Eric Olander Rafts Down the Snake River Today and Kicks Off the First Day of Master Lock's NASC Conference in Jackson Hole, WY

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This morning Bob Rice, Vice President of Master Lock kicked off Master Lock's 2008 North American Supplier Conference.

This is my first Master Lock NASC. The three previous conferences where held in Milwaukee (Master Lock's corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility), Louisville, KY ( Master Lock's distribution center) and Tucson, AZ/Nogales,Mexico (Master Lock's assembly center). I learned that China is becoming an expensive place to source product because of the VAT rebate has been eliminated, higher wages, labor law (80 hour weeks are 40 hour weeks/40 hours of overtime), the appreciation of the yuan, and another factor is a Chinese person worker can make a higher wage in the food service industry than in manufacturing industry.  China is having a labor shortage!I Also listened to Adam Meister from Fortune Brands, which besides Master Lock also includes companies like Moen faucet, Jim Bean bourbon and Titlest golf. Adam discussed Fortune Brands and expectations of its suppliers committing to Fortune Brand's Global Citizenship policy. Adam also discussed how their audit program for suppliers works. To see this policy go to

We also listened to other Master Lock team members discuss their success with Master Lock suppliers. Greg Radaj Sr., Purchasing Manager, discussed his consignment program and how it has made Milwaukee work better and save  money. After the morning talks, we had two options go for a raft ride down the Snake River or take a bus tour of the  Grand Tetons. I selected the Snake River trip. Please note that the water flow was low so we really never had much white water, but we had awesome views of the Grand Tetons. I have pictures, but I have to learn how to do a slide show on WordPress, so please be patient with me. Our tour guide and oarsman was Andy, who was originally from North  Carolina, but went skiing once at Jackson Hole and has not returned since. Andy is finishing up his Geography degree from Wyoming University and he educated us of many geological facts of the area. The Tetons are very young Mountains only eight million years old if I remember correctly. Yellowstone is about fifty miles from the Tetons and has an active volcano that goes off every 600,000 years. They know it went off 1.2 million years ago and about 600,0000 years ago. Geologists are predicting that it could blow any time the next 10,000 years. The Yellowstone volcano, when its blows top will be two-hundred and fifty times greater than Mt St. Helens.  This will destroy most of the western US and  put so much ash into the air that the ice age will come back and the glaciers will take over again like they did 15,000 years ago in this region. This was a great first day!