'Inside the TCMA' featured Article
Prominent Legislators and Staff Visit Midland Mfg. Co.
   Clifford Smith  |  November 19, 2012
 

On August 7, 2012, Midland Manufacturing Company, Fort Worth TX, was pleased and honored to welcome a delegation of prominent Elected Officials and members of their Staffs including: Congresswoman Kay Granger and her District Director Barbara Ragland; US Representative nominee Mark Vesey; and Cathy Young, Community Outreach Coordinator from the office of Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks.

The delegation was invited to tour the facility in an ongoing effort to increase awareness, among Elected Officials, of the challenges faced by their Small Business constituents; particularly those faced by Manufacturers, and more particularly by those in the Cast Metals Sector.

After a plant tour, the Delegates were seated for a briefing and round-table discussion with Midland management and staff including George Westhoff (Pres), Owen Daniel (Gen Mgr), Talana Anderson (CFO), and Daniel Westhoff (Materials Mgr). “We wanted to give these Officials, our representatives in Government, a chance to see the face of Small Business manufacturing,” said Owen Daniel, “and to realize that facilities like ours are really where the quality jobs are created, and hopefully maintained. We’re not asking for special consideration, we just want a level playing field.”

    Owen Daniel describes Midland’s product lines to Representive Kay Granger

The participants agreed at the top of the discussion agenda that rejuvenation of the Domestic Economy should be a leading Legislative priority for terms beginning this November. Among the topics discussed were:

 

Pressures from direct foreign competition. While a late effort has been made to protect the interests of Domestic Producers (ie, the ARRA, commonly called the Stimulus Plan), it was pointed out that there were no provisos in the Bill for a comprehensive Registrar, an Audit process, there was no verification and/or penalty for fraudulent certification. Also (and perhaps most surprising) is that procurement of cast components for military weapons and logistics systems can legally be purchased from the lowest bidder, and in many cases from offshore facilities in places like China! And whatever happened to the Buy Texas initiative proposed by Sen Davis in the State Legislature?

Energy. Despite the promises made regarding de-regulation of electric energy in this state, Texas remains in the top 75 percentile for energy costs. In other words, Texas producers are paying more per kilowatt for electricity than in all but twelve other states, though we sit on one of the biggest proven natural gas reserves in the world.

Taxes. It is recognized that revenues must be collected. Otherwise, general services (including Education, where we can ill-afford more deficiencies) must be curtailed; it’s as simple as that. How can Texas producers expand and create jobs in a stagnant economy when approximately 10% of their profits have to be earmarked for Franchise and Property Taxes? A question was posed: Would the Legislators consider a system of tax relief for Companies who affirm that the savings are creating Texas jobs?

Regulatory Pressures. Producers in the so-called Metroplex ‘non-attainment’ zone are paying the regulatory price for the fact that there are 5 million ‘mobile’ sources (ie: cars, trucks and construction equipment) creating a hot-weather inversion layer. A similar situation exists in Houston and Austin. The Officials were asked to consider addressing the problem on a Transportation level rather than targeting de-minimus ‘stationary’ emissions sources such as small foundries.

Obama-Care. While thoughtful citizens acknowledge that our current public health-care ‘system’ is badly in need of repair (and many of the problems are due in part to flaws in immigration policy), most do not realize that the President’s plan ultimately places the burden of cost squarely on the shoulders of Domestic Employers.

Daniel also pointed out that Association and PAC activity (such as TCMA and AFS) is more critical now, in lean times, than ever. The meeting ended with coherence among the participants and appreciation on the part of the Delegation. Congresswoman Granger remarked, “I truly enjoyed our ‘foundry’ education today. I was unaware of many of the challenges facing our Small Business Texas Manufacturers, and my staff and I are committed to working toward solutions”.

Midland Manufacturing is a non-ferrous foundry and machine works that employs about 50 people. Products include components for the Potable Water, Municipal, Energy, Architectural and Agricultural sectors. The Company has been in business since 1889. George Westhoff Jr is the fourth-generation family owner/operator.