Report from America: Austin, Texas

By August 1, 2005Report from America

report.jpgLast week found the blogger-in-chief among NAM members large and small outside Austin, Texas in San Marcos. The occasion was a quarterly meeting of the Texas Alliance of Manufacturing Associations, an umbrella group that includes a bunch of other growing manufacturing associations under its auspices, including: the San Marcos, San Antonio, Harlingen, South Texas, New Braunfels Manufacturers Associations, and the Manufacturers Association of North Texas. Bruce Tifft of Goodrich was kind enough to host us all at their facility in San Marcos, yet another high-tech manufacturing facility, some 168,000 square feet big, producing exhaust assemblies and doing high-temperature bonding, all for military and commercial aircraft.

The meeting drew a good turnout from the local political folks, including San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz, State Rep. Patrick Rose and a Representative from the office of US Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Drew Casani, head of the Texas Manufacturing Assistance Center(TMAC) was also there moving things along as was all-star award-winning small manufacturer and NAM Board member Della Williams of Williams-Pyro (we’ve written about her before).

In any event, this meeting was noteworthy because the group is clearly focusedd on building a manufacturing agenda in Texas. As you may know, Texas is emerging as one of the leading manufacturing states. This status was helped immensely by Gray Davis‘ terms as Governor of California, when companies started to flee for a more business-friendly environment. In addition, Toyota’s plant in San Antonio will be on line soon enough, a prize that most of the other 49 states coveted but ultimately lost to Texas.
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We managed to get most of the core group in the picture (left). This is a group of do-ers, of serious manufacturers, who are making a difference every day in Texas. Thanks to Deborreh Wallace of TMAC for helping to pull the meeting together and for just generally making all the trains run on time down there.

Two Austin themes came to mind during our trip: one was that we were just outside the Austin City Limits, but also we couldn’t stop thinking about Waylon Jennings’s song: “It don’t matter who’s in Austin, Bob Wills is still the king.” Maybe so, but manufacturers are rockin’ the place.