Federal Highway & Transit Program Reauthorization in Jeopardy

August 13, 2009

Federal Highway & Transit Program Reauthorization in Jeopardy: Your Help Needed to Prevent Unnecessary Delay

Before adjourning for its August break, the House and Senate took steps to shore up the solvency of the Highway Trust Fund’s (HTF) Highway Account through September 30. Left unaddressed was the HTF’s precarious financial situation for FY 2010, which begins October 1. There is little doubt that another General Fund transfer will be necessary to avoid a massive shortfall in federal highway investment to the states.

Also unresolved is the timing of the next multi-year highway/transit authorization investment bill. The Obama Administration and some in the Senate continue to push for an 18-month delay on the legislation—a move that ARTBA, the Transportation Construction Coalition, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and labor unions all oppose.

Meanwhile, a new study from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation found that deficient roadway conditions are the number one contributing factor in U.S. motor vehicle crashes—greater than drunk driving, speeding, and not wearing a safety belt. The poor roadway environment causes 22,000—or more than half—of the 42,000 deaths that occur annually on U.S. highways. The report concludes that new investments aimed at building more protective and forgiving roadways would significantly help reduce highway fatalities and costs.

Throughout August, members of Congress and their staff will be hosting town hall meetings and will be available for constituent appointments back home. They need to hear from you about the importance of timely action on the surface transportation bill. Remind them that from 2001 to 2005—during the last highway/transit reauthorization—uncertainty at the federal level during a time of economic and state budget difficulty led to an overall stagnated national effort to deliver surface transportation improvements. Continued uncertainty during many months—or years—of delay this time could also serve to undercut the benefits of the recent stimulus act’s transportation investments.

How You Can Help

You can reach members of Congress and their staffs at their state and district offices, or in their Washington, D.C., offices by calling the ARTBA Action Hotline at 1-888-448-2782. Deliver the following messages:

  • 22,000 Americans die because of deficient roadways each year. That’s 22,000 reasons why Congress should complete action on a multi-year bill, either by the end 2009 or in early 2010.
  • Action on a bill is a critical follow up to the stimulus law and will help promote job creation and economic recovery. It is the real “second stimulus.”
  • Urge them to speak with their colleagues on the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees and make generating sufficient revenue for a $450 billion bill a priority.
  • Tell them about your company’s personal story, and how inaction and delay will lead to layoffs and deferred purchases.

Surface Transportation Reauthorization: Now is the Time for Action, Not Further Study and Delay!

Greg Sitek

Vietnam Facts vs. Fiction

August 11, 2009

I received this in my e-mail box this morning and felt that it was something that needed to be read by as many people as possible. I sincerely apologize for the lack of current information and problems with Site-K Construction Zone. We are under construction and will have a new site up and running very soon.

Meanwhile, I am going to post this article. It is something we, as Americans, need to read and know. Too many historical facts get distorted and too many myths are generated, especially since the Internet and blogging have become so popular. I wish I could take credit for this article but can’t as noted in the first quoted sentence, I don’t know wrote the article… at the end, it asks that credit for the research be given to:

Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)

Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source

I don’t know who wrote this article, I forward, you decide…….

I found this article very interesting. The most notable fact is that 2.7 million Americans actually served in the Vietnam Theater of war. In the last census nearly 14 million Americans claimed they served in Vietnam . Four out of five are lying. I wonder why.

Vietnam Facts vs. Fiction

For over 30 years I…. like many Vietnam veterans…. seldom spoke of Vietnam , except with other veterans, when training soldiers, and in public speeches. These past five years I have joined the hundreds of thousands who believe it is high time the truth is told about the Vietnam War and the people who served there. It’s time the American people learn that the United States military did not lose the War, and that a surprisingly high number of people who claim to have served there, in fact, DID NOT.

As Americans, support the men and women involved in the War on Terrorism, the mainstream media are once again working tirelessly to undermine their efforts and force a psychological loss or stalemate for the United States. We cannot stand by and let the media do to today’s warriors what they did to us 35 years a go.

Below are some assembled facts most readers will find interesting. It isn’t a long read, but it will…. I guarantee….teach you some things you did not know about the Vietnam War and those who served, fought, or died there. Please share it with those with whom you communicate.

Vietnam War Facts:

Facts, Statistics, Fake Warrior Numbers, and Myths Dispelled

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam

Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.

240 men were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War

The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

58,148 were killed in Vietnam

75,000 were severely disabled

23,214 were 100% disabled

5,283 lost limbs

1,081 sustained multiple amputations

Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21

11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old

Of those killed, 17,539 were married

Average age of men killed: 23.1 years

Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.

