The White House Talks Made In The USA

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[Source]

We would like to share a few manufacturing initiatives that reached important milestones during the past week.

Launch of Manufacturing.Data.Gov

President Obama has said that an economy built to last is one that is based not only on consuming goods but on making things. That’s why we’re proud to announce the launch of Manufacturing.Data.Gov. This new community on Data.gov is a one-stop Web portal for anyone interested in sharing and ideas and transforming emerging technologies into commercial success stories. It will serve as a public resource of high-value datasets, tools, and applications that can help entrepreneurs streer the entire product development chain for a project, from invention, engineering design and prototyping, to validation and testing, manufacturing, and sales.

The Data.gov manufacturing community is part of the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan’s commitment to expand the number of Data.gov communities to spark breakthroughs in national priorities. The scope of the dataset will expand in the coming months., but it already includes ready-to-license intellectual property from Federal agencies, Federal funding opportunities, Federal programs in advanced manufacturing, shared facilities, software tools and apps.

Marketing Excess Manufacturing Capacity

Hundreds of millions of square feet of U.S. commercial, industrial, and manufacturing space sits idle. To take better advantage of this resource, OSTP has been working with the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) to explore opportunities to turn those empty sites into thriving, productive facilities of advanced manufacturing. EDA will launch an initiative to create an inventory of excess manufacturing capacity that will act as an online marketplace to match companies in need of production facilities and related support services with vacant manufacturing facility and space that best corresponds to their needs. The goal is to create a model, based on four to six key manufacturing clusters across the country, that could be replicated to create a nationwide inventory. This new tool will be a valuable resource for domestic companies looking to expand as well as foreign companies exploring the North American market.

Connecting American Manufacturers to Defense Needs

With the goal of applying a user-friendly online market place to increase by ten-fold the pool of participants in defense manufacturing—including small manufacturers and entrepreneurs—the Department of Defense’s Manufacturing Technology program launched the Connecting American Manufacturinginitiative. The program will make it easier for the DoD to find U.S. manufacturers with the right capability and capacity to take on a job, and for U.S. manufacturers to find and secure DoD opportunities that match their capabilities.

Launching Advanced Manufacturing Skills Training in Detroit

The Manufacturing Institute, a national organization focused in part on providing workers with new skills forthe emerging advanced manufacturing industry, recently selected Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD) to lead the Right Skills Now program in Detroit, which allows individuals to earn college credit and national industry certifications in 16 weeks, preparing them for immediate employment in advanced manufacturing jobs.The WCCCD program is a comprehensive effort stemming from the “Make in Detroit” program launched as part of the Administration’s Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. The need for highly automated computer numerical control (CNC) skills is at near critical levels, with more than 700 job openings posted across nine counties in Southeast Michigan alone. The new fast-track program will train 32 local residents per session in certified precision manufacturing technologiesto help fill those available jobs. The WCCCD Right Skills Now program is also working with the Obama Administration’s Joining Forces initiative to ensure that veterans are tapped into opportunities for advanced manufacturing skills training.

And as always, make sure to check in with us at www.EVSMetal.com

Happy 4th Of July From EVS Metal

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From all of us at EVS Metal, we want to wish you a happy and safe 4th of July. It’s a holiday that celebrates our foundations and what we’re all about. Being thankful to live in the greatest country in the world and doing everything we can to keep it strong and prosperous. That’s why our operations are and always will be 100% located in the USA.

Enjoy the week, we’ll see you soon!

And as always, make sure to check in with us at www.EVSMetal.com

How To Know If A Product Is Really Made In America

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Consumer Reports – Given a choice between a product made in the U.S. and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product, according to a new nationally representative survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

More than 80 percent of those people cited retaining manufacturing jobs and keeping American manufacturing strong in the global economy as very important reasons for buying American. About 60 percent cited concern about the use of child workers or other cheap labor overseas, or stated that American-made goods were of higher quality.

And people would pay extra to buy American. More than 60 percent of all respondents indicated they’d buy American-made clothes and appliances even if those cost 10 percent more than imported versions; more than 25 percent said they’d pay at least an extra 20 percent. (Perhaps more surprising: According to a new survey of consumers in the U.S. and abroad by the Boston Consulting Group, more than 60 percent of Chinese respondents said they’d buy the American-made version over the Chinese even if it were to cost more.)

