Open door policy good for industry

Published 5:53 pm Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Perhaps U.S. Senators should come to Dallas County more often.

In recent months, Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions visited Hanil E Hwa and Henry Brick, respectively.

During each visit, I was able to walk through the factory and see how each company functions. I’m hardly ready to begin manufacturing bricks or car parts, but I am grateful that I was able to see the interior of the facilities

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Most of the stories I write about are reported by conducting an interview in an office, talking on the phone or sitting in a public meeting. Submitting public records requests is hardly any more exciting.

Being able to walk inside of a factory that produces thousands of parts each day was truly a unique experience. Hanil E Hwa’s production facility may be been the largest building I have entered.

Meeting a U.S. senator is a rare experience. The visits are an opportunity to find out how they are fighting for us in Washington, but the reality is that seeing the inside of a muli-million dollar facility is even more memorable.

With Henry Brick, it was the kilns that form the buildings blocks of homes and many structures in the area. Hanil E Hwa produces car parts, such as interior door panels.

Senators shouldn’t be the only reason for industries to open their doors. For an average person, there are little to no similar opportunities.

Leadership Selma-Dallas County occasionally tours factories during its annual classes, but the number of Dallas County residents far outpaces the number of Leadership graduates.

There are certainly concerns about opening industry doors to the public. Letting anyone in increases the chance of theft, vandalism or disclosing proprietary information.

For school children and regular people, seeing the interior of a multi-million dollar facility would be an unforgettable experience.

Industries should allow tours of their facilities more frequently.

Giving a child in elementary school the opportunity to visit Hanil E Hwa may generate interest in becoming an engineer.

There’s other benefits to opening industry doors.

We often hear complaints about the economy being in decline, but, in many cases, our local economy is rebounding. It’s important for Dallas County residents to understand how their local economy works.

Industry doesn’t have to open their doors every day. Once every few months, or once per year is enough.

Industrial companies have a purpose and it isn’t being a tour guide to curious people, but opening doors to the public would be a nice addition and drum up some positive publicity about the company.

Perhaps the solution is an industry day at Craig Field or another industrial park.

Working in a factory may seem boring to some, but for those of us who have never stepped foot onto an assembly line, it’s unique and different. Instead of waiting until a public official requests a tour, industry should actively invite local residents to see how their product is made. Even a few hours per day could make a significant difference.