'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
Comments from the Chairman
   Owen Daniel  |  April 25, 2017

Dear Members and Fellow Cast Metals Travelers,

In this issue I would like to ‘recap’ our Annual TCMA Meeting in Austin this past April 10 and 11 at the Omni Austin Hotel in Downtown Austin, TX. It started with a bang on the 10th at our usual ‘late afternoon bull-session & pontification’ in the Hotel Bar where traditionally some tabs are started, some up-scale libations are consumed, old acquaintances are re-established, many issues are identified, and some are even resolved! It is in these informal sessions that the ‘tone’ of the Annual Meeting is established, and I personal had cause to look forward to the balance with enthusiasm.

By that, I mean that I was once again convinced that our Members are typically hands-on, serious and hard-working Foundry Owners and Managers, friends who have a common goal and also have the civility and courtesy to ask about family, about business (without the rancor of competition) and to appreciate another Member’s opinion. That is a hallmark of Our Organization: no one will be dis-respected, and no opinions will be squelched in the TCMA.

At 6 PM, at our traditional Meet & Greet Reception, we were grateful to be addressed by State Senator Brian Birdwell--thanks to Harry Phillips, who introduced the Good Senator and tried to use an alias (Smith) out of respect & modesty but was quickly called out and corrected. Sen Birdwell told of his extended Military service and his pro-business agenda as relates to the 2017 Legislative Session. The Senator had to dash to meet the Lieutenant Governor (after bestowing upon Your Chair a ‘challenge coin’ in the shape of our Great State) and Our Group continued to enjoy the light supper and libations until 8-ish.

The next day our Annual Conference commenced and (after a fine Continental Breakfast generously provided by Jared Patterson of Rapid Power Management—many thanks to Jared) we were addressed by:

• John Chadwick from OSHCON (State EHS Voluntary Compliance Agency) who told us much about the New Silica Rule. Takeaway: get ready. Do not rest on your laurels. Despite the talk of ‘regulatory rollback’ from the Current Administration, this Rule is not going to suddenly just go away.

• Anne Marie Callery, Air Specialist from the TCEQ’s Small Business and Local Government Assistance Division (again, voluntary environmental regulatory compliance assistance). I’ve known Anne Marie for many years, she knows her stuff, and she gave us an Agency Update and (very discreetly) the Agency’s take on EPA & State Agency activity/over-reach.

• Stephen Minnick, VP of Gov Affairs from the Texas Association of Business, with a ‘business climate and outlook’ and a report on the 2017 Texas Legislature (so far). He seemed to indicate that if the ‘lawmakers’ could just be distracted from the so-called ‘bathroom bill’, they might yet have time to get something constructive done!

• Luncheon was with our Special Guest Jerrod Weaver, Executive Director of NFFS (Non-Ferrous Founders’ Society) who flew all the way from Chicago to join our Group. I also know Jerrod from my service as the Gov Affairs Chair for NFFS and he is a bright and knowledgeable young man who—tho he did not grow up in the Foundry Industry as many of us did—he has clearly adopted our profession, and gave us a very comprehensive Status Report on the US Casting Industry (and a few more words about New Regulatory Issus that are not going away any time soon). Our special thanks to Jerrod Weaver.

The Conference adjourned after lunch and many of us took the opportunity to visit some of our Elected Officials at the State Capitol (a beautiful building—almost a work of art in itself). All of the renovations have been completed, and those who missed the opportunity missed (in my view) something special. I personally had a chance to ‘air my views’ with Sen Connie Burton (a Republican who took Sen Wendy Davis’ vacated seat) and with Rep Ramon Romero (this is his second term from Fort Worth) and--tho a Democrat--he is a business owner himself and let me tell you: he is pro-biz and pro-education.

Many of you have heard me say how important I think it is to establish a personal relationship with your elected officials. I will again quote our erstwhile AFS National Chair and Fellow Foundry Head Mr Chris Norch: “If you don’t make yourself a seat at the table, you’ll be on the menu!”

In the late afternoon Your Chair called the Board meeting to order. I will not belabor the details, the minutes will become available (if they have not done so already). Suffice it to say that our Investment Portfolio is looking very good thanks to Johnny Hill and Clifford Smith. Sadly, our receipts are down (as is the General Industry) and it is up to You and I—the Membership—to resolve THAT issue. Also: anyone interested in serving on a Committee need only whisper. There was talk of a ‘change of venue’, which has been tabled until our next meeting; which is concurrent with the AFS Texas Regional in September. See Dr. Smith (csmith.tcma@sbcglobal.net) for details.

Later that evening we were treated to a superb gathering at Ruth’s Chris Steak House including beef, fish, various vegetables served Family Style, incredible deserts and (shockingly) more libation. I think we all recognize the importance of the tradition of ‘breaking bread’ together and the gusto and camaraderie at dinner--to my eye--was immensely enjoyed by all.

I have attended many meetings and I have to say this was a very constructive & enjoyable event, and just because I may not have mentioned your name, I want to offer a Special Thanks to those who took time out from their busy schedules to attend and participate (and of course to those who did not attend but paid for the participation), and especially to Dr. and Mrs. Clifford Smith for another superior meeting. Their professionalism, civility and general good humor is much appreciated. Well done!

May a Fair Wind Fill Your Sails and Blessings to You All,

Owen Daniel,

GM, Midland Mfg
EDU/Scholarship Chair Texas AFS
NFFS Govt Affairs Chair, TCMA Chair.