Clearly, most Americans want to know where products are made and want to buy those that will help create or keep jobs in the U.S.—an attempt applauded by economists like Jeff Faux, a distinguished fellow of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. “Consumers need to understand that all jobs and wages are interconnected,” Faux told us. “When you buy foreign goods—and sometimes there’s no choice—it means that fewer U.S. workers will have the money to buy the goods and services you sell.”

But what does “made in the USA” even mean? And how can you identify what’s made where?

In this special report, we’ll decipher labeling laws and explain why a product that pictures an American flag might be made abroad, identify companies that still make products in the U.S., hear from economists about manufacturing trends, and provide our experts’ assessment of the quality of some American-made apparel.

Few products except cars, textiles, furs, and woolens are required by law to reveal their American heritage. But when any manufacturer chooses to boast of an American connection, it must comply with federal rules designed to keep consumers from being misled.

Our evidence shows that if not misled, consumers are at least confused. Readers flood Consumer Reports with letters and e-mail seeking explanations as to why, for example, frozen blueberries from Oregon are identified as a product of Chile; why a company named Florida’s Natural sells apple juice with concentrate from Brazil; why pants made in Vietnam are labeled “authentic, active, outdoor, American”; or why a T-shirt with the words “Made in the” above the U.S. flag comes from Mexico.

Though perplexing, such words and pictures don’t usually violate regulations that are issued by the Federal Trade Commission, the agency responsible for protecting consumers from false or deceptive product claims. The key factors in determining whether a “Made in the USA” claim is deceptive, says FTC senior attorney Laura Koss, are the claim’s context and whether it’s likely to mislead a reasonable consumer. Ultimately, the line between legal and illegal is determined by the overall impression planted in consumers’ minds.

But the line is blurry. Every case is different and subject to interpretation, Koss says. Most of the complaints the FTC receives are initiated by companies that are pointing a finger at competitors they claim are seeking an unfair advantage.

When a company definitely crosses the line, the FTC’s priority is stopping the behavior, not punishment. If a company refuses, it faces civil penalties—in theory. In practice, the FTC has brought only one civil penalty case since the late 1990s, slapping toolmaker Stanley with a $205,000 fine in 2006 to settle charges involving the pedigree of its Zero Degree ratchets. (Stanley claimed that the ratchets were made in America, but the FTC noted that much of their content was foreign.)

The types of claims:

“Made in the USA” claims can be “unqualified” or “qualified.” Unqualified means that “all or virtually all” significant parts and processing are of U.S. origin. The product may contain a small amount of foreign ingredients if they’re not significant—the knobs of a barbecue grill, for instance. Companies must be able to document any claim.

Qualified claims, the main cause of confusion, come in many forms, but each must tell the whole story. Take the new iPad Mini. The packaging says, “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China.” That’s an acceptable claim. By contrast, a company could land in trouble if it said “created in the U.S.” without specifying the country of manufacture, since consumers are likely to interpret a vague, stand-alone term like “created” as all-inclusive. The FTC requires companies to post prominent, unambiguous statements (such as the actual country of origin) to leave an accurate impression.

Readers who have sent us complaints seem most irritated by foreign-made products whose makers have patriotic names (American Mills, Americana Olives, Great American Seafood, United States Sweaters, the U.S. Lock company) or whose packages have flag-waving slogans (“true American quality”) or symbols (pictures of the flag, eagle, Statue of Liberty). But all of those products are likely to be legal as long as they leave a clear impression about where they’re made.

Another type of labeling law, enforced by U.S. Customs and Border Protection with an assist from the Department of Agriculture, requires imported goods to bear a country-of-origin label when they enter the U.S. If an import combines materials or processing from more than one country, the agency considers the country of origin to be the last country in which a “substantial transformation” occurred—for example, the place where a computer was fabricated, not the country that supplied most parts.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is responsible for administering and enforcing country-of-origin labeling of certain foods. Large retailers must use signs, labels, or stickers to identify the birthplace of covered commodities (most meat, fish, fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, and some nuts). That’s why some brands of salmon are labeled both “wild-caught Alaskan” and “Product of Thailand.” The fish was caught in U.S. waters but took a detour to Asia to be skinned and boned (to take advantage of cheaper labor) before making its return voyage. Under the law, that side trip must be noted.

Bottom line. If you want to buy American products, these tips should help:

– Read labels carefully, using the info above.
– Consult websites that name companies making products in the U.S.: americansworking.com, madeinamericaforever.com, and madeinusa.org.
– Contact a manufacturer directly.
– Check our listing of some of the companies still manufacturing in America.

 

And as always, check in with us at www.evsmetal.com

How Made In The USA Is Making A Comeback (From Time Magazine)

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Time Magazine – The U.S. economy continues to struggle, and the weak March jobs report — just 88,000 positions were added — briefly spooked the market. But step back and you’ll see a bright spot, perhaps the best economic news the U.S. has witnessed since the rise of Silicon Valley: Made in the USA is making a comeback. Climbing out of the recession, the U.S. has seen its manufacturing growth outpace that of other advanced nations, with some 500,000 jobs created in the past three years. It marks the first time in more than a decade that the number of factory jobs has gone up instead of down. From ExOne’s 3-D manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh to Dow Chemical’s expanding ethylene and propylene production in Louisiana and Texas, which could create 35,000 jobs, American workers are busy making things that customers around the world want to buy — and defying the narrative of the nation’s supposedly inevitable manufacturing decline.

The past several months alone have seen some surprising reversals. Apple, famous for the city-size factories in China that produce its gadgets, decided to assemble one of its Mac computer lines in the U.S. Walmart, which pioneered global sourcing to find the lowest-priced goods for customers, said it would pump up spending with American suppliers by $50 billion over the next decade — and save money by doing so (for TIME’s new cover story, written by myself and Bill Saporito, and available to subscribers, click here). And Airbus will build JetBlue’s new jets in Alabama.

(MORE: The Cult of Apple in China)

Some economists argue that the gains are a natural part of the business cycle, rather than a sustainable recovery in the sector. But I would argue that the improvements of the last three years aren’t a blip. They are the sum of a powerful equation refiguring the global economy. U.S. factories increasingly have access to cheap energy thanks to oil and gas from the shale boom. For companies outside the U.S., it’s the opposite: high global oil prices translate into costlier fuel for ships and planes — which means some labor savings from low-cost plants in China evaporate when the goods are shipped thousands of miles. And about those low-cost plants: workers from China to India are demanding and getting bigger paychecks, while U.S. companies have won massive concessions from unions over the past decade. Suddenly the math on outsourcing doesn’t look quite as attractive. Paul Ashworth, the North America economist for research firm Capital Economics, is willing to go a step further. “The offshoring boom,” Ashworth wrote in a recent report, “does appear to have largely run its course.”

Today’s U.S. factories aren’t the noisy places where your grandfather knocked in four bolts a minute for eight hours a day. Dungarees and lunch pails are out; computer skills and specialized training are in, since the new made-in-America economics is centered largely on cutting-edge technologies. The trick for U.S. companies is to develop new manufacturing techniques ahead of global competitors and then use them to produce goods more efficiently on superautomated factory floors. These factories of the future have more machines and fewer workers — and those workers must be able to master the machines. Many new manufacturing jobs require at least a two-year tech degree to complement artisan skills such as welding or milling. The bar will only get higher: Some experts believe it won’t be too long before employers will expect a four-year degree — a job qualification that will eventually be required in many other places around the world too.

(MORE: Is U.S. Manufacturing Really Back?)

Understanding this new look is critical if the U.S. wants to nurture manufacturing and grow jobs. There are implications for educators (who must ensure that future workers have the right skills) as well as policy-makers (who may have to set new educational standards). “Manufacturing is coming back, but it’s evolving into a very different type of animal than the one most people recognize today,” says James Manyika, a director at McKinsey Global Institute who specializes in global high tech. “We’re going to see new jobs, but nowhere near the number some people expect, especially in the short term.”

