Badger Blog Alliance

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Monday, March 30, 2009

Note to GM: So long, and thanks for all the fishes

I've been noodling the similarities between the decline of the Episcopal church in America and our current economic upheaval, especially in the home of formerly the oldest GM facility in America, Janesville.

The disenfranchised of the group are heartsick at the loss of a way of life that afforded them dreams and opportunities and a great level of security to raise their families in. I understand and appreciate it.

But what makes us great - as individuals, families, communities and a nation - is our response to challenges. Thanks to GM, and its union stranglehold, Janesville enjoyed prosperity, flourishing in the 20th century. Now GM is gone and won't be returning.

Another town experienced the same "company town" loss: Newton, Iowa, lost its livelihood when "Whirlpool slammed the lid on 'Washer Town USA'. " Within 18 months, the town had added almost 1,000 jobs:

Thanks to a regional approach to economic development and a healthy dose of good timing, Newton has survived.

TPI Composites and Trinity Structural Towers now call Newton home. The two manufacturers of wind energy components came to Newton with their eyes on a portion of Maytag’s 2.6 million-square-foot plant on the north side of town.

The space didn’t work for TPI, which makes massive blades for wind turbines. With $6 million in state incentives, TPI instead built a 320,000-square-foot plant nearby and employs 350 people, many of them former Maytaggers.

Janesville has that facility, and a host of satellite companies to support it cheaply and locally.

What, or who, are we waiting for? It's our call to leadership in one of the most important industries of the present and future.

But this time let's stay on top of the market and technology trends so we change with the economy, not die because of it.