For those of you wondering, in the frequent words of a different president, "What's next?," a good place to start is this Fortune article about a trip President Obama made to Ohio last week to talk up his $825 billion stimulus plan--especially the part about boosting manufacturers, including small manufacturers, who start converting over to "green jobs".
Obama visited Cardinal Fastener, located in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford Heights. It is a small manufacturer that makes parts for bigger companies, including Caterpillar, John Deere, and auto and steel companies. Of course, those two categories should give you a clue as to how Cardinal Fastener's business prospects would be looking if it had not also actively sought out a new customer base. Companies that have relied and continue to rely on the U.S. auto and steel industries are dying, if they're not already dead.
But Cardinal Fastener is thriving.
Because Cardinal Fastener also makes parts for wind turbines, Cardinal Fastener is growing--and it expects those green-related products to account for roughly 90% of its growth in the coming year.
And as if market trends alone weren't favoring companies in the green industry already, Obama's stimulus plan includes $54 billion that is to be targeted to that industry in order to double domestic alternative energy and, the process, create 500,000 new jobs. "We think [Obama's initiative] is going to give us at least a 50% growth rate in 2009," Cardinal Fastener's owner told Fortune.
This company should be an object lesson for how easy it can be to get in on the green action. There isn't anything inherently green about Cardinal Fastener's business itself: it appears to be a manufacturer like most other manufacturers. The difference is it was smart enough to become a part of a supply chain that includes, on a different link, genuine green businesses (such as wind-power companies).
In other words, if a small Rust Belt manufacturer can become a part of the green industry, then so can your company.
And given market trends, and given who as of five hours ago became the new president of the United States, it seems like moving in that direction is a good idea.
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