One Small Step For Man…..

By Tom Murray

Sometimes, all it takes is that first bold step. Set aside your apprehension and answer that knock at the door from your local technical assistance provider who says that there is a new game in town that will turn your business around. What’s to lose?

So thought the president of a small family-owned foundry in Milwaukee who answered that call and is now glad he did. I recently had the opportunity to tour his facility and to hear his story. He runs a small company, and, like many small companies in Wisconsin, it was just making ends meet. Then he heard about the Milwaukee E3 framework from his local Manufacturing Extension Partnership program. At first apprehensive, he took a closer look and saw that this program was different.

“Several federal and local resources will stitch together a technical assistance package and then deliver it directly to my door? You gotta be kidding me.” And, yet, he decided to give it a test run. The experience really opened his eyes to several growth opportunities and he jumped on them. When we sat down to talk about his efforts, I was surprised to see that he had laid out architectural drawings on the table showing how he intends to re-design his entire plant operation. Talk about taking full advantage of the E3 experience. “I use a lot of sand,” he says. And the new design will include a sand recycling process that will save a tidy sum of money over time as well as move me closer to a landfill free operation, he told me. The best news is that the return on investment on this new operation is less than two-years and the heat released from the operation will be channeled back to heat the facility. I can’t wait to check back with him in a year or two. As a parting note, he said he was looking to expand his operation in the city of Milwaukee.

About the author: Tom Murray joined EPA way back in 1971 and has never lost the passion for pollution prevention and helping manufacturers become more sustainable.

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