The oldest man killed was 62 years old.

As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War

97% of Vietnam Veterans were honorably discharged

91% of Vietnam Veterans say they are glad they served

74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.

Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

87% of Americans hold Vietnam Veterans in high esteem.

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam Veterans and non-Vietnam Veterans of the same age group (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

Vietnam Veterans are less likely to be in prison – only one-half of one percent of Vietnam Veterans have been jailed for crimes.

85% of Vietnam Veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.

Interesting Census Stats and “Been There” Wanabees :

1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August 1995 (census figures).

During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in country was: 9,492,958.

As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between ’95 and ’00. That’s 390 per day.

During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this “errored” index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

Isolated atrocities committed by American Soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while Communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while Communists who did so received commendations. From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused onleaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers.

* Nixon Presidential Papers

Common Myths Dispelled:

Myth: Common Belief is that most Vietnam veterans were drafted.

Fact: 2/3 of the men who served in Vietnam were volunteers. 2/3 of the men who served in World War II were drafted. Approximately 70% of those killed in Vietnam were volunteers.

Myth: The media have reported that suicides among Vietnam veterans range from 50,000 to 100,000 – 6 to 11 times the non-Vietnam veteran population.

Fact: Mortality studies show that 9,000 is a better estimate. “The CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, Vietnam veterans were no more likely to die from suicide than non-Vietnam veterans. In fact, after the 5-year post-service period, the rate of suicides is less in the Vietnam veterans’ group.

Myth: Common belief is that a disproportionate number of blacks were killed in the Vietnam War.

Fact: 86% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasians, 12.5% were black, 1.2% was other races. Sociologists Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, in their recently published book “All That We Can Be,” said they analyzed the claim that blacks were used like cannon fodder during Vietnam “and can report definitely that this charge is untrue. Black fatalities amounted to 12 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia , a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”

Myth: Common belief is that the war was fought largely by the poor and uneducated.

Fact: Servicemen who went to Vietnam from well-to-do areas had a slightly elevated risk of dying because they were more likely to be pilots or infantry officers. Vietnam Veterans were the best-educated forces our nation had ever sent into combat. 79% had a high school education or better. Here are statistics from the Combat Area Casualty File (CACF) as of November 1993. The CACF is the basis for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (The Wall): Average age of 58,148 killed in Vietnam was 23.11 years. (Although 58,169 names are in the Nov. 93 database, only 58,148 have both event date and birth date. Event date is used instead of declared dead date for some of those who were listed as missing in action) Deaths Average Age Total: 58,148, 23.11 years Enlisted: 50,274, 22.37 years Officers: 6,598, 28.43 years Warrants: 1,276, 24.73 years E 1 525, 20.34 years 11B MOS: 18,465, 22.55 years

Myth: The common belief is the average age of an infantryman fighting in Vietnam was 19.

Fact: Assuming KIA’s accurately represented age groups serving in Vietnam, the average age of an infantryman (MOS 11B) serving in Vietnam to be 19 years old is a myth, it is actually 22. None of the enlisted grades have an average age of less than 20. The average man who fought in World War II was 26 years of age.

Myth: The Common belief is that the domino theory was proved false.

Fact: The domino theory was accurate. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries, Philippines, Indonesia , Malaysia , Singapore , and Thailand stayed free of Communism because of the U.S. commitment to Vietnam . The Indonesians threw the Soviets out in 1966 because of America ‘s commitment in Vietnam. Without that commitment, Communism would have swept all the way to the Malacca Straits that is south of Singapore and of great strategic importance to the free world. If you ask people who live in these countries that won the war in Vietnam, they have a different opinion from the American news media. The Vietnam War was the turning point for Communism.

Myth: The common belief is that the fighting in Vietnam was not as intense as in World War II.

Fact: The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year thanks to the mobility of the helicopter. One out of every 10 Americans who served in Vietnam was a casualty. 58,148 were killed and 304,000 wounded out of 2.7 million who served. Although the percent that died is similar to other wars, amputations or crippling wounds were 300 percent higher than in World War II ….75,000 Vietnam veterans are severely disabled. MEDEVAC helicopters flew nearly 500,000 missions. Over 900,000 patients were airlifted (nearly half were American). The average time lapse between wounding to hospitalization was less than one hour. As a result, less than one percent of all Americans wounded, who survived the first 24 hours, died. The helicopter provided unprecedented mobility. Without the helicopter it would have taken three times as many troops to secure the 800 mile border with Cambodia and Laos (the politicians thought the Geneva Conventions of 1954 and the Geneva Accords or 1962 would secure the border).

