Volume 45, Issue 9 - November/December  2006

The Window Guy

Selling America Down the (Yangtze) River
American-Born Manufacturers Need to Come Home
by R. Mark Reasbeck

My last two “Window Guy” installments generated some interesting comments. One in particular was thanking me for “having the guts” to tell it like it is. I really am not a good candidate for a “P.C. Humanitarian Award,” and this month’s entry is no different. 

We should probably say for the first time, “The views and opinions expressed in this column are the sole property of my brain, and in no way reflect whatever they’re thinking about over at SHELTER magazine.”

Globalization or Mobilization?
Having devoted 23-plus years to peddling windows, I read several other door and window magazines, to see what’s up in the industry. One recent article I came across pushed one of my hot buttons. The article was encouraging manufacturers to “think globally” and purchase extrusions overseas to help save costs. 

He also spent the balance of the article trying to convince the reader that the imported extrusions are as structurally sound as domestic ones. He said not to be apprehensive about using the imported products because they will make you more competitive.

I attended a convention a few weeks ago here in my hometown of Las Vegas. One of my suppliers invited me, and I also had some fun at the SHELTER magazine booth asking the folks there where the autograph party was being held in my honor (you had to have been there). While walking around in amazement of the degree of high-tech equipment, I was stopped in my tracks and just stared up at a sign that read “China.” 

As I continued my path crossing under the sign, I was amazed of the number of glass manufacturers, extruders and machinery companies represented at the convention. I’m guessing that maybe it was ten percent of the total floor space of the convention.

After that wake-up call, I talked to my friend Ed that I use as a sounding board for my writing ideas. In the middle of explaining my findings, he said, “Mark, isn’t the tractor you bought imported?” 

He’s right. I’m just as guilty. It bothered me enough to do some research. I discovered you can’t buy a compact tractor under 60-70 horsepower that is made in the United States. McCormick must be plowing over in his grave. Didn’t we invent the farm tractor? Wasn’t Henry Ford the father of the car industry? The first television was invented here. And you can’t leave out JELL-O.

Gobblization (not misspelled)
I’ve always been told that the only place after you reach the top is out. The United States has always been the best at whatever we set out to do. We once set the standards for the world. There was a day when we were the largest exporter on the planet because people wanted our stuff.

In the name of globalization, we are being ‘gobbled up.’ When will some of the companies birthed in America, see that they need to “come home?” 

Why can’t we say, “No!” to importing window locks overseas and think, “Local!” and let a small manufacturer in Iowa be a viable asset to his community? It really does come back to all of us by keeping the economy alive. 

What about John Deere, Magnavox, General Electric, Delco, Hewlett-Packard? I say “buck-up!” and close your shops in Monterrey, Mexico, and move back home. 

Just as a married person would not violate their wedding vows, I believe that “business” should take a vow to America and stay faithful to her. We have steel mills idle in this country because we send raw ore to China and they send back steel that is “stealing” jobs from our own. For what? 

If you read any geology book, erosion is always in progress on the earth. A cliff protruding from a mountain is sure to slide into the valley below with the slightest, constant rainfall or by the continuous blowing sand. Every time we import product, another shovel full of sand crumbles from our economy, and if we don’t see the wake-up call soon, our whole economy will slide into the Yangtze River.

Please Note: This article was not intended in any way to be a racial or ethnic attack. We are all God’s creations, no man better than another. It was written in the spirit of what made our country great, needs to be revived.

R. Mark Reasbeck is owner of Coyote Springs Window and Door in Las Vegas.

SHELTER
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