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70 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2023 months than during our previous 20 years in business. How does "going green" factor into your business plan? Is it a cost of doing business or a selling point? Is this something you're investing in? As a company we always want to do our part to be as "green" as possible. We run a very clean and safe facility. It has not really affected us. Which process technologies hold the most opportunity for growth in the industry in 2024? We see several areas for growth and oppor- tunity. e aerospace and defense markets, I believe, will see a significant increase over the next couple of years. With some of the cur- rent geopolitical turmoil, we have already seen increased orders and forecasts. We are also very engaged in the start up/emerging technology markets. Many of these emerging companies we are working with and developing along- side; they are poised for very rapid growth and implementation. SMT007 down this path. We add a new piece of capi- tal on a very regular basis, and we work closely with key suppliers to ensure value. In coordi- nation with our sales growth projections, we are budgeting for our largest capital invest- ment in 2024. Is the CHIPS Act trickling down to you yet? e CHIPS Act has not had any impact on our company yet. ere seems to be a lot of talk and discussion, but nothing concrete. What concerns you most in your growth plans: capabilities, capacity, or competition? Why? We are very excited about our growth and future. With the current consolidation and recent shake-up in the local marketplace, we have seen a very significant increase in new customers. is has also caused issues for some of the local manufacturers, so there are many very talented and experienced employees looking to make a change to a fun and growing company. We have been fortunate to hire more very experienced employees in the past several By Shawn DuBravac In the enchanting world of Shakespeare's plays, prophecies often set the stage for unforeseen twists and turns. Just as Macbeth could not have antici- pated the tumultuous journey that lay ahead after encountering the three witches, the financial mar- kets and policymakers find themselves in a similarly uncertain ter- rain. Take prices, which rose sharply in 2022. The Federal Reserve was slow to respond. Although the rate of inflation has declined since reaching its zenith last year, it con- tinues to exceed the Federal Reserve's 2% infla- tion goal. "Higher for longer" is likely the mantra for interest rates. This prolonged period of higher inter- est rates will have a ripple effect on various sectors of the economy. A Historic Battle with Inflation For the past 18 months, the Federal Reserve has been battling historically high inflation with annual inflation peaking in June 2022 at 8.9%. Core price inflation, which excludes volatile categories like energy and food, peaked a few months later in Sep- tember 2022 at 6.6%. Both measures remain high. Annual inflation is still running at 3.3% and core prices are 4.7% higher than they were a year ago. This article originally appeared in the fall 2023 issue of IPC Community. To read Shawn's three ways that higher interest rates are likely to impact the economy in the coming year, click here. Forecasting the Wind

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