Birmingham company hopes latest executive order leads to a boom in jobs, production

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- “Buy American” is, yet again, the message at the White House. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that urges the use of American products for infrastructure projects.

It is an executive order that Birmingham-based McWane Incorporated is praising. The company sent employees to the White House for the signing ceremony.

Menzo Parker fixes fire hydrants for M&H Valve Company that operates as part of McWane. He says he never expected to get an invite to the oval office.

“It’s been just a whirlwind. I can’t believe it. I’m sitting up here near Martin Luther King’s bust. That’s amazing to me,” said Parker.

He says he appreciates the administration’s commitment to workers and its pressure on companies to buy American and hire American.

“Hey, it will keep my family fed. And that’s very important to me,” said Parker.

He expects to see a boom in the number of coworkers he has in Alabama because of the announcement. Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta says the order encourages companies using federal grants for infrastructure projects to use American products. But encouraging companies is not the same as forcing them to do so.

“Well the executive order says you should buy when feasible. It’s not always feasible. It’s not always possible. But where you can, you should prefer American made goods,” said Acosta.

A McWane official says the company is on the verge of announcing more job opportunities and more production. They are hoping the executive order expedites that process.

Others are reacting to the president’s latest executive order including outspoken administration critic Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL).

“I’m supportive of policies that put hardworking Alabamians to work and a strong manufacturing sector is crucial for our nation’s economic growth and prosperity,” said Sewell.