Still, if the U.S. can get this right, though, the payoff will be tremendous. Manufacturing represents a whopping 67% of private-sector R&D spending as well as 30% of the country’s productivity growth. Every $1 of manufacturing activity returns $1.48 to the economy. “The ability to make things is fundamental to the ability to innovate things over the long term,” says Willy Shih, a Harvard Business School professor and co-author of Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance. “When you give up making products, you lose a lot of the added value.” In other words, what you make makes you. For more on the rebound in manufacturing and what it means for jobs and economic growth in the US, check out this week’s TIME magazine cover story, “Made In America.”

 

And be sure to check in with us over at www.evsmetal.com

Hotels Are Changing To “Made In The USA” Rooms

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[Source – USA Today]

When you walk into a hotel in the U.S. today, you’ll see many items – chairs, draperies, lamps – that were made in China, Vietnam, Malaysia or elsewhere overseas.

But that’s gradually changing, hotel designers and furniture makers tell Hotel Check-In.

There’s a small but growing trend among hotels to buy more items from local, regional or U.S. vendors.

Hotel owners, developers and designers are increasingly deciding it’s worth it, even if they pay a little extra for a U.S. product.

Examples:

The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis recently finished a $25 million revamp that used “Made in America” as its central theme. More than three-quarters of the items purchased for the renovation came from the USA, says designer Michael Suomi of New York-based Stonehill & Taylor. The guest bathroom counter tops, for instance, feature granite quarried locally and purchased from a century-old Minnesota company.
The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, in Greensboro, Ga., is in the midst of redecorating to give guests a lighter, more modern look with many U.S.-made products, says Megan Ybarra of the Dallas-based interior design firm Duncan Miller Ullman. The hotel found wall coverings from Kentucky, guestroom carpet from Georgia, and a Texas metalwork firm was hired to custom-make the metal branches that form the base of guestroom ottomans, she says.
The InterContinental Chicago’s 477-room renovation emphasizes locally-sourced materials and furniture, says Dan Egan, the hotel’s sales and marketing director. Guest rooms contain drapery from Union, Ill., headboards from Jasper, Ind., wall covering from York, Penn., and room signage in hallways from McCook, Ill.
Montague, a 20-year-old guestroom furniture maker, last April invested in its first-ever factory – and it’s located in North Carolina, says Misty Delbridge, who runs the company’s U.S. division. It made sense, because hotel owners are increasingly seeking products made here and the factory was in danger of closing down, she says. A Hilton hotel in Texas, for instance, is having the company prepare two model rooms for a renovation – one outfitted with furnishings made in Vietnam and the other with furnishings made in the U.S., she says. Montague still has about 70% of its products produced in China and Malaysia.
No. 1 priority: Put heads in beds

Another factor driving the growth in U.S.-sourced products is hotels’ rush to renovate in as small a window as possible so that rooms can stay filled with paying customers, says Delbridge. It’s especially true in New York City, where some hotels can be sold out or almost sold out most nights of the year.

“If the cost (to purchase U.S.-made furniture) is 10% higher and the hotel can gain revenue back in six to eight weeks, they’re all about it because then they could have a ‘Made in America’ story and gain revenue,” Delbridge says. “These companies wouldn’t do it just for the story. There’s got to be an advantage in it for them.”

Hotel renovations are faster paced than building new hotels from scratch, notes Ybarra, who worked on the Ritz-Carlton Lodge project. It typically takes about 18 months to renovate a hotel, which since the recession has been the most common activity among hoteliers, vs. about three years to build a new one, she says.

“Our clients are willing to pay an extra dollar or two to not have the hassle of waiting,” Ybarra says. There’s also the risk of complications, she says, citing long waits at U.S. Customs and a time when pirates took over containers filled with items for a Turks and Caicos hotel.

Sustainability regains momentum

The sustainability story was a big deal in the years leading up to the recession, says Suomi, who’s worked on projects ranging from the trendy Ace in New York to the mid-priced Hyatt House chain.

Back then, some hotels sought to earn green certification that required them to comply with a wide variety of environmentally friendly rules regarding construction, plumbing, landscaping and even air quality. But interest died down – especially among the major chains, he says – once developers saw the added costs. The economic collapse hurt interest even more.