Myth: Kim Phuc, the little nine year old Vietnamese girl running naked from the napalm strike near Trang Bang on 8 June 1972…..shown a million times on American television….was burned by Americans bombing Trang Bang.

Fact: No American had involvement in this incident near Trang Bang that burned Phan Thi Kim Phuc. The planes doing the bombing near the village were VNAF (Vietnam Air Force) and were being flown by Vietnamese pilots in support of South Vietnamese troops on the ground. The Vietnamese pilot who dropped the napalm in error is currently living in the United States. Even the AP photographer, Nick Ut, who took the picture, was Vietnamese. The incident in the photo took place on the second day of a three-day battle between the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who occupied the village of Trang Bang and the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) who were trying to force the NVA out of the village. Recent reports in the news media that an American commander ordered the air strike that burned Kim Phuc are incorrect. There were no Americans involved in any capacity. “We (Americans) had nothing to do with controlling VNAF,” according to Lieutenant General (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth, the Commanding General of TRAC at that time. Also, it has been incorrectly reported that two of Kim Phuc’s brothers were killed in this incident. They were Kim’s cousins not her brothers.

Myth: The United States lost the war in Vietnam.

Fact: The American military was not defeated in Vietnam. The American military did not lose a battle of any consequence. From a military standpoint, it was almost an unprecedented performance. General Westmoreland quoting Douglas Pike, a professor at the University of California, Berkley a major military defeat for the VC and NVA. THE UNITED STATES DID NOT LOSE THE WAR IN VIETNAM, THE SOUTH VIETNAMESE DID . Read on……..

The fall of Saigon happened 30 April 1975, two years AFTER the American military left Vietnam . The last American troops departed in their entirety 29 March 1973.

How could we lose a war we had already stopped fighting? We fought to an agreed stalemate. The peace settlement was signed in Paris on 27 January 1973. It called for release of all U.S. prisoners, withdrawal of U.S. forces, limitation of both sides’ forces inside South Vietnam and a commitment to peaceful reunification. The 140,000 evacuees in April 1975 during the fall of Saigon consisted almost entirely of civilians and Vietnamese military, NOT American military running for their lives. There were almost twice as many casualties in Southeast Asia (primarily Cambodia ) the first two years after the fall of Saigon in 1975 then there were during the ten years the U.S. was involved in Vietnam . Thanks for the perceived loss and the countless assassinations and torture visited upon Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians goes mainly to the American media and their undying support-by-misrepresentation of the anti-War movement in the United States .

As with much of the Vietnam War, the news media misreported and misinterpreted the 1968 Tet Offensive. It was reported as an overwhelming success for the Communist forces and a decided defeat for the U.S. forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. Despite initial victories by the Communists forces, the Tet Offensive resulted in a major defeat of those forces. General Vo Nguyen Giap, the designer of the Tet Offensive, is considered by some as ranking with Wellington, Grant, Lee and MacArthur as a great commander. Still, militarily, the Tet Offensive was a total defeat of the Communist forces on all fronts. It resulted in the death of some 45,000 NVA troops and the complete, if not total destruction of the Viet Cong elements in South Vietnam. The Organization of the Viet Cong Units in the South never recovered. The Tet Offensive succeeded on only one front and that was the News front and the political arena. This was another example in the Vietnam War of an inaccuracy becoming the perceived truth. However, inaccurately reported, the News Media made the Tet Offensive famous.

Please give all credit and research to:

Capt. Marshal Hanson, U.S.N.R (Ret.)

Capt. Scott Beaton, Statistical Source

Greg Sitek

Former Owner of Construction Digest Passes Away

July 29, 2009

Johnston, Fred G. Jr.

Fred Gordon Johnston, Jr. age 85, passed away on July 16, 2009, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was born on August 16, 1923, to Fred and Anna Shea Johnston. Many knew him as Gordon. Fred was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Juanita Jane Nichols of 60 years, his parents, brother, Jerry Johnston, and brother-in-law, William Howard. Fred is survived by his two daughters, Susan Barber (Mark) and Sally White; and son, Fred Johnston III (Monica).

He will be forever loved and missed by his grandchildren, Ashley and Scott, Joseph, Mathew and John Michael and David. His sister, Mary Anne Howard also survives him. He has two surviving brother-in-laws, Donald and Jerry Nichols, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Fred attended Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Michael Church, and St. Luke Catholic Church. Fred was one of the founders of “Jolly 22 Club” which consisted of 22 male friends from Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School. The husbands and wives still get together. His class of 1944 from Cathedral High School has luncheons frequently. He was former secretary of Cathedral High School Alumni Association.

