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Take a Cue from the Guy at the Bar

Actor John Ratzenberger, best known as the mailman from Cheers, has made American manufacturing his cause. He tours the nation promoting American manufacturing and started a foundation for kids encouraging them to consider careers in building and inventing things. What sparked his passion for saving this sector of the nation’s economy? He visited its backbone. As host of Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made , Ratzenberger has toured machine shops, metalcasting facilities, fabricators, plastic molders, and assembly plants. Through discussions with their owners, he’s learned the capabilities of the facilities and the issues that many of them face to keep afloat.

We often stress the importance of opening your doors to your representatives in Congress. But as Ratzenberger shows, it really is a powerful way to make public officials understand the position of the American metalcasting industry. Invite them to your facility. Explain the main challenges you face. Showcase the quality of your product and the steps you’re making to improve your process. Explain how the castings will be used in their applications. Tell them where you’re investing into the facility—new equipment, EPA and OSHA compliance, employee training, etc. Introduce them to the workers on the shop floor and the engineers in the lab. And partner with nearby metalcasting facilities to give your local representatives access to a facility at regular intervals, so you can drive your message home.