Today, as travel and hotel profits rebound, Suomi says interest in sustainability is rising again – but with a twist. Hotels hope they can use what he calls “social sustainability” to distinguish themselves from rivals while at the same time making a favorable financial decision.

“If you’re socially sustainable in a way that really benefits the local communities, you involve them in the products of the hotel and you create an enormous amount of good will, then everyone will want to show it to their mom.”

More people are also realizing that American firms may be more price-competitive after factoring in the extra costs for shipping, trucking and warehousing items from Asia, he says.

Ybarra also notes that it’s getting easier to find items made in the USA. For the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Georgia, they bought 100% of the guestroom carpet from a vendor in the same state and all wall coverings from Kentucky, she says.

But there are some exceptions. Suomi says that for the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, one of the main items they could not find in the U.S. was a special wall-to-wall, patterned carpeting that’s custom-made for hotel ballrooms. The carpeting used to be manufactured in Pennsylvania until the last mill shut down and the looms sold to a Chinese company, he says. Ybarra identifies light fixtures as being harder to source domestically.

 

As always, check in with us at www.EVSMetal.com

Made In USA Makes A Comeback As A Marketing Tool

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[Source – USA Today]

It’s becoming downright American to make stuff in America.

Small manufacturers, craftsmen and retailers are marketing the Made-in-USA tag to score do-gooder points with consumers for employing stateside, says Margarita Mendoza, founder of the Made in America Movement, a lobbying organization for small manufacturers.

It’s working: Over 80% of Americans are willing to pay more for Made-in-USA products, 93% of whom say it’s because they want to keep jobs in the USA, according to a survey released in November by Boston Consulting Group. In ultra-partisan times, it’s one of the few issues both Democrats and Republicans agree on.

When considering similar products made in the U.S. vs. China, the average American is willing to pay up to 60% more for U.S.-made wooden baby toys, 30% more for U.S.-made mobile phones and 19% more for U.S.-made gas ranges, the survey says.

Now Wal-Mart wants a piece of the action. The behemoth, embroiled over the past year with worker protests and foreign bribery investigations, pledged recently to source $50 billion of products in the U.S. over the next 10 years, says Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove. They’re not alone. Mendoza says both Caterpillar and 3M have also made efforts to source more in the U.S.

“Regardless if this is a PR ploy or not, it doesn’t matter. A lot more people will look for the Made-in-USA tag,” she says, adding that, considering Wal-Mart’s size, $5 billion a year is only “a drop in the bucket,” for the retailer whose 2012 sales reached almost $444 billion.

Kyle Rancourt says his American-made shoe company, Rancourt & Co., hit it big as concern over U.S. jobs mounted when the recession hit in 2009. But he says he lies awake at night worrying if Made-in-USA is just a passing fad.

“It’s inevitable that times will change,” Rancourt says. “But I am still holding out hope that this has become a core value of our country.”

Mendoza says that if buying American turns out to be a passing fad, the country is in trouble.

“If they don’t understand the economic factor, we need to pull on their heartstrings,” she says. “The thought of having a country like China taking over, that alone is bone-chilling.”

But do folks care enough about U.S. manufacturing jobs to permanently change the way they shop? David Aaker, vice chairman of brand consulting firm Prophet, says the companies that get the most credit for being American, such as Apple and Cisco, don’t even source products in the U.S.

“I don’t think it matters unless it becomes visible,” Aaker says. “The most common way for that is if something bad happens, like if Nike gets some press about conditions in factories overseas.”

But Rancourt says his customers believe foreign-made shoes lack the soul of their American counterparts.

“There’s hundreds if not thousands of workers working on those factories. They do one specific job, maybe put an eyelet into a specific place,” he says. “They don’t have an idea or concept of a finished product and how that should look.”

Just watch out for phony Made-in-USA claims. It’s illegal to claim a product is U.S.-made unless both the product and all it’s components are sourced in the U.S. Even products that could imply a phony country of origin with a flag or country outline are verboten. Julia Solomon Ensor, enforcement lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission, says the FTC gets “several complaints each month about potentially deceptive ‘Made-in-the-USA’ claims.”

