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5 QUESTIONS WITH Henry Thompson Chairman, American Safety Clothing, Sellersville

Thompson

1 How is the economy?

1 How is the economy?

I see a tired economy that was nearly stalled in the first quarter and is now showing some signs of weakness in the service sector. Budgets are tight, but I have a cautious optimism that manufacturing will eventually find its footings.

Fortunately for ASC, we are positioned in a great space that could offset a softening economic climate. We are adjusting by providing strategic advantages to our OEM [original equipment manufacturer] partners and distribution channels. Significantly lowering lead times and keeping our margins tight can help our customers weather this environment.

A small benefit we are seeing is that the layoffs within this niche industry have allowed American Safety Clothing to hire/recruit qualified workers, as we are on track to double our workforce.

2Are business people confident? Why or why not?

Pockets of confidence can be found due to low interest rates, low inflation and lower gas prices, but as you drill down, general uneasiness exists. This cautious view on the economy is weighing on businesses, and the presidential election is an additional source of uncertainty.

It is creating opportunity for the proactive business owners that are being hypervigilant as they defend or grow their market.

3If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?

The issue with compliance and the need for education.

It is proven that workers who wear arc-rated PPE (personal protective equipment) drastically reduce their risk for injuries and potentially eliminate fatalities due to electrical burns. Unfortunately, Greg Hollingsworth [of Masters Compliance Consulting] estimates that 95 percent of electrical workers are still not wearing PPE. If only 5 percent are protecting themselves, how do we as an industry eliminate injuries and fatalities? …

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