Responding to announcement of a major closing, a city leader asked me for ideas to keep other companies from closing their operations. Below are my suggestions. Would love your feedback and ideas to help keep companies thriving around the country and not experience another Christmas season with thousands of more unemployed. Reduce Energy Costs- The NC State Industrial Extension Service provides a service to help manufacturers identify compressed air leaks and also performs energy audits. They estimate over 37 million dollars in energy savings just last year. The Goodyear Tire factory in Fayetteville used an acoustic ultrasound leaked detector and plugged compressed 3000 air leaks and saved over 2 million dollars in energy costs in just 2 years. Sophisticated infrared thermo-graphic cameras are very affordable and can help managers see where their energy losses are in their facilities, see the process failures, and help regulate heat levels. This technology can easily help reduce thousands of dollars by being able to see the energy waste and loss. Interestingly, one of the nation’s foremost Infrared Service companies in the country is headquartered in Randleman, NC, Stocton Infrared Thermographic Services. If more local companies invested in these technologies they would become more productive and profitable. Reduce inventory costs- Managing an effect spare parts inventory system is almost a science. So many companies waste money by carrying too much spares inventory that they will never use and many other companies carry so few spare parts that they waste precious uptime by waiting for new parts to arrive from suppliers. To help fix these issues, it would be great if local industry could attend more workshops from experts on how to have the right amount of inventory and how to better control costs. Break the SILOS-Calibrate the aspirations of our youth to current and future needs of our employers. As I speak to students about possible careers, I ask what they want to be when they grow up? Unbelievable, how many North Carolina students dream of becoming Alaskan crab fishermen, professional athletes and singing idols, meanwhile having no clue about solid career paths in their area. Sadly we make our children make career choices without adequate exposure to the workplace and adequate information, only what they see in school or on TV. Many of the teachers and counselors never worked in manufacturing or understand the current and future needs of area employers. We need to break the self interested locations of our society by setting up more plant tours, job shadowing programs and formalized mentorships. Develop pipelines of qualified workers. One of the paradoxes that inhibit productivity is that companies want someone with experience before they will hire a new worker. New workers need a job to get experience. To help overcome that challenge a local Triad city invested in a summer youth workforce program where local companies were able to put high schools graduates to work over the summer while the city covered their workman’s comp and compensation. This gave these students a true taste of the workforce, build practical skills and some extra income. Also several companies after testing these summer interns, they actually made openings for them to continue their employment. If more cities developed similar programs that would help stimulate future talent pools and help boost area businesses. To help our area grow and become more prosperous we all need to brainstorm more tactics and techniques to advance our economy forward.