This afternoon I’ll be boarding a plane to Tampa, Fla., for The FABRICATOR’s Leadership Summit. I’m biased, of course, but the industry conference remains one of my favorites. Talk centers on the many joys and challenges of running a metal fabrication business. Industry leaders discuss everything from hiring practices to supply chain issues. Every year, my hands ache from so much note-taking. The story ideas abound.
One of the highlights is our annual industry award ceremony. This year it’s slated to be given to A&E Custom Fabrication, as detailed in this month’s cover story. The ceremony itself is so different from any other award ceremony we see on television, including an especially glamorous one that just wrapped up last weekend, the Oscars®. The red carpet, the ridiculously forced jokes, the self-importance: All of it is so absurd, so fake. It shows how much value, emotional and financial, our society places on escapism. I’m not against escapism, of course. I’m just glad I don’t make a career out of it.
I recall several years ago watching The FABRICATOR’s award winner tear up a little. He thanked his family, all of whom were in the audience, and many of whom worked in the family business. The award, the whole Leadership Summit event, and, indeed, the entire focus of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association spotlight these kinds of businesses. It’s real.
As the glamour and self-importance washes over those in Los Angeles, Washington, and Wall Street, small business owners across the country quietly go about their work and hire talented people. These self-effacing entrepreneurs talk about their kids first, not themselves. They work long hours and worry even longer. These are the people that make this country tick, and I feel lucky to be part of an organization that recognizes this fact.