He enrolled in the Navy V-12 program at Notre Dame to receive his officer’s commission in the United States Navy during World War II and served on the USS Oklahoma. After serving over 3 ½ years, he returned to Butler University for his Bachelor of Science Degree.

Fred had an outstanding and distinguished career both in business and in politics. After entering his father’s publishing business, “Construction Digest”, he became president. He started Allied Publications in 1975 and expanded his publishing firm to include trucking and mining across the country. He served for 20 years as President of Associated Construction Publications and was a member of that organization for 50 years.

He served on the City-County Board of Ethics since the start of the board. Fred was also a board member of Greater Indianapolis Republican Finance Committee. Fred served as coach throughout his son’s entire length of playing baseball at Ransburg. He was also his football coach. His greatest enjoyment was spending time with family and friends at endless get-togethers. He was most fulfilled when he was helping people and everyone was having a good time. Fred loved to spend time with his grandchildren. His favorite hobbies were fishing and playing bridge with friends.

On behalf of our dad and grandpa, we cannot express in words how much we all appreciated the outstanding care and compassion he received from everyone at Sunrise in Carmel. He truly loved each and every one of you. You always made him feel very special since the day he arrived at Sunrise. You put a smile on his face especially when you announced it was time for his meals. Also, a very special thank you goes out to the wonderful nurses at St. Vincent Hospital and St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital. You made his last days very comfortable and for that, we will always be grateful.

You may be gone, Dad, but you will always remain in our memories and in our hearts forever. We love you, and you will be deeply missed by everyone. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Riley Children’s Foundation, 30 S. Meridian St., Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204-4474.

Fred made and left his mark on the construction industry. Construction Digest and the ACPs continue to publish magazines serving the industry. Many of the contractors who read these publications will remember Fred and want to include him in their thoughts and prayers.

Fred you will be missed and you will remembered by your many industry friends.

Greg Sitek

Associated Construction Publications Return Better Than Ever

July 17, 2009

The Associated Construction Publications had been covering the domestic construction industry for more that a century when they were put into retirement earlier this year. Fortunately, John White, president and owner of Building Excellence in Design and Construction, acquired thirteen of the magazines and is in the process of putting them back the readers’ hands. The following is the press release announcing the return of the ACPs as they are called:

INDIANAPOLIS – The Associated Construction Publications (ACP), is under new management. John White, former owner of several of the ACP regional magazines, has assembled a strong team to reestablish ACP’s as the voice for local and regional construction communities. In late July, Construction Digest and New England Construction made their debut in the new tabloid sized format. The other magazines will follow in the next two months. In addition to the new size and updated graphics, the ACP magazines will be in full color. Advertisers will no be charged extra to run color ads.

White announced that the number of local sales people and writers has tripled. “This increase in staff was needed to identify and cover the people, projects and events that make our industry so interesting to our readers. For more than 10

0 years, the ACP magazines have served our local construction markets, celebrating the successes that have resulted in a more productive, healthier and safer built environment. As we move forward we will focus on the rebuilding of our highway

s and bridges, the development of new infrastructure that will serve our communities with clean energy and clean water, and the expansion of alternative transportation initiatives such as light rail and high-speed rail. As w

e strive to improve our environment, the contractors who make it happen will be the subject of many interesting stories that we will tell.”

The editorial content consists of local news and information about the people and projects located in each region coupled with national features on topics of interest and legislation effecting heavy construction.

“We are excited that Greg Sitek will be joining us as national editor and a key part of our executive management team,” White announced. “Greg not only provides great insight to our readers but to ACP as well. We are also pleased that so many former local writers and sales people have joined our new group. It provides us with roots in our history and the enthusiasm to move forward.”

I’m proud to once again be associated with ACP because I believe that they are taking the right approach to providing important construction information to the contractors, who are the heart and soul of the industry. For more than a century these magazines have covered the growth, development and expansion of this country. They witnessed the creation of such wonders as Boulder Dam, The Empire State Building, The Sears Tower, The Interstate highway system and all the other marvels that have been put in place. It’s good to know that they will be around to see what we do over the next century.

Site-K Construction Zone will continue to provide you with construction information but in a new and improved format.

Greg Sitek

ICUEE 2009 Update

July 13, 2009

New “Smart Grid” education program highlights potential and challenges of cutting-edge energy technology

The Smart Grid is one of the latest buzzwords in energy and environmental circles. It aims to streamline America’s energy distribution systems for greater – and greener – efficiencies. What is this smart grid and how will it work its magic? And, how much will it cost?

The 2009 ICUEE, International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition education program will feature a just-announced “Getting Smart about the Smart Grid” panel. Seasoned energy industry professionals from leading companies and industry groups will share the latest smart-grid developments. (See details below.)

