Made in America – A Difference for Your Neighbors and Our Future


Festivals, parades and fireworks displays are all a part of summer fun in the United States. When buying goods for your family do you look for products made in America?sparklers_Flag

I grew up checking to see where products were manufactured. My father and grandfather were union carpenters who stressed it was part of being a good citizen to support American jobs whenever possible.

It is still very important to millions of jobs. Manufacturers contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016 according to the National Association of Manufacturers.manufacturing_industrial


Deloitte’s Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index finds the United States is no longer the world’s top manufacturing center. While China is the top manufacturing nation currently, Deloitte analysts predict the United States will regain the number one position from China by the end of the decade.

One entrepreneur is giving shoppers new options to buy American. Todd Lipscomb, an Asia expert and former tech industry executive, was so haunted by what he learned living in Asia; he chucked it all to found  workman_tools

The website features American-made products in one easy to use site with thousands of small businesses represented. It is one of several websites making it easier to locate American made goods.

Writing about my dad and grandfather and their commitment to buy American whenever possible I want to share this vintage commercial that with a catchy jingle!

Happy birthday America!


Made in the USA: Online Reality Series Get on The Shelf Invites Consumers to Have a Say


Made in America an important selling feature.

Made in America an important selling feature.

When shopping  do you check where the product originates or is produced?  I know I do.  It is a global marketplace we live in and consumers know not all nations’ standards are the same.  In China, about 38 percent of Chinese surveyed in a recent Pew Research Center poll reflected food safety is a very big concern in China.  This is a jump from 2008, when only 12 percent of Chinese respondents agreed.

It is little wonder with these concerns, “Made in the USA” is currently one of the hottest labels around!  Seventy-four percent of the Americans in a Consumer Reports National Research survey had tried to buy a U.S.-made product in the past year.

Made in America is not just a marketing slogan!  It is important to your family and your future.  Did you know these facts about manufacturing in America?

The United States is the world’s largest manufacturing economy, producing 18.2 percent of global manufactured products, according to the World Bank. China is second with 17.6 percent.

U.S. manufacturing produces $1.8 trillion of value each year, or 12.2 percent of U.S. GDP. For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.48 is added to the economy.

Manufacturing supports an estimated 17.2 million jobs in the U.S.—about one in six private sector jobs. Nearly 12 million Americans (or 9 percent of the workforce) are employed directly in manufacturing.

Walmart is again giving American inventors and manufacturing a boost with the return of the popular original online reality series. The first episode can now be viewed at, and the retailer is asking the public to decide which new products from American entrepreneurs will appear on its shelves this fall.

The five weekly “webisodes,” which go live on Tuesdays beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22, 2013 feature a group of finalists under the same theme, such as Kid Stuff or Great Gadgets. The video shows give viewers a chance to learn more about the entrepreneurs behind the inventions and watch as they pitch their product to a panel of judges.

After each weekly online episode, voters have 72 hours to cast their votes for the winner, who will have their product sold on A grand prize winner will also be selected based on the number of preorders of the product, and will receive additional support marketing from plus an introduction to the Walmart stores’ merchandising team to potentially be sold in Walmart stores. Last year’s three winning products are sold in select Walmart stores and on

“Get on the Shelf celebrates the resilient and tenacious spirit of American entrepreneurs, many of whom have been working hard for a big break like this,” explains Kelly Thompson, senior vice president of merchandising for said in a statement. “The web series creates more exposure for finalists to share their inspiring stories, which makes for captivating reality TV that’s also interactive since American consumers can vote for the next great product at”

A Day for Those Who Build America and Keep it Strong

There is “Talk Like a Pirate Day”, “Cheeseburger Day” and all sorts of observances that are a lot of fun and without a serious message.  But National Tradesmen Day is an annual national celebration to honor the men and women who work with their hands to build America and keep it running strong.

 It is an observance dear to my heart.  Both my father and his father were craftsmen.  Carpenters who worked out of a union hall at a time when there were not many tradespeople represented by unions in the Deep South.  They spent years in apprentice and training to perfect their skills for the wide variety jobs they completed.  I remember Sunday afternoon family drives after church, where my father would point with pride to a skyscraper or school he helped build.  It could be a bridge or a courthouse he had contributed to.  My father and grandfather knew how to build concrete forms or do intricate finishes.  Designers using exotic and expensive woods used in boardrooms or courtrooms knew my Dad could make the cuts and trim out their projects to their specifications. It was a point of pride for him to show off his work to his children.

