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Thankful for the Opportunity to Shape a Changing World

Wherever I go I see change. China is undergoing massive change in a relatively short period of time which has impacted Western nations both positively and negatively – as well as the rest of the world. China’s growth in manufacturing is impacting Australia in a huge way and driving much of the Australian economy through accessing its abundant natural resources.

As we look back on the American Thanksgiving holiday I am currently on a lengthy visit to Australia and Asia training customers in the East and meeting new prospects. And seeing the changes first hand. My family is along with me and we celebrated Thanksgiving in Thailand far away from our home in beautiful Colorado. I am thankful for many things among which are my family, health and access to education and resources. I also am particularly thankful at the moment for the chance to observe and participate in shaping these changes in the world.

The “Occupy Wall Street” movement in the USA and some European nations is hard to precisely pin down, but one common thread relates to jobs. Another common thread is the demand for structural changes in the economic system. In western Australia no one seems to care or have time to occupy anything – their unemployment rate is near zero and they cannot find enough people to fuel their surging economic growth. The class I taught in Perth had engineers from Chile, South Africa, U.K., Iran and Vietnam who had re-located to Australia for the work. In China the demand for infrastructure projects is growing at an incredible pace to support their economic growth. Jobs too are plentiful. Thailand is a production mecca and its traditional openness to outsiders is serving it well as it attracts manufacturing work from all over the world.

We engineers of course play an integral role in the changing technology, improved efficiency and production of goods and services which impact society in so many ways. It is our responsibility to guide the world’s growth by building new systems that are reliable, safe and efficient. It is also our job to innovate. To find ways to do the next project better than before. And to develop new products and processes to make the world a better place.

Especially in places like China and Australia where infrastructure is being put into place that will last for many years to come, it is all the more important to put into place engineering processes that promote safety, reliability and efficiency. Such infrastructure inevitably involves the transport of fluids. We work hard at AFT to provide tools which make the transport of fluids safer, more reliable and more efficient. Engineers in the USA and internationally are seeking such tools to help them do the best job possible.

It is a truism that protesters like those in Occupy Wall Street are rarely seen in times and places where the economy is solid and opportunities are abundant. The West and the USA in particular suffered an economic shock unlike anything seen in most of our lifetimes. Jobs are not the issue per se. Who wants to support job growth in typewriter or buggy whip manufacturing? Those are dead industries of the past.

In pursuit of job creation, the key in the West and USA is quality jobs such as engineering and high-margin/high-tech manufacturing positions. The key to quality job creation will be knowledge and innovation – these will undergird the industries of the future.

Ultimately it is the engineers and knowledge professionals of the world who will create these industries. And the jobs that go with them.


It’s the Economy, Stupid. Or Is It?
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Tuesday, 28 March 2023
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