in the next 36-month period and a disproportional percentage of that spending is going to be in the industrial sector,” he said.
Supply House Times columnist and ASA Industry Analyst Morrie Beschloss delivered his quarterly forecast and mirrored McNeeley’s industrial industry optimism, even borrowing a line from late radio commentator Gabriel Heatter.
“There’s good news tonight,” Beschloss said, reciting Heatter’s signature World War II-era sign-on line. “I feel that 2014 will be the greatest year we have had in the industry this millennium. This isn’t happy talk. The industrial sector will be the big motivation for the rest of the economy this year, primarily with energy development, exports and construction at the level of commercial, industrial and residential. The positives will prevail this year.”
The PVF Roundtable returns Tuesday, May 20 at the Westin. The day prior, the popular Don Caffee Memorial Golf Tournament will be held. The tournament is one of the major fundraising sources for the group’s college scholarship efforts. For more information on the tournament, visit www.pvf.org.