For manufacturers, innovation is a way of life. Generating new products and processes is the key to staying competitive, more than for any other sector of the economy. It’s not a surprise then that nearly 60 percent of all private sector R&D in the United States is in manufacturing. Because of the link between competitiveness and innovation, more than a dozen manufacturers joined university presidents and executives from other industries recently at the National Summit on Competitiveness: Investing in U.S. Innovation in Washington, D.C.
One of the participants was Mary Vermeer Andringa, co-CEO at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella, Iowa. She said that her medium-sized, family business put a big emphasis on R&D, with about half of their products having been introduced just in the last five years. She was there because she is concerned about the lack of interest in math in science in today’s students and what that means for engineering, science and technical skils in the years ahead. Vermeer Manufacturing is helping in its own ways to reverse this trend and funds summer workshops for teachers to help give them additional skills in teaching math and science. For more about what Ms. Andringa and the other executives discussed, go to www.usinnovation.org.
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