Smart-grid development is accelerating, explained ICUEE Show Director Melissa Magestro, with $11 billion in economic stimulus funding set aside for electricity-grid modernization, and a recent federal government go-ahead for work on smart-grid standards.

Our electric power infrastructure will be transformed by smart-grid systems, and ICUEE wanted to be sure that industry professionals are aware of what’s happening with this cutting-edge technology – the claims and the costs – and the effect on their businesses and customers,” noted Magestro.

Magestro pointed out that the ICUEE 2009 exposition will have more than 100 education sessions geared to utility and construction topics, all designed to boost the value of attendees’ trade show experience.

“Smart-grid is just one example of the technological, safety and management advances affecting exhibitors and attendees, and ICUEE is a cost-effective way to meet and network with the experts to keep up to speed,” she said.

ICUEE 2009 will be held October 6-8, 2009 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Attendee and exhibitor interest remain strong for ICUEE 2009 – advance registration is on track and consistent with trend lines of past shows, and exhibitors continue to sign on. “This is where the utility-focused construction industry gathers, knowing it’s the only place to operate equipment in the working conditions they might encounter on the job. You can’t beat that hands-on type of product comparisons,” Magestro said.

We know this is a very difficult economic environment, and we have increased the education and added co-located industry events to make this the most comprehensive ICUEE ever, so show participants get the maximum return on their trade show investment,” she added.

ICUEE 2009 will cover 1 million-plus net square feet of exhibits displaying the latest technologies for the electric, phone and cable, sewer and water, gas, general construction, landscaping and public works sectors.

New for 2009 is the co-location of the inaugural H2O-EXPO of the National Rural Water Association, and the NRWA annual conference, as well as co-location of the iP Safety Conference and Expo and the IUV Technical Conference.

Details on the Smart-Grid Panel Presentation

The special Smart Grid session will be held the afternoon of October 6 (3:30 PM – 5:00 PM). Participants include Cisco Systems, Duke Energy, GE Energy, GridWise Alliance and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). The show website has details on all ICUEE 2009 education http://www.icuee.com/Education/index.asp.

The ICUEE 2009 “Getting Smart about the Smart Grid” interactive presentation will cover objectives and technologies of the smart grid; what’s available now and a look at the future; utility, business and consumer benefits and costs; and what utility companies are doing to implement smart-grid systems.

The session will be of particular interest to professionals in the electric and telecom sectors and municipalities and other government entities, but the information will be useful for all attendees, Magestro stated.

“It’s been more than 100 years since the first successful incandescent light bulb from Thomas Edison, and ICUEE 2009 attendees will have access to the latest thinking on smart-grid technology, expected to revolutionize electric power again,” Magestro stated.

Panelists for the Smart Grid presentation:

· Cisco Systems – Mark Miller, Solutions Operations Director North America

· Duke Energy – Todd Arnold, Senior Vice President – Smart Grid and Customer Systems

· GE Energy (representative TBA)

· GridWise Alliance – Katherine Hamilton, President

· National Rural Electric Cooperative Association – David Mohre, Executive Director, Energy & Environmental Division

About the presenter companies:

· Cisco Systems (www.cisco.com) is a worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, providing productivity improvements through Internet business solutions. A key area is developing and delivering networking technology related to energy creation, distribution and consumption across North America.

. Duke Energy (www.duke-energy.com/company) is a leading energy company focused on electric power and gas distribution operations, and other energy services in the Americas, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets. It supplies and delivers energy to approximately 4 million U.S. customers, across the Midwest, the Carolinas, Ohio and Kentucky.

· GE Energy (www.gepower.com/home/index) is one of the world’s leading suppliers of power generation and energy delivery technologies in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy as well as renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and alternative fuels.

· GridWise Alliance (www.gridwise.org) advocates for a smarter grid for the public good so that energy can be generated, distributed and consumed more efficiently and cost effectively. Alliance members include utilities, IT companies, equipment vendors, new-technology providers and educational institutions.

· National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (www.nreca.org) has more than 900 member cooperatives serving 42 million people in 47 states; its members are primarily consumer-owned cooperative electric utilities, with some public power districts and allied industry organizations.

For more information about attending or exhibiting at ICUEE 2009, go online at www.icuee.com.

