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Month: October 2009

One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

This week we saw something that hadn’t happened in over a year: growth in real GDP. Indeed, real GDP expanded 3.5 percent on an annualized basis during the third quarter, bolstered by consumer spending, business equipment spending, housing construction and exports. In a bit of a statistical quirk inventories declined sharply yet again, but since the rate of liquidation was smaller than in Q2, it actually contributed a bit to topline growth. The results weren’t a complete surprise given Read more [...]
Thermostat Recycling Corporation Increases Awareness and Participation

Thermostat Recycling Corporation Increases Awareness and Participation

Do you recycle? Are you interested in recycling? Questions like these encouraged a wide variety of answers at the 2009 Ace Hardware Convention in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend. The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) participated in this massive expo for Ace Hardware retailers with one goal in mind: raise awareness of the manufacturer supported collection program and the opportunity for thermostat retailers to act as collection points. TRC, at Ace Hardware’s invitation, spent 3 days Read more [...]
Spreading Smart Grid Across North America

Spreading Smart Grid Across North America

As evidence of NEMA's continued influence in international markets, the Commerce Department announced this week that our organization received one of five new Market Development Cooperator Program (MDCP) awards for 2010-2013.  This is NEMA's second MDCP award from Commerce -- the first, which runs from 2007-2010, was given for NEMA to promote U.S. electrical standards and products in Central America.  While MDCP's are designed to promote American competitiveness overseas, Read more [...]
AFCI’s – A Little Opposition Can be Good

AFCI’s – A Little Opposition Can be Good

Each cycle of State adoptions of the National Electrical Code ® tends to focus on a couple of key changes in the NEC.  For NEC 2008 those key changes are Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) and tamper proof receptacles.  Surprisingly this is having significant benefits for the electrical industry. Opposition to these devices has come from state home builders associations who have often used their political connections to sway the decision of the state board responsible for setting Read more [...]
Running the Public Option

Running the Public Option

In American-style football, a quarterback who "runs the option" receives the ball, runs either right or left (accompanied by another offensive player), and, depending on the opposing defense's strategy, either laterals the ball to his accompanying player to avoid a tackle or keeps the ball and advances it himself.  Not all quarterbacks can pull this off, but when executed effectively, the "option run" is a useful tool in the QB's arsenal. It isn't hard to draw Read more [...]
Putting Belief into Action

Putting Belief into Action

What does the Obama Administration think about international trade? I was pleased to hear two Administration officials over the past couple of days endorse the importance of expanding U.S. companies' access to foreign markets. But on the policy side, this belief is not yet being translated into action. The long-awaited speech from the President on trade policy is still out there in the future -- after health care legislation is done -- so the ripples of his decision to impose steep Read more [...]
Jobless Recovery Redux

Jobless Recovery Redux

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s macroblog provides a good look at the evidence that points to the likelihood that the emerging recovery will be a jobless one. First, despite what has been an appreciable improvement in corporate profits during the third quarter, businesses have chosen to hold the line on hiring new workers as they cope with uncertainty about the economy’s performance beyond the next quarter or two. Once the recovery gains some momentum and enters a self-sustaining Read more [...]
Still Such a Thing as the American Dream?

Still Such a Thing as the American Dream?

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement....It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." -- Read more [...]
Will Manufacturing Czar Actually Help Manufacturers?

Will Manufacturing Czar Actually Help Manufacturers?

"Bloom vows to boost manufacturing," shouted the headline in the Detroit News last week.  This should be significant, considering that Ron Bloom was tapped to be the senior counselor for manufacturing policy (aka, the manufacturing czar) by the president in early September.  The article even observed that "Obama hopes to boost U.S. manufacturing through innovation and exports." That is a worthy goal.  And no doubt, U.S. manufacturers could use some assistance.  Read more [...]
Nanotechnology for NEMA member product industries closer than you might think

Nanotechnology for NEMA member product industries closer than you might think

TC 113 U.S. Technical Advisory Group Chair Dr. Brent Segal, Lockheed Martin Corp., tells me that there are 2 camps when it comes to nanotechnology advancement; those that think nano is 10 years away, and those that have already been producing nano-enabled products for 10 years.  A new IEC Technical Specification for large scale manufacturing of nanoelectronics, to be developed jointly between IEC TC 113 and IEEE and slated for completion in the fall of 2010, will help advance nano-based Read more [...]