'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
Texas Metal Casters Meet to Grapple With Regulatory Issues
   Clifford Smith  |  April 15, 2014

TCMA members met on March 31st - April 1st in Tyler for our annual conference. Opening the event was a Past Chairman’s Reception. Past Chairmen James Milstead (first TCMA chairman) and Stan Bass gave an oral history of the TCMA and the impetus behind its creation. Our industry is now recognized in Austin as a result of the efforts of the founders of the Texas Cast Metals Association. It is our responsibility to continue those efforts to maintain a presence before both the legislators as well as the regulators.

The April 1st program kicked off with Chairman Tom McCormack presenting the Past Chairman’s Plaque to Chris Norch for his service to the TCMA. Chris then updated the members on issues in both Washington and Austin. Chris, being the new AFS National President, had a firm hand on the concerns facing our industry. Texas has been fortunate in recent years by having Texans serve in the decision making level at both the AFS and CMI.

From left to right: Chris Norch, Tom Slavin, Brian Christian, Tess Dooley,
Dan Smith, Stan Bass, George Westhoff, Greg Turman, and Tim Purcell

Brian Christian, Director of the Small Business and Environmental Assistance Division of the TCEQ, has been an advocate for our industry for many years. Brian assured our members that his division is prepared to help metal casters with their regulatory concerns. Many in our industry have benefited through these cooperative efforts. The EnviroHelp and EnviroMentor are assistance programs. It was noted that the drought situation in Texas will also be addressed with regard to Texas manufacturers.

Tom Slavin, Consulting Industrial Hygienist for Cardno ChemRisk, presented the latest updates from the OSHA hearings on their proposed Silica Rule. Both Tom and Chris Norch had testified the previous Friday at the hearings. Tom gave an in-depth presentation of industry findings versus OSHA estimations. Tom highlighted the shortcomings of OSHA’s data and proposals and was well received by the OSHA panel. Chris commented that Tom countered questions from the panel effortlessly and without error.

Tess Dooley, ERISA Counsel for USI Southwest, opened our eyes to the responsibilities and penalties facing employers under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Tess presented the myriad of possibilities to cover our employees and the possible penalties associated with non-compliance. For the small companies without the support of a HR department, it would be prudent to have an outside firm review their employment status and records. Even the larger companies need to insure that their HR personnel are proficient in ACA requirements.

The conference closed that evening with a tour of the Kiepersol Winery and dinner at Kiepersol Estates Restaurant. Harry Phillips initiated the first Annual Toast to begin dinner. He toasted the foundry industry and those who work and serve in it. Thanks to all our members who attended and continue to contribute and participate in the TCMA mission.