Greg Sitek

To Hell In A Hand Basket, Or Are We Already There

July 5, 2009

This is the Fourth of July weekend and it does make me think about our country; why and how it was founded; its dreams and aspirations; its hopes, not only for us, but for the world; all the people who have given their lives to accomplish these things.
I look around, read and hear the news, and am sickened when I read things like:

“…the unexpectedly grim unemployment numbers released yesterday. While the rate only increased slightly to a 26-year high of 9.5 percent, from 9.4 percent, the raw numbers led many to warn that economic recovery isn’t on the horizon. The U.S. economy lost 467,000 jobs in June, marking the first time the monthly losses increased after they had been steadily shrinking from the January peak of 741,000. ‘There’s nothing in here to show that the economy and the market are pulling out of the grip of recession,’ an economist tells the NYT. Stock markets around the world decreased, with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping 2.6 percent.
The Los Angeles Times off-leads the unemployment numbers and leads with news that California’s controller began printing IOUs. It marked the second time since the Great Depression that the state had to resort to such an unusual action to meet its obligations. The controller decided to state the obvious and said the IOUs ‘are a sign that the state is being fiscally mismanaged.’ Most of the IOUs are going to go taxpayers who are still owed income tax refunds, but many others, including businesses and pensioners, will also be getting the check-like pieces of paper that have the words ‘registered warrant’ emblazoned on them. Some banks say they will accept the IOUs, at least for the next few days. The NYT off-leads the move and says it ‘was seen as a warning flag to other states.’”

There are numerous reasons why we are in this condition. A TV commercial recently coined the phrase, “blame-storming” as corporate executives try to understand why their business is left behind while others soar ahead. Blame-storming is an easy way to point the fault at others without accepting any.

How did we get here?

What I’m about to say will make a number of people angry; generate a lot of negative vibes coming in my direction; and might even get me some serious hate mail. But…

Our downward spiral started when we abolished the draft. I know. It sounds crazy but it is in fact a major contributing factor in our economic decline.

I recently posted an article, Marine Veterans Train For New Careers In Construction, that stimulated memory cells which took me back a half a century.

There was a time when our construction jobsites were filled with skilled workers, many were excellent craftsmen; there was no shortage of carpenters, plumbers, welders, mechanics, masons or any other tradesmen. Then the pool started to dry up, and we became short of people in all these and other trades. It didn’t take long before immigrants, both legal and illegal, filled these jobs.
Why did this happen?
Years back we had a draft that pulled young men into military service. In addition to basic training and learning how to handle weapons, we also learned how to respect authority; respond to orders; organize our possessions and care for them; how to get along with others; how to value free time; how to pay attention when spoken to; how take care of ourselves; how to help and take care of others; how to survive; how to be safe and cautious; how to keep order; and dozens of other things that I call “living skills.”
We were also given aptitude tests to determine what natural skills and talents we had. In many cases, guys going into the service discovered that they had potential they never knew existed. People were actually trained in fields, professions or skills for which they had the ability to excel.
Back then, military personnel did more than “soldier,” they built barracks, bases, airfields, marine terminals. They fixed tanks, trucks, air conditioners, sewer systems, engines and everything else that was needed to keep the military effort going. The military was pretty much self-sufficient. It had carpenters, plumbers, electricians, diesel and gasoline mechanics, nurses, paramedics, clerks, supply managers, motor pool supervisors, project managers and all other personnel necessary to independent existence.

A couple of unfortunate wars soured citizens and before long there were mass demonstrations against the military and draft. Suddenly we were a country that no longer supported either. It wasn’t until the horror of 9-11 permeated our lives that we once again consciously became aware of the fact that our military was indeed important.
Background of Selective Service

For more than 50 years, Selective Service and the registration requirement for America’s young men have served as a backup system to provide manpower to the U.S. Armed Forces.
President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which created the country’s first peacetime, draft and formally established the Selective Service System as an independent Federal agency.
From 1948 until 1973, during both peacetime and periods of conflict, men were drafted to fill vacancies in the armed forces, which could not be filled through voluntary means.

A lottery drawing – the first since 1942 – was held on December 1, 1969, at Selective Service National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. This event determined the order of call for induction during calendar year 1970 that is, for registrants born between January 1, 1944 and December 31, 1950. Reinstitution of the lottery was a change from the oldest first method, which had been the determining method for deciding order of call.

366 blue plastic capsules containing birth dates were placed in a large glass jar and drawn by hand to assign order-of-call numbers to all men within the 18-26 age range specified in Selective Service law.

With radio, film and TV coverage, the capsules were drawn from the jar, opened, and the dates inside posted in order. The first capsule – drawn by Congressman Alexander Pirine (R-NY) of the House Armed Services Committee – contained the date September 14; so all men born on September 14 in any year between 1944 and 1950 were assigned lottery number 1. The drawing continued until all days of the year had been matched to lottery numbers.

In 1973, the draft ended and the U.S. converted to an All-Volunteer military.

