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California State Government October 7, 2003 Election
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Testimony in Support of California Senate Bill SB 729

By Jeffrey L. "Jeff" Mock

Candidate for Recall of Gray Davis; State of California

This information is provided by the candidate
22 April 2003

The Senate of the State of California Committee of Government Organization State Capitol Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: Testimony in support of pending legislation; SB 729

Dear Honorable Senators, Committee Staff, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I tremendously appreciate the invitation to testify on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Perata's legislation, SB 729, this morning.

My name is Jeff Mock. My brother, sister, and I are the owners and operators of Thorock Metals Company, Inc., an aluminum recycling and production smelter located in Compton, California. I function as the VP and GM of our company, and as such my responsibilities include supervising the production, customer sales, environmental and regulatory compliance, and human resource administrator. In addition, I am a sitting board member of three of our industry's professional organizations, The California Cast Metals Association (headed by our Executive Director, Dr. Fred Simonelli), the North American Die Casting Association, and the American Foundry Society. I have 2 children in high school, and am actively involved in the school and other community services.

My father founded Thorock Metals Company in 1969 following a 30-year career as an U.S. Air Force command fighter pilot. It was his vision to return to the industry that employed him prior to his enlistment into the Army Air Corps during WWII, and to service that dynamic and growing metal casting industry. Today our plant recycles approximately 25 million pounds of scrap aluminum each year converting the solid scrap generated by auto and appliance dismantlers and industrial generators into specification alloyed ingots cast for use in the die casting and foundry industries. We have a workforce consisting of 21 full-time skilled men and women, most of whom have worked for the company for 15 years or more. In operating a small business, we necessarily share multiple responsibilities in order to maintain a profitable and efficient company.

Our major customers are U.S. aluminum die casters and foundries. For those present who may not be familiar with the industry, metal casting is the fundamental industrial process that has allowed human civilization to advance. Technology follows from the ability to transform concepts into the machines and devices that can perform these tasks, and these machines cannot be built without metal casting. Since the dawn of civilized society, the foundry process has been used to economically transform metal alloys into an infinite variety of metal objects that comprise the tools by which societies have developed and prospered. Die casting is an even more mechanized form of metal casting whose emergence was coincident with the industrial revolution. Invented originally as a process to mass produce linotype dies which promoted the standardization of presses to spread written forms of communication, die casting was recognized almost immediately for its applications improving economical production of near-net shape components and tools. Indeed, the emergence of all great nations has been coincident with a vigorous and superior metal casting industry. I am enclosing a short article entitled "Timeline of Casting Technology" by Michael J. Lessiter and Ezra L. Kotzin of the American Foundry Society which gives some perspective of the immense impact that the metal casting industry has had on the history of human civilization. With the possible exception of some less developed societies, metal casting impacts every facet of human life on earth. Thus, the nation that has the most robust and advanced metal casting industry will be the nation that leads the world in economy, technology, and might.

I mentioned that my father founded Thorock Metals Company to service the metal casting industry, and for many years, dynamic and growing were certainly words that described our industry, but that is no longer the case. For much of the past 2 decades, ours has been an industry in decline. Indeed, in his annual state-of-the- industry presentation in December, 2002, North American Die Casting Association (NADCA) president Daniel Twarog estimated that in the period of 1960 # 2000, the number of die casting facilities in the U.S had shrunk from over 1200 to less than 400, and that number was expected to continue to decline to about 250 by 2010. The foundry industry has likewise encountered losses during the same period. The California metal casting industry has suffered a proportionally steeper decline than the rest of the major manufacturing states, with the estimated number of die casting companies declining from more than 150 in 1980 to less than 50 currently. Shortly I will outline some of the factors that have contributed to this unprecedented decline, but first I would like to make this grim assessment: The United States is in the midst of a war for economic survival and technological superiority from which we very well may not emerge triumphant. If industry and government do not work together to revitalize and support the metal casting industry of the United States, our great nation will lose its leadership position.

Costs of production in our domestic industries have been greatly enhanced by many factors: Burdensome taxation; Onerous increases in worker compensation and general liability insurance; Costly implementation of environmental and regulatory compliance. But the most damaging threat to our industry has come in the form or unfair overseas competition.

These "competitors" are devastating our domestic metal casting and mold-making industries due to a combination of reasons, chief among them are lack of environmental and regulatory constraints, the absence of insurance and worker welfare oversight, and, perhaps most outrageous, the imbalance of employee wages, often a 50 to 1 disadvantage to U.S. companies! As a result, these factors are rapidly destroying our nation's industrial supremacy.

Senator Perata's legislation is the proper first step for assistance in maintaining this critical industry. In establishing priorities to state agency procurements for metal castings that are substantially all made in California, the Legislature is recognizing the fundamental importance of the metal casting industry in providing prosperity and commerce to this great state of California.

My colleagues and I would be pleased to invite any of the honorable Senators, or their staff delegates to visit and tour our individual facilities to provide you with better understanding of and to help you to visualize the essence and importance of metal casting. On behalf of the thousands of California working people involved in this critical industry, I would like to encourage the Committee to approve and support SB 729.

Thank you for the time and opportunity to voice our support of Senator Perata's Legislative Bill.


Jeffrey L. Mock Thorock Metals Company, Inc.

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