Redefine 'bilingual' beyond the spoken
I face business bias every day. People, including potential vendors, ask me where I buy tooling. Because my company makes bulky extrusion blow molded parts, and other factors, I have little choice but to source molds here in the United States. But people judge me by my look and accent, and disregard the truth that I learned and that I serve blow molding businesses throughout the United States, and that I have for the past 18-plus years.
I've been in the United States for more than two decades. Last month, I found it was an interesting experience to visit my native-English-spoken friend's design firm in Shekou, China. He is from the Midwest, and he communicates to his employees in - guess what? - English.
What I find interesting in Steve Toloken's Viewpoint [``U.S. language lag may cost business,'' April 2, Page 6] is that he means to wake up English native speakers to pay attention to major foreign business languages. I heard this kind of comment quite a bit recently. However, I'd really like to campaign for a new definition of bilingual: to understand both design and manufacturing, marketing and processing, aesthetics and engineering, etc.
Businesses are losing against global competition because their employees lack these kinds of bilingual skills and concepts, particularly in management fields. Management judgments based on insufficient business ``languages'' can cost companies a lot of money and precious time. A good designer/product development team can challenge customers regarding business-related regulations such as from the Food and Drug Administration and Underwriters Laboratories Inc.
Time and effort can be saved as required tests and information can be shared during early stages of product development. Scrap can be reduced if operators understand the function of an individual part and/or feature being molded.
To be bilingual is great for business - if we can extend its spectrum.
Iceberg Enterprises LLC
Park Ridge, Ill.
Recycling programs need reinvigoration
I launched Re-Manufacturing Technologies Inc. earlier this year, under a licensing agreement with Rutgers University, to commercialize a novel green technology being developed to blend waste latex paint with recycled plastics to create more usable polymers. Since then, I've been tracking trends, and read with great interest the May 21 Plastics News article on Page 1, ``Low supply stymies recyclers.''
The demand for recycled resins will continue to grow exponentially as more manufacturers and retailers ride the sustainability wave created by the likes of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Home Depot Inc. and General Electric Co., and as more consumers care about global warming and seek products and packaging that spare our environment.
The current shortage in recycled resin can only be exacerbated by the demand for oil that ``is rising twice as fast as a year ago,'' according to the June 22 Wall Street Journal article, ``Robust oil demand fuels prices.'' That will undoubtedly push prices higher, as could any other trigger that threatens the flow of oil, be it ``a Gulf of Mexico hurricane to turmoil in the Middle East.''
It is now more important than ever to ensure that national, state and local initiatives to reinvigorate recycling promote more plastic container and bottle recycling.
Even with that renewed effort, we'll still be challenged to keep up with demand, especially if voracious global markets, such as China, keep importing so much of our supply away from the United States.
The RMT and Rutgers team have an innovative solution of blending recycled latex paint and plastic together that, when commercialized, would help to increase the supply of high density polyethylene by 20 percent, while keeping more recycled resins and paint in use, thus diverting them from the landfill.
Since RMT's March launch, we've been in ongoing dialogue and meetings with global and U.S.-based paint, plastics and chemicals manufacturers, plastics recyclers, government funding sources and venture capital firms, and continue to seek the right mix of financial resources and business partners to move this technology forward as quickly as possible.
East Brunswick, N.J.