Since then a number of things happened to our country. Our skilled and unskilled labor force diminished radically and rapidly. When our willing work force dissipated so did the jobs.

We became a less disciplined and respectful society and became less likely to follow rules. We went from being proud of our independence to demanding that someone take care of us and expecting that someone to be the government.

Many of the jobs that military personnel performed were turned over to civilian contractors and are costing the country a lot more and perpetuate the need to use a non-U.S. labor force, especially on military installations outside the country.

This seemingly insignificant change has in effect contributed to a vast majority of the changes that are negatively affecting us today.

How often to you hear people say, “yes sir, no sir” or “yes ma’am, no ma’am?” This is only a single, simple example. Do you hear high school students talk about becoming welders, carpenters, masons, diesel mechanics? Not likely.

A critical aspect of having been in the service is that the training, the acquired skills didn’t evaporate when we mustered out. Everything we learned, our people skills, respect for authority, the importance of following a chain of command, learning to evaluate a situation and make a decision and then accept the responsibility for having made that decision, had been forged into the people we became as a result of our military training.

Many of the old “captains of industry” learned their management techniques on a battle field, a field office, a post, a base; dealing with real situations and real people, in many instances, making life and death decisions based on hard choices.

I think we were a better country that functioned with a greater sense of national harmony. It was a much less cutthroat world. We were more concerned about others than about ourselves. Ideals and principles were based on real beliefs not on corporate mission statements or lists of “Our Core Values” all of which were manufactured in a marketing agency’s office.

Discharge papers were more like a diploma that indicated that an individual had the skills, knowledge and experience to enter society as a valuable contributing citizen. The pride you had in wearing a uniform translated into hard-earned self-respect. It’s too bad we’ve lost all this and more.

We need to ask ourselves some tough questions and refuse to stop asking until we have answers, real answers and not empty promises.

How long will it take the 9.5 percent unemployed to find jobs? Maybe the tougher questions are: what kinds of jobs are available or will become available? What percentage of this 9.5 percent has the necessary skills to find jobs as welders, plumbers, or whatever? How many paralegals do we need? As the economy begins to grow again, where will the job growth be – entertainment, governmental agencies, and health care?

Usually when things start falling apart, the best way to fix them is by going back to core competencies. In our case this would be agriculture and manufacturing. At one time we were the world leader in these areas. We need to get back to these core competencies to stimulate economic growth…

Greg Sitek

New Products

July 3, 2009
New Atlas Copco MB 750 Hydraulic Breaker

The MB 750 is Atlas Copco’s newest addition to its line of versatile medium-duty hydraulic breakers. The MB 750 features a new double retainer bar system and DustProtector II to maximize the service life of the tool. The results are greater productivity and reduced operating and maintenance costs.

The MB 750 has the highest operational efficiency in its weight class. Powered by a combination of oil and gas, the MB 750 recovers energy by maximizing the recoil effect. This boosts the output power of the breaker without increasing the hydraulic input power of the carrier, which results in less fuel consumption during operation.

With the highest output-to-weight ratio in its class, the MB 750 also achieves performance and productivity without adding weight to the carrier or requiring the use of a larger carrier to handle the load. In addition, the MB 750’s general versatility and compatibility with a broad spectrum of excavators means more options on the job site.

The MB 750 at 118 dB (A) is one of the quietest hydraulic breaker in its weight class. Atlas Copco’s VibroSilenced system isolates the percussion mechanism acoustically from the external guide system. Moreover, the VibroSilenced system prevents damaging vibrations that could be detrimental to both the carrier and the operator.

A new feature on the MB 750 is the double retainer bar system, which maximizes the service of the tool and retainer system. Extra long retainer bars provide a maximum contact surface to the tool and the lower hammer, and they can be used on both sides for extended service life. Double retainer bars offer higher wear resistance than a retainer pin and are a reliable and proven locking system for the locking pins.

The MB 750 is also available with the patented DustProtector II, a two-stage sealing system with coarse and fine strippers that prevents the penetration of abrasive dust into the lower section of the breaker. DustProtector II also keeps the lubricant around the wear bushing for a longer period of time, lowering grease consumption. The system reduces wear on the bushings and the hammer and protects against damage.

The MB 750 is ideal for secondary breaking, demolition, excavation and trenching, tunneling, and special applications such as underwater – or any job that calls for a hydraulic breaker with a powerful, efficient and reliable design.

Greg Sitek

Daily Dirt

July 3, 2009

Hilti Buys U.S. Diamond Blade And Bit Manufacturer

On June 30, the Hilti Corporation entered the North American professional diamond service contractor market with the purchase of U.S.-based Diamond B, Inc.