It sets a bad example. Mendoza says the U.S. needs to let kids know it’s OK to work in manufacturing. “Not all children are going to grow up to be dentists, and lawyers, and investment bankers.”

 

And as always, check in with us at www.EVSMetal.com

WeatherTech’s Made In America Success Story

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[Source – Chicago Business]

The man behind WeatherTech floor mats, Dave MacNeil, is one serious car guy.
A tour of his company’s west suburban manufacturing plants finds him behind the wheel of a BMW M5, reputedly the fastest four-door sedan out there, and then a Porsche, after a stop to show off his private museum of vintage Ferraris and Mercedes. The road trip ends at MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd.’s retail showroom in Bolingbrook, where a pristinely restored 1965 Aston Martin DB5—the car Sean Connery drove as James Bond in “Goldfinger”—greets guests by the front door.

Mr. MacNeil is serious about something else, too: waving Old Glory.

In an age when much manufacturing has been outsourced to China and other low-wage nations, WeatherTech’s entire line of more than 5,000 car floor mats, rooftop cargo carriers, side-window deflectors, license plate frames and mud flaps is made in America, much of it in the 400,000 square feet of factory and warehouse space in Downers Grove and Bolingbrook he built in the past five years. He reminds everyone of that fact in an almost-impossible-to-miss outpouring of print ads, billboards and television commercials.
“Many of our competitors make their products in Asia, and we had that as an option,” says Mr. MacNeil, 53, a former Daimler A.G. exec who founded his company in 1988 from his home in Clarendon Hills by importing car mats from England. “But I was born here and I’ve always had great faith in American workers. I just felt we could make better products in America.”

Mr. MacNeil is fanatical about his made-in-America promise. Virtually every machine in the company’s plants is made by an American tool supplier. MacNeil Automotive Products employs 500 people, including 300 nonunion hourly workers, up from fewer than 100 overall 10 years ago. Though its facilities are highly automated, wages that average $20 an hour for semiskilled workers mean WeatherTech’s prices are high—as much as $100 for a pair of floor mats. Customers are paying up just the same.

“We don’t use the word ‘outsource’ here at all,” says Dave MacNeil, founder and CEO of MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd.
Stephen J. Serio

“It’s a great product, particularly if you have kids with muddy feet,” says Gary Prestopino, a car parts analyst at Barrington Research Associates Inc. in Chicago who has WeatherTech mats in a couple of his cars.MacNeil Automotive is 100 percent owned by Mr. MacNeil, who insists he harbors no ambition to sell in the foreseeable future. By his reckoning, sales have grown at a double-digit pace every year over the past decade and profits have never been a problem. Crain’s estimated MacNeil Automotive’s revenue topped $80 million in 2012.

The company, which quit importing from English suppliers five years ago, is now exporting to England and 20 other overseas markets, including South America and Asia. It also has moved more of its sales transactions online. Meanwhile, it’s cementing more contracts with automakers themselves to supply WeatherTech mats as original equipment on new cars.

Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar is accustomed, like all mayors, to business owners demanding tax breaks and other goodies before bringing jobs to a town. But he says Mr. MacNeil has never asked for favors. “He doesn’t want government assistance. He wants to do it all himself. That’s refreshing,” Mr. Claar says.

While floor mats seem to be a commodity product, MacNeil Automotive’s nonstop advertising sets WeatherTech apart from rivals: The product gets plugged in 100 print publications a month. “MacNeil is a marketing genius,” says Peter MacGillivray, a vice president at the Specialty Equipment Market Association, an industry trade group in Diamond Bar, Calif. “They are everywhere with their advertising. They’ve raised the bar for everybody in their industry in the way they promote their brand.”

Mr. MacNeil, who races cars in his spare time and sponsors races and race cars, is so fastidious about the control of each part of his operation that he even refuses to outsource marketing. WeatherTech commercials are video-recorded by company employees on sets erected adjacent to the warehouse. The toll-free phone lines ring at another company building down the block.

“I know it’s not the way most companies are set up these days, but we don’t use the word ‘outsource’ here at all,” he says. “I like to do things my way.”

 

 
As always, be sure to check in with us at www.EVSMetal.com