Blog! Five Fast Things for December 19, 2006


1. Big Bang Theory for jobs: If you remember the TV series Northern Exposure, a Manhattan doctor had his education paid for on the condition that he spent five years in residency in Alaska. Wisconsin, which is not nearly as desolate as Alaska, is proposing a similar plan that’s not part of a sitcom. According to this story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin officials are considering a plan to pay for a student’s college education if they promise to stay in Wisconsin for 10 years after graduation. Two immediate thoughts come to mind. First, isn’t it about time regular students can get a 10-year contract just like NBA players? It’s a daunting proposal, but with the cost of education spiraling, wouldn’t a student have to consider a free college education plus 10 years of employment a tempting offer? And second, don’t you think the average engineering student would behave better than some NBA players who make a lot more money?

2. Rebounding stories: More news from Wisconsin, specifically how ABB’s plant in New Berlin, WI bounced back from layoffs and tough times to expand their manufacturing base, and increase job opportunities. We hear enough about layoffs, and we should. We need to hear more about how manufacturing is expanding, too.

3. Bosch Rexroth gets new CEO : Bosch Rexroth didn’t waste much time in changing the guard at the top. Berend Bracht, who headed Bosch Rexroth China and formerly led the company’s U.S. industrial hydraulics operation, will succeed Wolfgang Dangel as president and CEO of the U.S. operations on January 1. Dangel has accepted a top leadership position with the Schaeffler Group.

The seamless transition means that Bosch Rexroth won’t likely have any loss in momentum after a growth year in 2006. “We are pleased that we have an executive of Berend’s stature to take this important position and continue the forward momentum we have developed in the United States,” said Manfred Grundke, chairman of the executive board for parent company Bosch Rexroth AG.

You can read a detailed interview with Bracht here .

4. Safety first this season: A happy story for the holidays from Searcy, AR, where Eaton Corp. received recognition for 1 million hours without a lost-day work injury. Eaton’s Hydraulics Operations plant in Searcy employs 400 people, so that means the no lost-day streak stretched from Sept. 1, 2005 to Nov. 28, 2006. That streak remains intact.

“This tremendous achievement by our employees demonstrates their commitment to and pride in maintaining a safe work environment,” said Layne Morton, plant manager of Eaton’s Searcy plant.“They’ve worked very diligently during the past year to reach this goal. I am very proud to be part of this team.”

Think about safety every day of the year, but especially consider it during these days. Christmas in the hospital is no fun.

5. Okay, I peeked… I know one of my Christmas presents next week. My wife bought Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol for our nephews, but after I saw it, I whined and pleaded to keep it for myself. This is a Broadway quality production, a great musical score from Jule Styne, who won two Tony awards. This isn’t a kid cartoon; it’s a joyful retelling of the Dickens’ classic. Another is Scrooge , the best of all the Christmas Carol movies, with one of the finest performances ever on film from Alistair Sim. I’m halfway through my Christmas movie list, having seen Scrooge and White Christmas. Any I’ve forgotten this season? Let me know

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