I believe America’s tradespeople build our homes, roads, businesses, and schools. They keep our cars running, our lights on, our water flowing, and so much more. They are the backbone of our functioning nation IRWIN® Tools; a manufacturer of hand tools and power tool accessories has been honoring them for years with celebrations, recognition events and activities throughout the country

Friday, September 20, 2013 is National Tradesmen Day.  It also puts a spotlight on a problem in our nation—one caused by a shortage of people willing to work with their hands. Manpower’s recent talent shortage survey reports that for the fourth consecutive year, skilled trades are the most difficult jobs to fill in the United States. The American Society of Civil Engineers says America’s roads and bridges are in disrepair, assigning a D+ grade to America’s overall infrastructure. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate continues to hover at historically high levels while a critical need for skilled tradesmen exists. Some believe not only does our nation have a jobs problem; America has a skills shortage.

At one time, ironworkers and welders were glorified. Photographs of tradesmen eating an open-air lunch on a girder high atop a yet-to-be completed skyscraper take us back to a very different world—one where working with your hands was a dignified way to earn a living. Today, a four-year degree and a desk job are considered the keys to a desirable lifestyle. Most high schools eliminated shop class years ago, and now only six percent of high school seniors consider a career in the trades. The National Association of Manufacturing, The National Center for Career Education and Research and several other business organizations believe more schools should teach students some trades offer challenging careers where they can often out-earn their college educated peers. 

 “It’s time that we once again present the trades as a respectable career option for the next generation. Becoming a trained plumber, electrician, or welder offers a clear and stable career path where working with your hands allows you to contribute meaningfully to our society,” says Rich Mathews, Senior Vice President of Marketing for IRWIN Tools.

There are an estimated 600,000 open jobs in the skilled trades, simply because people don’t have the proper training to fill the positions.  Many business leaders say they believe our nation is not only facing a job shortage, but a skills shortage.

Today is a day to recognize the people who lace up boots each morning before heading to the jobsite. Many of them have spent as much or more time learning their craft than workers who grab a tie and head to a high-rise office.  Recognize the contributions the trades make in your life. If you go onto a job site, or anywhere you see a skilled laborer working such as a drywall or electrician, carpenter and simply shake his or her hand and say “thanks for the work that you do.”

To learn more the annual observance head to or find them on Facebook at


Traffic Congestion & Gridlock Challenges Many Small Businesses

Gridlock is a challenge impacting many small businesses and their employees.  It is not only traffic jams during commute time concerning business owners.  Increased traffic congestion is eating into the bottom lines of small firms that rely on transportation to run their businesses.  Congestion on the nation’s roads is estimated to cost the American economy $87.2 billion annually, according to testimony before Congress.

At a recent hearing of the House Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, entrepreneurs discussed traffic congestion challenges, and expressed hope for relief in the upcoming highway bill.

 “As Congress writes the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act, I want to make sure that we are taking small businesses’ needs into account,” Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA-) said. “Congestion on our nation’s highways reduces productivity and inflates production costs for small businesses everyday. The Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act would both create good paying jobs and provide small businesses with the 21st Century infrastructure they need.”

Congress is in the process of writing the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act. Witnesses stressed the importance of small business participation, citing the fact that small firms comprise the vast majority of the construction and manufacturing sectors.

According to a study by the Associated Equipment Distributors, every dollar of direct spending on heavy construction equipment–the kind used for infrastructure projects–puts $3.19 back into the economy. In 2007, $10.2 billion in direct spending for the purchase of these tools generated $92 billion in direct earnings, and supported over 262,000 jobs.

Dateless? Wish for Great Conversation & Clean Windows? Would You Rent-a-Gent?

Valentine’s Day is coming up and if you find yourself without a sweetheart, one entrepreneur hopes you will consider becoming his client.    In a sign of the times, a downsized Homeland Security agent is offering to be an escort, driver, or do odd jobs in his new business named ‘Rent-A-Gent™.’

