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Sunday, May 1, 2016

EFCO airs concerns to congressman

Friday, August 24, 2012

Seventh District Congressman Billy Long toured EFCO, a Pella company, during an industrial tour through the district last week. Mike Farquhar, EFCO president, at left, and Doug Dieleman, vice president of manufacturing for EFCO, at center, explained window production processes as Long toured the sliding glass door assembly and flex assembly lines, shipping, fill and debridge, the anodize department, the extrusion press, the saw center and the hung window line. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
Concerns about government policies impacting industry were shared during stops made by Seventh District Congressman Billy Long during an industrial tour last week.

Long stopped at EFCO, a Pella company, and Miracle Recreation Equipment/PlayPower in Monett, in addition to Positronic Industries in Mt. Vernon.

At EFCO, Long received a tour of the plant, guided by Mike Farquhar, EFCO president, and Doug Dieleman, vice president of manufacturing. Accompanying Long was Rita Needham, chief executive officer for the Missouri Association of Manufacturers.

During the tour, Long spoke to EFCO team members about reducing federal regulations that put burdens on business owners. In a meeting after the tour, Long said he counted on companies to tell him about concerns that reach them first.

Farquhar said the regulatory climate was more difficult, particularly with a more anti-business stance by the National Labor Relations Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.

"Business will create jobs when there is demand for their products," Farquhar said. "There is not going to be significant demand with the economy growing at 1 percent a year. There is uncertainty in healthcare, taxes, the fiscal cliff and the tax climate. Everything is up in the air and government is causing the uncertainty. We love clarity."

EFCO endured a 50 percent decline in the commercial construction market without involuntary layoffs. Farquhar said sacrifices were made by team members taking time off without pay, but full-time jobs were preserved.

For recommendations, Farquhar said he would like to see research and development tax credits last for more than one year. Smart energy policy could be extended to consumers.

Government policy has focused on driving incremental improvements in already efficient windows. A much greater opportunity is the nearly 50 percent of buildings that still contain single pane glass. Energy savings would be much more substantial by renovating homes and commercial buildings to include double pane glass, Farquhar said.

The regulatory process in recent years has bypassed the legislative process more frequently. Farquhar said Long's help was appreciated in stopping a proposed extention of lead removal standards for residential buildings to commercial construction. The higher standard would have resulted in price hikes to consumers as such costs are simply passed along.

Long said he was impressed with long established companies that were still in business. For many business owners, it was easier to close a business and retire. Farquhar said Pella has been a family owned company since 1925 and was trying to make a business for the next century.

Alissa Jones, marketing coordinator for PlayPower, provided comments on Long's visit to the Monett plant:

"We share our belief in the value of play and our commitment to providing children all over the world with products that promote social, physical and emotional health and happiness.

"We also discussed the challenges facing domestic manufacturers in a global economy," Jones said. "With manufacturing facilities in Missouri, Sweden and the United Kingdom, PlayPower employs over 1,100 individuals and is represented in over 60 countries. Although our company remains politically neutral, we strongly support the elective process and welcome the opportunity to discuss our successes and challenges with elected officials and political candidates."

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