This move allows Hilti to enhance its global position as the choice provider of equipment and consumables for the professional diamond service contractor.

A 25-year-old company based near Los Angeles, CA, Diamond B is a top-tier diamond consumables manufacturer and readily recognized brand for this segment in the United States. The strategic acquisition combines the consumable products of Diamond B with Hilti’s innovative equipment. Diamond B’s experienced sales force accelerates Hilti’s entry into the North American diamond service contractor market through an established customer base.

Diamond B posted annual sales of $10.8 million in 2008. Both companies agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

The former owner and president of Diamond B, Webb Burnett, will retire from the business once the transition is complete. Long-time Hilti employee Andrew Hunt, previously the head of Hilti’s Singapore market organization, will manage the new subsidiary.

Floor and wall saw blades for the North American market will be manufactured at the U.S.-based production facility. Drilling and sawing equipment will be manufactured in Liechtenstein and further strengthen the position and capacity use of production there.

“The current economic situation not only represents a challenge to companies, it also opens new opportunities,” said Marco Meyrat, the Hilti Executive Board Member responsible for worldwide marketing and sales. “With this acquisition, Hilti is strengthening the long-term growth of the entire company. In Diamond B we are gaining one of the best and most professional U.S.-based diamond consumables manufacturers and direct sales force. The many years of experience of both companies in this area will contribute to successfully developing the potential market in North America.”

Greg Sitek

Marine Veterans Train For New Careers In Construction

July 3, 2009

On June 30, 2009, a class of service members at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton graduated into new careers in the construction industry. They have completed the United Association’s Veterans In Piping (VIP) Program, and were recognized at a graduation ceremony aboard the base.

The United Association (UA) VIP Program is a 720-hour training course, developed to assist members of the military in transitioning to civilian life and careers after their successful military service. Camp Pendleton’s participants in the UA Program will graduate as second-year union apprentices.

The UA has outfitted two mobile training units at Camp Pendleton, where the graduating class of Marines received 16 weeks of accelerated welding instruction, including two weeks of career and lifestyle transitioning. According to Mike Arndt, Training Director of the UA, “The UA VIP program will create lifelong career opportunities for these dedicated veterans.”

“Camp Pendleton thought this pilot program was a great opportunity to assist our Marines transitioning to civilian life after their successful military service,” said Brian Ballard, Operations Officer, Marine and Family Services, Camp Pendleton. “Marines who are mechanically inclined and desire to be a certified tradesperson are great candidates for this program.”

”The best aspect of the Program is the way it captures your individual ideas and abilities,” said Marine Corps Sergeant Alan A. Nelson, 22, a participant in the UA Program. He added that his time in the military has given him skills that will help him in this new career direction. “Over the past four years, I have grown tremendously,” he said. “I would not be the man I am today without the fantastic mentors the Marine Corps has provided.”

How the Program Will Help America

Service members coming home from the Middle East and transitioning out of the military have to reestablish every aspect of their lives – including new careers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the average construction worker is 47 years old, and the construction field will need to attract 240,000 workers each year to replace those retiring or leaving the workforce. BLS statistics also reveal that 450,000 welders will be needed nationwide by 2014.

Today’s returning service members should be given the opportunity to become the welders of tomorrow. That is why William P. Hite, General President of the UA, started the UA VIP Program. The program began in the state of Washington in late 2008.

The first class of service at Camp Pendleton was so successful, that a second class is currently in progress. In Washington, a second class is also ready to graduate.

”The UA VIP Program is the right thing to do,” said UA General President Hite, “since these service members have given so much to their country.”

The full name of the UA is the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the U.S. and Canada.

Work performed by UA members includes construction, renovation, expansion and repair of facilities. They install systems, plumbing fixtures, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.

For more information on the UA VIP Program, visit http://www.uavip.org/links.html. 

Sergeant Matt Phair, USMC

Grimmer Schmidt Compressors Rebranded

July 2, 2009
As of July 1, 2009, the Grimmer Schmidt portable compressors and utility units will fall under the responsibility of Atlas Copco Construction Equipment LLC, instead of Atlas Copco Hurricane.

At the same time, the Grimmer Schmidt brand of portable compressors and utility units will transition to the Chicago Pneumatic (CP) brand. Both brands have a strong reputation for manufacturing quality compressors that meet the specific needs of construction users. The CP compressors will be manufactured in Franklin, IN and Rock Hill, SC.

By merging the brands, Atlas Copco and its dealers will be able to offer a wider range of mobile and skid mounted compressors, supported by field sales, all under the CP brand. This will complement perfectly the offering of pneumatic, hand held hydraulic and boom mounted hydraulic CP tools.

Greg Sitek