Rene van Uum is the Texas man finding an interesting way to help make ends meet with his ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ business. The Garland man is now online with his unusual business and his Website describes a “educated, mature, responsible, tri-lingual, well traveled, internet-savvy, articulate,  resourceful, calculating, punctual, husband & father of twin daughters” willing to do odd jobs to support his family.

webb_picture_1582106The 50-year-old has photographs and descriptions of some of the jobs he can do on the website:  everything from oil changes to washing windows or  pets.  He has helped clients with deliveries and errands; and also worked as a driver and companion on some road trips.
This ‘Rent-A-Gent™ business owner is also available as an escort or date!  His wife, Becky, is supportive as long as she approves the event and client in advance.  I did notice on the site the rates for an upcoming party or special function for women are $25.00 per hour, and for men, $125.00 per hour!
This enterprising baby boomer also provides companionship for senior citizens who want visitors or some help when it comes to shopping or getting to appointments.  Gift shopping is another service the ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ offers.  The rate for most jobs is $25.00 an hour.
Are you inspired to start your own business?

Check out this short streaming video from on some of the hottest ideas and best ways to start a small business: click here.
Would you consider using a service like ‘Rent-A-Gent™’ to make a long car trip less stressful?  Is it a possibility for the next wedding where you don’t feel like going alone?  Let me know what you think about this unusual business and if there is anything like it in your area!

Harnessing the Wind is Creating Jobs

The U.S. House of Representatives is going to vote on the new economic stimulus package soon, probably later this week.

Wind and solar energy initiatives are part of the legislative package
lawmakers will consider to combat not only the current economic crisis,
but the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. The United States is the
fastest growing wind power market in the world.

Wind power is already proving to be an alternative energy source and is
creating jobs as more businesses and utilities adopt the technology. Click here to see a short video on how harnessing the wind is creating job even in a down economy.

Some Positive News on the Economic Front—Especially if You Want to Work from Home

The turbulent economy is getting a lot of attention, but there are some bright spots on the business landscape. Prices are declining for several forms of energy and some jobs previously outsourced are returning to the United States. A growing number of companies are bringing back American jobs by using home-based workers linked by technology.  More than 150-thousand customer service professionals currently work from their homes and the number is growing every day.

For example, an electronics warranty service based in Virginia is making plans to expand to the Midwest.  An announcement today forecasts adding as many as 480 work-at-home customer service jobs over the next three years! NEW Electronics Warranty Customer Service Corporation needs employees to work out of their homes, answering calls and trouble-shooting questions.  The warranty company plans to begin hiring early next year in Carbondale, Illinois.  The home-based workers hired will undergo six weeks of training before taking calls.  NEW’s training courses utilize Computer Based Training (CBT), Internet-based training, instructional videos, and a “training toolbox” that includes a variety of training aids. When face-to-face training isn’t practical or needs to be supplemented, NEW utilizes its in-house video production department to produce state-of-the-art training videos, CDs and DVDs.   NEW has opened eleven work-at-home programs for customer service representatives this year alone!  In addition to the work at home training sites, the company has nine contact centers.

A growing number of well-known firms are using some home-based workers including J-Crew, Office Depot and Direct TV.  Home-based call centers have to spend very little on advertising or recruiting because so many potential agents hear about the positions through stories in the news, friends, or their own proactive research.  But small businesses are also tapping the power of a virtual workforce too. In this podcast on you can hear how one enterprise is finding success supplying virtual assistants and other staffers to the businesses who need their help—just click here.

Looking for a virtual worker, customer service staff, or looking for a job based in your home?  You will find a lot of streaming video segments, articles, podcasts and information on about working at home including a Power Lunch program with Susan Wilson Solovic. Legal Editor Cliff Ennico looks at some issues for the home based worker. You will find many more free resources on launching a home-based business or working from home on and check out the websites below. home-based customer service agents – virtual call center provider using home-based customer service agents – links freelancers with employers in IT, graphic design, writing, engineering, translation, marketing, accounting and administrative and legal services – call center company that provides clinical and non-clinical telephone services to health plans, healthcare providers, and care managers nationwide – be a virtual assistant