Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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
News
  • 3-27 Expo Steers Grand.jpg Three-peat: Blooming Grove's McGraw claims Grand Champion steer

    It was a year of repeats for students entered in the 2014 Steer Show at the Navarro County Youth Expo.Lainie McGraw, 17, of Blooming Grove FFA, won the Grand Champion steer, as she did last year and the year before; and Noah Grounds, 15, of Blooming Grove/Barry 4-H won Grand Champion Showmanship, as he did last year. He also won the top prize for showmanship in the heifer show this year. He won reserve champion in that category last year.

    March 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • 3-28 Expo Meat Rabbit Grand.jpg Clagett takes top pen in Market Rabbits Division

    Josiah Clagett of Corsicana FFA won Grand Champion in the Breeding Rabbits Division in 2010. It was his “rookie” year and first time to show.

    Clagett came full circle this year to claim the other top rabbit title. He took home Grand Champion honors in the Market Rabbit Division Thursday at the 56th Annual Navarro County Youth Expo. The winning pen was the only one he entered.

    March 27, 2014 4 Photos

  • 3-26-14 Expo Commercial heifers.jpg Curl wins first leg of Commercial Heifers

    Caleb Curl, 13, of Frost FFA, won grand champion of the commercial heifer show, the first leg of the commercial heifer overall prizes. Unlike a lot of the other animal categories, commercial heifers aren't show-things with smooth coats and stardust on their hooves. They're straight out of the pasture, a bit muddy and certainly not the lady-like, pampered creatures that will be led around the ring in the registered heifer show.

    March 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • football-generic.jpg LIVE BLOG: College football signing day

    Follow all the action on college football Signing Day with coverage from across the CNHI network as well as from the national sports media. Live coverage begins at 8 a.m. ET.

    February 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Annie.jpg ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace

    It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
    It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Farmer of the Year.jpg Short named Farmer of the Year

    Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
    Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • 11-21-13 Hospital.jpg New clinic open

    A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.

    November 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations

    Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

    November 20, 2013

  • 8-6 Weather Graphic.jpg Heat Advisory issued for North Texas

    • Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.

    August 5, 2013 1 Photo

  • 8-6 Red Cross help firefighters.jpg Corsicana’s Red Cross provides valuable assistance

    Two weeks ago, when firefighters, oil field emergency crews and county crisis teams responded to a potential gas drilling disaster near Mildred there were also volunteers on the scene, serving cold water and Gatorade.
    American Red Cross volunteers respond to a variety of situations, including fires, evacuations, tornadoes, and even bad car wrecks.

    August 5, 2013 1 Photo

AP Video
Seasonal Content
House Ads
Twitter Updates
Front page
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide