New Year, New Congress

The 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019 with a dynamic shift in power, with Democrats now holding a 235-199 majority in the House and electing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, the first Member in over 60 years to regain the Speakership after losing a majority. In the Senate, Republicans increased their majority to 53-47.  Predictions of gridlock were unfortunately accurate, as even before Democrats took control in the House, a dispute over funding a border wall resulted in the failure to pass a government funding bill.  Large parts of the government continue to be shut down as of this writing.  Both sides continue to be entrenched in their positions.  Today (January 11) is a significant day as many federal workers will miss their first paycheck.  This includes a wide variety of employees, including, just to name a few, FBI Agents, customs officials, meat inspectors, TSA officers and Commerce Department officials who review steel tariff exclusions.  The result is that many important age…

Wall Street Journal Article Features the Impact of Tariffs on PMA Member

It’s been nearly nine months since the Trump Administration announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, and U.S. manufacturers are still struggling to remain competitive in a global market. In a Wall Street Journal article titled “Trump Tariffs Pit Auto Companies Against Each Other,” reporters Chester Dawson and Mike Colias spoke with PMA member Clips & Clamps Industries. The article states:

This summer, Jeff Aznavorian, president of Clips & Clamps Industries, a small Detroit-area parts maker with about 57 employees, sent one-page letters to about 15 customers proposing a cost-sharing arrangement for future contracts. Clips & Clamps was on pace to turn a profit this year, but rising materials costs have wiped out its margin.

Two customers agreed. A few politely declined. One buyer from Canada wrote back, expressing sympathy. “They basically said: ‘I’m sorry your government is doing this to you, but what do you expect me to do about it?’” Mr. Aznavorian said.

The experience of …

New NAFTA Deal Signed but Steel and Aluminum Tariffs Continue

President Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and outgoing Mexican President Pena Nieto signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the G-20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina this morning.  The USMCA is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has been in force since 1994.  Today’s signing is an important step towards adoption of the USMCA, but much work remains to be done by all three governments before it is fully adopted and implemented.

Unfortunately, the USMCA did not resolve the issue of 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. In November, PMA joined a coalition of 34 business groups in urging US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to remove the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico once the USMCA was signed.  In the letter, the groups stated:

"[T]he continuation of these tariffs with respect to Mexico and Canada will create impediments to Congressional passage of the USMCA implementing bill given concerns exp…

What is Natural Gas Storage?

Guest Blog Post
Alex Paciga
Communication Specialist
APPI Energy

In the energy industry, we talk about natural gas storage a lot. It’s a term that frequently comes up in articles, we include it every week in our APPI Energy Advisor, and power markets rise and fall based on the weekly report submitted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). However, we rarely discuss what natural gas storage actually entails, how it is measured, and who controls it. In this article, we’ll discuss what natural gas storage means, why it is important, and how APPI Energy utilizes that info to better serve our clients.

The basic principle of natural gas storage is, at its core, the principle of supply and demand. We store natural gas during periods when demand is low (for example, when the weather is mild), to be withdrawn during periods of peak demand. However, these are not the only factors in play, when it comes to storage. Regulatory concerns, contractual obligations, emergency reserves, a…

Quick Tip to Help Increase Your Sales

Guest Blogger: Chip Eichelberger, CSP, Founder, You have heard it said that everyone likes to buy but no one wants to be sold. Make it easier for people to buy and justify their purchase with this simple concept. Doing so will help you quickly increase your sales.

Try to never let the price/investment be the first number that comes up in the conversation.

In my business for example, it is common to get a request to see if I am available for a specific date and to inquire about my fee. I never reply with simply a yes/no and the price. I want to make sure to set up a call so I can ask questions to get information to properly frame the way they look at investing in me speaking at their event. I want to be a true partner and not just a “rental speaker.”

I am not the low-cost provider in my industry. Some meeting planners are inexperienced and will get surprised when they hear how much a seasoned professional speaker costs. Framing the conversation is essential. This happ…

Women of Note Discuss Obstacles & Motivations

Allison Grealis, president and founder of Women in Manufacturing Association, and vice president of association services of PMA, has been inducted into the 2018 class of Crain's Cleveland Business Women of Note.
She joined a conversation on WCPN 90.3 on July 18 to discuss obstacles and motivations, and to give advice to the next generation. Allison was joined by fellow women of note, Dee Perry, retired broadcaster from WCPN; Simirit Sandhu, executive director of supply chain management with the Cleveland Clinic; Magda Gomez, director of diversity and inclusion from Cuyahoga Community College; and Karen Kasler, Statehouse New Bureau Chief (ISDN). Listen here:

Crain's Cleveland Business Women of Note honors inspiring women who, due to the impact of their professional talents and unique perspectives, create positive change in Northeast Ohio. To view all 2018 honorees, visit:

Sales Motivation

Guest Blogger: Chip Eichelberger, CSP, Founder, I don’t know about you but my business tends to run in cycles—the cycle of doing many events and the cycle of when the bookings for that new business comes in. The gap in between can be difficult to deal with, even for me. Sometimes the gap is impacted by people being on vacation and deferring decisions. Sometimes it can be related to current events such as 9-11 or the GFC (Global Financial Crisis) of 2008.

Here are four strategies for when you have that GAP of new business coming in and you need momentum. Spend time on you, so you can be at your best! Get to bed a little earlier and read something inspiring before you shut it down. Get off your phone! Drink 12 oz. of water when you wake up. Get that morning workout in to start the day with energy. Use interval training to get your heart rate up and pumping. Get a fresh-green-based juice or make my Get Switched On Smoothie. Exercise and the right fuel will help switch you…