Good Day, President George Bush, with the highest respect,
I would like to share my feelings with you, and explain why they have changed aboutthe American dream I grew up believing. I also would like to give you my suggestions on how to improve the economy, the future and regain belief in the America dream.
I was born in Chicago in 1965. My dad, a father of five, was a family provider, worked in a factory everyday, delivered milk in the mornings and drove cabs in the evenings for additional income. My mom was a homemaker, a business entrepreneur and a waitress part-time. My parents worked very hard to live out their American dream by having children and doing the things that families do: vacations, family outings, holidays, etc. They raised their children to believe that anything is possible and all goals are achievable in America through honesty, hard work and determination.
As I reached adulthood I wanted to follow my parents' example. I finished high school, went to trade school and took college courses. I set my goals for a simple content life, a wife, a family, a home and, if I was lucky enough, a hobby.
I have built a strong career and support my American Dream. I am a mechanical person; my hands are my gift. I am a certified American moldmaker CNC machinist, programmer/operator.
Over the years, I chose to stay with the CNC machining centers as my specialized skill. I was always in top demand. I had a good work ethic and put quality and pride into every job. But, as time went on I realized that the demand was thinning and cheap labor was threatening American workers.
I understood that I would need to advance to a higher level in the industry if I wanted to retain the income I worked so hard to achieve. I advanced to management levels. In the 1990s, I saw a tremendous value reduction in the industry. Companies couldn't afford top paid tradesman anymore and as the trade was weakening so was my paycheck.
I had always wanted to own and operate my own organization. Deciding that I would plan and create my own future, I drew up my business plan and then realized it was too far out of reach. The plan went into a closet for the next several years.
I continued to work in the trade for far less than I thought I was worth, faithfully thinking things would get better but nothing did; it got worse to the point that there were no jobs.
When I was thirty-five, I felt that I was mature enough to take my chances and open my own shop. I took a few thousand dollars I had saved over the years and borrowed twenty thousand more. Soon after, the manufacturing/mold building industry completely dried up-to the worst it had ever been. I worked day and night, often with no sleep, for three and half years, creating and establishing, a state-of-the-art facility with two Mazak CNC machines, and tooling and computer supporting software. Today, I am a small, established, reputable start-up company, employing two top contract tradesman.
Typically recessions don't last for three years, I have financed the short fall of my company for two and half years. Just before my personal finances became depleted, I managed to get my company to self-sustain. I have done this by working 140 hours a week and averaging minimum wages. I am on continuous overload trying to run, operate and sustain my investment in my American company.
The manufacturing industry in this country has become so undervalued that machines need to run 24/7/365, just to break even. Jobs are quoted so cheaply that there are no revenues to pay for night shift employees, and there are no profits, health insurance or benefits for team employees.
With the hope of regaining my belief in the America dream, I can only continue on and hope that things get better. To expect to get a personal reply to this personal letter would be the impossible. I pray that change for a better future is not as impossible.
I don't know much about politics or history, but I do know that I voted for you. I believed that you would make things right. I believed that you would implement a fair trade agreement through which we would be given a fair playing field. After all, we do have the weight of the world on our shoulders slowing us down.
I can only suggest that we put American manufacturing factories back to work. That is how we built America, and that is how we will continue to build America. I have done everything a loyal American can do. It is now in the hands of the U.S. to be loyal to its supporting Americans.
It's been said that our manufacturing industry is hemorrhaging in this country. My heart is hemorrhaging for every working American. Please, make this change happen. Please, re-kinder the American dream before we all find ourselves un-united and standing alone.
Michael Edward Mirante
M & M Tooling, Inc. (Wood Dale, IL)
Editor's PickA Big Picture Approach to Sustainability for Manufacturers
Sustainability is now a mainstream issue for all industries. Though perhaps most notable, greenhouse gas emission reduction should not be the only sustainability goal for manufacturers. Reducing the entire environmental footprint of products and processes is the ‘big picture’ of sustainability.