Win a Made in the USA Best Seller by a Champaign County Original

Ohio Manufacturing Month came to an end Friday. But I’m continuing the celebration, giving you a chance to win a copy of a New York Times Best Seller, Factory Man, authored by a product of Champaign County, Ohio – Beth Macy.Factory Man by Beth Macy

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below. I’ll announce the randomly selected winner here November 10.

Factory Man author Beth Macy speaks at Champaign County Library, Urbana, Ohio

Author Beth Macy with her proud high school English teacher, Margaret Tabor.

Beth, a 1982 Urbana High School graduate, returned to Urbana in August for a book talk and signing at the Champaign County Library. The library meeting room was packed with Beth’s high school classmates, family, friends, her high school English teacher, Margaret Tabor, community members, and yours truly. I was managing editor of the Urbana Daily Citizen when she interned there.

Factory Man author Beth Macy at Champaign County Library, Urbana, Ohio/

Beth signs books after her presentation at the Champaign County Library

Upon release in July, Factory Man, Beth’s first book, became an instant best seller, welcomed by rave reviews including a tweet from actor Tom Hanks: “Great Summer Reading. I give it 42 stars. No, I give it 142 stars. It’s THAT good.”

And that was no idle tweet. Hanks’ production company, Playtone, is developing Factory Man as an HBO miniseries.

Recently, Publisher’s Weekly selected Factory Man for its Best Books of 2014 list.

Well researched and entertainingly told, Factory Man chronicles the rise and evolution of the Bassett furniture dynasty and John Bassett III’s determined fight against globalization and offshoring to save his Virginia-based furniture company, his employees’ jobs and his town.

Back in Beth’s hometown, and across the country, manufacturing is on the rebound from the Great Recession. Manufacturing employment in Champaign County, at 3,700 in 2001, hit a low of 2,373 in 2010 before rising to 3,487 this year. That number could be higher if manufacturers – in Champaign County and throughout the U.S. – weren’t having such a difficult time finding enough qualified candidates for skilled, high-tech positions. (Local efforts have been launched to introduce students to manufacturing careers.)

In this video, produced by the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Beth (whose mother worked for Grimes Manufacturing in Urbana) talks about the significance of American manufacturing.

For a chance to win a copy of Factory Man, don’t forget to leave a comment below – by 8 a.m. EST Nov. 10.

For instance, what is your favorite U.S.-made product? Or tell us about your experience in manufacturing (while in college I made fireplace inserts on an assembly line). Or tell us about your favorite job in any setting.

New Publication Aims to Draw Churches Together

As a husband and father of five Pat Bass of Urbana seeks out local family-oriented entertainment and activities.

Pat Bass, editor and publisher of The Road to Damascus Publication, Urbana, Ohio

Pat Bass with a copy of The Road to Damascus Publication.

He just wished he had a resource to make his search easier.

While out of town in his job as a business coach last year he found what he had in mind – a publication in the lobby of the church that hosted his seminar. “This is exactly what I want to do,” he thought.

Thus, Bass created The Road to Damascus Publication, a monthly tabloid size newspaper – his first venture in publishing – which he launched in April. The free newspaper – supported by advertising – features news and events of Champaign, Clark and Logan county churches. It’s available in print throughout the three counties, and you can read it online.

Thanks to a small business attorney that Bass works with, The Road to Damascus stretches beyond a listing of events. “When I shared my idea, he said, ‘I think you’re missing the boat. I think there’s a place for events. But what about reporting on the good that people are doing, what about the good things churches are doing in your community?’”

So that kind of news is in The Road to Damascus, too.

“I think we’re in a special time in life and a special time in our community, in Urbana, in Clark County and Logan County,” Bass says. “There are a lot of people here who have a heart for God and helping people.”

Bass, who attends Second Jerusalem Baptist Church in Urbana with his family, envisions Road to Damascus uniting churches: “How can we together further the kingdom of God?”

And that, he believes, could cause people not involved in a church to take notice – that maybe our local churches have more in common than not.

Check out the June, May and April editions and share your thoughts here – or with Pat.