Twelve cities. Three weeks. One message.
“Today, the state of manufacturing is as resilient and robust as ever—and that’s why, once again, America is rising.”
Twelve cities. Three weeks. One message.
“Today, the state of manufacturing is as resilient and robust as ever—and that’s why, once again, America is rising.”
To unveil the nation’s latest manufacturing innovation hub in Clinton, Tennessee, President Obama and Vice President Biden selected a manufacturer as renowned for its products as it is for the cutting-edge technology that powers its shop floor. Techmer PM, a longtime member of the NAM, provided not only a setting for President Obama’s speech but also a first-hand view of manufacturing in the United States.
“At the end of the speech, the president closed his prepared notes, and he spoke extemporaneously and mentioned me by name,” Techmer PM President and CEO John Manuck tells Shopfloor. “When I toured him and the vice president around, he asked me about how I had started the company. He went on to quote that I had graduated as an engineer out of college, went to work for a large company and then just decided I could do it better myself. And then he said, ‘And that story of entrepreneurship and taking a chance, that’s what built this country.’”
Such drive and innovation distinguish manufacturing from other sectors—and sets manufacturers like Techmer PM apart. Techmer PM collaborates with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Department of Energy facility that recommended the company to the Obama Administration, on projects such as full-sized, 3-D printed cars.
These types of projects would not be possible without Manuck’s vision of what manufacturing could be with a motivated workforce and continuous investment. Manuck founded Techmer PM with just six employees and one small manufacturing facility in 1981. Thanks in large part to his commitment to building a workplace where employees feel challenged, secure and proud of being a member of the team, the company has since grown to more than 600 employees at seven facilities across the country.
Even greater potential exists for manufacturing if Washington supports the right policies, as outlined by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons during this year’s State of Manufacturing Tour. Manuck pointed toward comprehensive tax reform that includes Techmer PM and the nearly two-thirds of manufacturers organized as subchapter S corporations that pay taxes at the individual rate and policies that support and expand global trade, such as Trade Promotion Authority and new trade agreements to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside our borders. Manufacturers also need policymakers to take a hard look at the more than $2 trillion in complex, inconsistent and duplicative federal regulations that hinder manufacturers in the United States.
Manuck hopes that by observing manufacturing in action, President Obama will take note of the policies that strengthen our more than $2 trillion sector—the policies that the NAM advocates each and every day. “We need to keep pushing these issues,” Manuck says.
Earlier today, the NAM released a new report that documents the massive size and growth of foreign export credit activity. The findings of the report, along with those of an NAM policy brief, underscore why the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank is critical to support exports, manufacturing and jobs.
A diverse array of manufacturers, small and large, who use the Ex-Im Bank joined NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons in Washington to unveil the report. Without the Ex-Im Bank, these manufacturers and thousands more would not be able to grow jobs at home and compete in the global marketplace. Even with the Ex-Im Bank’s services, manufacturers in the United States seeking to export their products, and expand their businesses to reach the 95 percent of consumers who live outside U.S. borders, are at a competitive disadvantage.
As the report found, foreign export credit agencies (ECAs) continue to grow among our largest trading partners and in emerging markets. The ECAs of nine of our top trading partners—Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United Kingdom—provided nearly half a trillion dollars in export credit assistance to their exporters in 2013. Collectively, that amount is more than 18 times greater than the modest $27 billion the U.S. Ex-Im Bank provided the same year. China dominates the export credit financing landscape and authorized more than $153 billion in 2013.
If Congress fails to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, the discrepancy in export financing between the United States and the rest of the world will only continue to grow. Other nations will jump in and fill the void. Neither our nation’s manufacturers nor the economy can afford for that to happen.
More than 500 manufacturers stormed Capitol Hill earlier this week to demand the pro-growth agenda they depend on to create jobs at home and increase their competitiveness abroad. In the 220-plus congressional meetings scheduled during the 2014 Manufacturing Summit, the men and women who make things in the United States offered further insights into the impact that policies and decisions in Washington have on our industry.
Regardless of the size of the business, clear themes emerged in meetings with members of Congress and their staff. More than a dozen manufacturers ranging from small and medium manufacturers to multinational corporations met with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). As in other meetings, comprehensive tax reform emerged as a top priority. Manufacturers also advocated to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States, attract a highly skilled workforce, provide a long-term Highway Trust Fund fix that ensures investment in sound infrastructure and push back against overregulation from federal agencies. Portman’s energy efficiency legislation, co-sponsored with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), received a ringing endorsement.
On the House side, Andrew Temple, senior advisor for government affairs at Air Liquide, met with an aide to Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) of the House Ways and Means Committee. Air Liquide, the world leader in gases, technology and services for industry and health, operates in 80 countries and employs over 5,000 workers in the United States, including 2,000 in Texas alone. Temple built on the need for comprehensive tax reform and regulatory certainty. As part of any reform, manufacturers like Air Liquide would greatly benefit from a more competitive and simple corporate tax system along with a predictable regulatory environment within which to operate. “As a major multi-national company, we’re simply looking for our government to support innovation and a competitive marketplace to help drive continued growth, and where you can help provide that leadership in Congress, NAM member companies and our nation all benefit,” he said.
The advocacy manufacturers demonstrated during the Summit is already making a difference. “Your presence in Washington sends a powerful message to lawmakers,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons told manufacturers at the Summit. That message could not have been clearer: Washington needs to support the policies that will advance the manufacturing comeback.
When Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing Corp., USA opens the doors to its facilities in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Manufacturing Day, the public will get a glimpse into the advanced manufacturing that powers the production line. “Seeing a manufacturing plant in action speaks very loudly for the level of technology that’s being used,” Kawasaki Vice President and Plant Manager Mike Boyle said. The Lincoln facilities alone are responsible for manufacturing all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft, utility vehicles and subway rail cars, and they use some of the most cutting-edge equipment to do so.
But this isn’t the first time that Kawasaki has been a force for manufacturing in the community. Through Project Shine, Kawasaki brings college instructors into its facilities and helps them develop lesson plans for their classes. These lessons focus on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills necessary to educate the next generation of manufacturers. Without STEM education, the skills gap threatens to upend the extraordinary growth of the U.S. manufacturing industry. Kawasaki also offers internships that provide hands-on training in a field that offers long-term, high-paying careers.
For Kawasaki, Manufacturing Day will resonate long after the events wrap up. Once high school and college students understand all they can achieve from a future in manufacturing, there is no settling for anything else. “We’re confident that it won’t be the last time we see them at Kawasaki,” Boyle said.
Manufacturing Day would not be complete if it did not offer opportunities to hire our heroes—the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. Veterans play an important role in closing the skills gap. They have skills that make them uniquely suited to careers in manufacturing.
That’s why Falcon Metal Corporation and The Employers Association of Charlotte, North Carolina, will make veterans the focus of their Manufacturing Day activities, starting with a Hiring Our Heroes career fair connecting at least two dozen local manufacturers with local veterans. These companies will offer on-the-spot job interviews and opportunities for full-time, high-paying positions. Non-profits that serve veterans in the community will also be on hand, and so will Central Piedmont Community College, promoting apprenticeship programs that provide critical training for manufacturing careers. Following the career fair and cultural representations of U.S. manufacturing in action, a free ice cream reception will provide further networking opportunities. Falcon and The Employers Association will donate all proceeds from tips to the USO-North Carolina.
More than 400 miles away, Falcon will host a simultaneous Manufacturing Day at its 6,500-square foot distribution facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Proceeds from the ice cream social at the facility will benefit the USO-Fort Campbell.
Falcon recently expanded the distribution facility to better serve the growing manufacturing sector in Kentucky and Indiana. It’s yet another example of the vitality of manufacturing in the United States—and another reason why events like Manufacturing Day are so important to spread the word, said Falcon President Dan Nowak. “The demise of the U.S. manufacturing sector has been greatly exaggerated, and now more than ever, it is critically important we support our manufacturing base,” he said. “It is not only a key component to today’s economic recovery and but an integral part in creating sustainable long-term economic growth for America. Falcon Metal is committed to helping manufacturers be more productive and cost competitive on the world stage.”
The state of U.S. infrastructure is pretty dismal. But you don’t need an expert to tell you that. You are already paying the cost of congestion in lost time and fuel every single day when your roads and bridges are clogged, or your train is late, or even if your plane has been idling on the tarmac for far too long. What if you could let your member of Congress know when you’re stuck?
Building America’s Future (BAF) wants commuters to have a say about infrastructure through a new app that connects them with members of Congress. “Usually commuters think traffic is like weather – it is something that happens to them and they have no control over it. But that isn’t the case at all,” BAF Co-chair and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell Pennsylvania Governor said. The app has been downloaded nearly 10,000 times in the few short weeks since its release and opened a necessary – and ongoing – dialogue with representatives and senators.
Earlier this year, BAF partnered with the NAM on a survey that only underscored our nation’s infrastructure deficiencies. We cannot allow this trend to continue for any longer. Manufacturers depend on sound infrastructure to keep making their products in the United States. BAF’s app is called “I’m Stuck,” but it’s time to get moving. “The truth is America is stuck until Washington takes action,” Rendell said. Download the app here.
Earlier today, hundreds of people who make things in the United States watched House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH-8) take the stage at the 2013 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturing Summit. What message would one of the top congressional lawmakers deliver from Washington? “The people in this room represent so much of our nation’s economic success and frankly, our potential for the future,” Boehner said. Unfortunately, manufacturers experience more obstacles than they should ever have to. “Manufacturing, of course, also represents where we have gone wrong in recent years,” the speaker acknowledged. “Our vision is one of a country where everyone has the opportunity to build something from nothing.”
Without pro-growth policies, manufacturers in the United States will never realize that vision. Neither will the economy. The two are indivisible. Regulatory red tape, an outdated tax code, restrictive energy policies and a broken immigration system are just some of the barriers to growth. Immigration reform, in particular, is one area that would give manufacturers a much-needed boost. “Securing our borders, enforcing our laws and making the process of becoming a legal immigrant fairer will in fact help America remain a magnet for the brightest minds and the hardest workers in the world,” Boehner said.
Sometimes it takes manufacturers from Nevada to Minnesota, Maryland to Oregon to remind members of Congress that what they do impacts a nation. Over the course of the Summit, NAM member companies from across the country delivered the manufacturing message to Capitol Hill. And it is already resounding. “America’s greatness has always rested on our ability to build things and produce things,” Boehner said. “We built the steam engine. We built the Model T. Steel mills. Skyscrapers. Pioneer aerospace. Cyberspace. We’re a nation of builders.”
Top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle brought the House floor to the shop floor at the 2013 National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Manufacturing Summit. “We have a real vision, a real agenda that we want to pursue,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI-6), which has sweeping jurisdiction over energy and other critical manufacturing issues.
Part of committee’s agenda includes working toward U.S. energy independence. Moving forward with the Keystone XL pipeline is perhaps the single greatest step that would bring us closer to this goal. Keystone would deliver 830,000 additional barrels of crude oil from Canada, North Dakota and Montana to the market every day and create thousands of jobs for manufacturers that would make the steel pipe and the thousands of fittings, valves, pumps and control devices required for a major oil pipeline. For manufacturers, which use one-third of our nation’s energy supply, the pipeline is indispensable.
So is tax reform. It is 20 percent more expensive to manufacture in the United States compared to our competitors, and that figure excludes the cost of labor. “American manufacturers getting a tax break is something both sides agree on,” said Rep. John Larson (D-CT-1), a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He called for a bipartisan commitment to getting the job done. Upton expressed optimism that members of Congress will come together on this issue. “Tax reform is going to focus again on helping businesses create jobs, to bring [them] back from overseas,” he said. “I am more encouraged than ever that in fact, at the end of the day, at some point in the next couple of months, before the next election, we’re going to see a plan to really reform the tax code.”
Earlier today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) hosted a dual town hall discussion on why the time for comprehensive immigration reform is now. Cosponsored by Cargill, Microsoft and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the event highlighted just how important the issue is to businesses and local communities across the country. That significance resounded from Cargill’s headquarters in Hopkins, Minnesota to the Washington, DC platform where House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) addressed the crowd.
Right now, the United States is educating foreign-born talent and then returning them to our competitors around the world. Our birthrates are not where they need to be to lock in our competitive advantage. Immigration reform will create jobs and drive economic growth, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin said in Washington. As Ryan noted, maintaining the status quo on immigration will get us nowhere fast. “When we’ve got baby boomers retiring, when we’ve got 10,000 people retiring every day as they will be for ten years coming, we’re going to need people,” he said. “Immigration helps us get the labor force that we need so that we can have the kind of growth we want.” Manufacturers in particular stand to benefit from having access to the qualified workers they need to keep manufacturing in the United States and thrive in a global marketplace.
For Ryan and other lawmakers, immigration reform is not simply an economically-motivated decision. It is the right thing to do. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons has been making the case for comprehensive immigration reform based on those same principles. It is something that town hall panelist and Brooklyn Park, Minnesota Mayor Jeffrey Lunde understands completely. Brooklyn Park is the most diverse city in the state and an indicator of future U.S. demographics. “It’s not stats to us – it’s people,” Lunde said from Cargill’s headquarters.
The NAM couldn’t agree more, especially when opponents question the ethics of immigration reform. Immigration reform is the ethical thing to do. Cargill Chairman and CEO Gregory Page put it best when took the stage. “What we see in America are 11 million people, the great majority of whom came here to work and to work hard, often in jobs that are difficult for employers like ourselves and others to fill. We see this as a moral question in the other direction,” he said. “How are we going to treat people who have contributed so much for so many years?”