As the president of a high-tech manufacturing company, I have experience finding and hiring talent. To no surprise of anyone who knows the world of high-tech manufacturing, I find the best talent comes from the United States. While some companies have turned to H1-B visas to find what they consider to be the “best” talent, I have not. And, my company has continued to thrive and dominant in the global marketplace by making some of the most technologically advanced products imaginable.
So, when I hear about Bill Gates testifying about how badly he needs to hire employees from around the world, I question his course of thought. My company, Electroimpact, is a haven for engineers who develop ideas and produce them for our customers in the aerospace industry. We hire engineers. And, those engineers come from universities in the United States. I have never had to look outside of the US and I am planning on keeping it that way. Because of my experience hiring from inside the US, I wonder what Bill Gates is doing wrong.
I founded Electroimpact after graduating with my PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Washington. At first, I wanted to commercialize the research that I completed in my Doctoral Research – Low Voltage Electromagnetic Riveting. In 1986, I created Electroimpact as a company where engineers would find a place for their innovation and creativity. I hoped that they would join my company so they could have technical and commercial success as they developed projects from inception to through the warranty and spare parts provisioning. Electroimpact provides both equipment and services for aircraft and satellite manufacturing.
With the way that the media reports the needs of American companies, most people would never imagine that a company like mine would survive without being able to access employees who can only enter the US with an H1-B visa. But, this could not be farther from the truth. I have never needed to search outside of the US for help. And not just any help. My help builds products that no one has ever built before. My help is well-educated, innovative, creative, independent, and task-oriented. They are interesting people who appreciate that I trust their minds.
I hire the best talent, no matter where they come from. But most of my most talented employees were educated in the United States. Our young talent comes from universities that conduct inventive research that is not done anywhere else in the world. So, why would I ever consider looking outside of the United States for my talent?
Some employers claim that American workers demand too much money. They want benefits, vacations, good pay, and so much more. Those same employers say they can reduce costs by hiring workers who need the H1-B visa rather than naturally born American workers. Those employers must not value their employees. When an employee delivers on an idea and can follow it through to the point where it can be sold and maintained, then that employee is worth good pay, benefits, vacations, and everything that I can give in exchange for that work.