Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Latest News

February 14, 2013

Meyers testifies before congressional committee

Congress hears update on manufacturing in America

Washington, D.C. — One of Corsicana’s oldest and largest industries was represented in Washington, D.C. Thursday.

Eric Ryan Meyers Jr., president of Oil City Iron Works, was invited to speak to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee during a hearing on manufacturing in America.

Meyers was on a panel that represented a broad range of the manufacturing industry. U.S. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) invited Meyers to take part in the hearing, which was streamed live on the Internet via ustream.com.

In his five-minute presentation to the committee, Meyers pointed to a number of areas he believed American industry could be helped by governmental action, including the need for competitive tax policies, a regulatory system that doesn’t impede growth and competitiveness, and the need for investment in the nation’s infrastructure.

Meyers told congressmen the recent recession hit his company and the industry hard, and Oil City had to lay off 80 employees, most of which have been re-hired. He said the company is looking forward to expanding its present operation, but is reluctant to add new jobs given his concerns over health care costs. He also said potential new federal regulations and growing tax bills could adversely affect Oil City Iron Works.

Meyers also responded to a question posed by Barton on how the cost of natural gas has impacted his company.

“In a tangible way, natural gas prices to affect our operations because of the energy costs,” he said. “We’ve seen energy costs maintain a pretty stable level the last year and a half, but some forecasts are now starting to trend up, so that will be an issue as we move through this year and into next year.”

Meyers also told the committee one of the challenges facing the foundry industry and Oil City in particular was the lack of skilled labor to fill openings within the industry. He said Oil City has been pro-active in reaching out to technical schools and Navarro College to develop training programs to funnel skilled workers into the workforce.

“I do believe that the private sector is pushing technical training,” Meyers said. “That’s very obvious when you look at our sector ... it’s just not something that’s pushed at the local level or in public schools. We were pro-active in approaching our local college to look at technical training programs.”

He said foundries in other parts of the country are doing the same thing in an attempt to find and develop skilled workers.

Meyers also said the foundry industry also strongly supports the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline and urged the U.S. Department of State to approve the presidential permit necessary for the project to move forward.

In response to a panel question about the impact regulation has along the “supply chain” of American industry, Meyers praised what he called the “pro-business” climate in Texas.

“Our agencies in Texas work with businesses,” he said. “They’re not coming down against us, they work with us to help maintain goals and achievements that we need to look at as far an environmental and safety.

“I think when you talk about overlapping regulations, it’s more of a regulatory-friendly issue in helping our manufacturers, not constantly bombarding us with regulations and issues that we simply can’t do.”

Also appearing before the house committee was Ron Saxton, executive vice-president of JELD-WEN, the window manufacturing company that closed its Corsicana operation in 2009.

Saxton, who made no mention of job losses or factory closings in his business, told the committee the past six years have been difficult for everyone in the housing industry, including builders, suppliers and consumers. He said JELD-WEN worked hard to maintain its workforce, but it has been a struggle with the steep decline in housing starts.

Saxton said the industry is concerned about changes being considered by the EPA in the criteria for the ENERGY STAR program “to a point where there is no realistic cost-effectiveness for consumers” and feels the program will become “irrelevant at best.”

“It was an honor to have this opportunity to showcase Oil City Iron Works to Congress and the rest of the country,” said Meyers after his testimony. “I am very proud of what we produce and the people who produce it. Our employees are as skilled as they are dedicated and it shows in every casting or product we make.”

“Foundries, like Oil City Iron Works, are where it all gets started,” said Barton. “They make the parts that help other companies make products.

“It is also an example of another bedrock of America — a family run business. The Meyers’ have run it for three generations spanning more than 50 years. They have gown the business using hard work and innovation. I want to make sure that bureaucratic red tape doesn’t get in their way. This hearing was all about making sure Washington supports manufacturing instead of slowing it down.”

—————

Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • 7-30-14 4-H robotics.jpg Science made simple

    Hats out of old newspaper and leftover wrapping paper, simple robots out of popsicle sticks, rubber bands and pencil erasers, a microcosm of the aquifer made of root beer and ice cream — with a dollop of chocolate syrup. These were among the fun science projects at Tuesday’s 4-H Discovery Days event at the Navarro County Youth Expo.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • County: No increase in city subsidies

    As budget talks continue at the Navarro County Courthouse, one consensus that’s been reached will impact budget planning at the Corsicana Government Center.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-30-14 AthensFire.jpg Senate report finds fault with government inspection of chemical facilities

    WASHINGTON — The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at a higher risk for a terror attack and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-30-14 Club-Rotary gov.jpg Club News

    News and announcements submitted by clubs and organizations throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Beat 7/30/14

    A listing of meetings and events of interest from throughout Navarro County.

    July 29, 2014

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — A jury has awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.

    July 29, 2014

  • Texas school trustee penalized in cheerleader case

    SAN MARCOS — A Central Texas school board has ordered a trustee to attended professional conduct training after parents and teachers said he used his position to get his daughter onto a cheerleading team.

    July 29, 2014

  • Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

    WASHINGTON — More than 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills that have been reported to collection agencies, according to a study released Tuesday by the Urban Institute.

    July 29, 2014

  • 7-29-14 Lassiter.jpg Lassiter named new Calico director

    Brittany Watkins-Lassiter has been named the new Calico Director for Corsicana High School. Lassiter replaces Amy Tidwell, who resigned to become the dance squad coach at Sachse High School.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-29-14 McManus.jpg County OKs mall lease

    The question of where many county courthouse offices would move during the three-year historical restoration of the Navarro County Courthouse was officially answered Monday.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo