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.