From the time Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) started running for the House of Representatives in May, 2011, he touted his background as a management consultant as a reason he would be an effective member of Congress.
In his first extensive interview with Patch a month later, he promised to listen to the needs of companies in the 10th Congressional District and advocate for them in Washington.
Earlier: Update: Schneider Think of People’s Struggles on Special Day
Less than a week after taking his oath of office Jan. 3, he made good on that promise with a tour of nine companies in the area Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“I listened to business owners, managers and employees to hear their perspectives,” Schneider said. “They are optimistic for their own future but concerned about the uncertainty coming out of Washington.”
One of the things Schneider learned is that companies have employment opportunities but are not always able to find workers with the necessary talent. “They have to find people with the right skill set,” he said. “These are very technical jobs.”
At Ludlow Manufacturing, a metal fabricator in Gurnee, Schneider learned one thing the company is doing to find qualified machinists. They are going to potential sources within the 10th Congressional District.
“They (Ludlow) worked with Zion-Benton High School to show them the opportunities there,” Schneider said. “They feel good about the success they are having with that.”
Though machinist jobs with Ludlow are ones a student with a high school diploma can eventually do, significant schooling is required before a person is ready to do the work. “There is a tremendous amount of attention to detail,” Schneider said of the task.
As an engineer himself as well as a management consultant, Schneider has an appreciation of the needs of Ludlow and the other eight businesses he toured. He has spent more than 20 years listening as a consultant and he did it as a member of Congress last week.
“Everyone was very appreciative of the way I understood their language,” Schneider said. “They were appreciative of the way I can go to Washington and advocate for them.”
When he gets back to Washington later today, he will be able to take what he learned directly to the Small Business Committee. He is a member of that committee along with the Foreign Affairs Committee. He is the only member of either from Illinois.
“I will make sure their voices are heard,” Schneider said. “It puts me in a unique position to advocate for small and medium size businesses. The 10th District has so many diverse businesses.”
In addition to Ludlow, Schneider made stops at Schumacher Electric and C-Line Products in Mount Prospect, Knuth Machine Tools and Sysmex America in Lincolnshire, Medline in Mundelein, and Underwriters’ Laboratories in Northbrook along with Walgreens and Connexion in Buffalo Grove.
After spending the first few days of his first visit home after becoming a Congressman, one thing was clear to Schneider. “It was an opportunity to experience the great sense of responsibility I feel,” he said.