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MANUFACTURING IS CREATING: WHERE ARE THE ACCOLADES?

Dec 3, 2020

Manufacturing Is Creating Where Are The Accolades?

Views expressed in these articles are the opinions of the author and
do not necessarily reflect the views of The MFGgear Column.

by John Gardner  

Hollywood loves to congratulate itself with endless award ceremonies exalting their creative oblations to the gods of culture. Silicon Valley is fawned over by the media and the idea of unicorns is now sullied by association not with the magical creatures my six year old daughter loves but by being reduced to a finance term. But where is the acclaim for an industry that is more:

1) The largest and most dynamic sector of the U.S. Economy

2) The U.S. Manufacturing Sector in and of itself is the world’s 3rd largest economy 

3) The Manufacturing Industry is leading the way on renewable energy

4) Leads the way with R&D paving the path for innovation 

5) The vast majority of manufacturing companies in the U.S. are Small Business

I was scheduled to exhibit my patented cutting tool for CNC lathes and mills at the Production Machining Trade Show (PMTS) and the sponsors asked me to write about my experiences attending manufacturing trade shows. This was published in March 2011:
“Precision machining is an art. It is a creative process that, quite often in our great country, is passed down through families. I remember as a child watching my dad hunched over his drafting table designing things and then making them on his mill. As a kid, I ground carbide inserts for side money in our garage. I never thought those things he taught me would help me start my own business. In Columbus, Ohio, at PMTS, in the heartland of manufacturing, I see and recognize others who have machining in their blood. The finest brush, the highest quality canvas, the most innovative 3D camera, and the Oscar-winning actor are the tools of other mediums. We are at PMTS because it has the best to offer an artist in our guild.”– https://www.productionmachining.com/articles/last-word
In my day-to-day life I’ve long been struck by the lack of knowledge people have of the essential role the Manufacturing Industry plays in our lives. Changing the misperceptions and lack of accurate persona surrounding the manufacturing industry is a top priority of the MANUFACTURE LOCAL MOVEMENT™.

Over my 15 years of running a small business in the Manufacturing Industry I’ve had the pleasure of learning from tens of thousands of conversations with every size entity. From the one-man shop in the garage, to the giants of Halliburton and Lockheed Martin I’ve talked shop with engineers, machinists, production managers, AP and purchasing etc…this is the type of experience only a small business owner wearing “multiple hats” could actually get. Across the board there is an agreement in these conversations regarding the industry we all work in that outsiders mistakenly think of the Manufacturing Industry as “dirty factory work” for “low brow people”. Most of my colleagues have had the same experience I do with people outside of our industry. When I meet people at social gatherings or other parents at my daughters school I am quite familiar with the look of vapidity when I answer the “so, what do you do” question with a proud “I’m in the Manufacturing Industry”. Here in liberal California I usually see the immediate “conservative alert” look of terror flash through judgmental, politically-correct eyes. It’s as if they think a sector of the economy could be in and of itself a sign of political alignment. So I typically steer the conversation to the many union members in the manufacturing industry and then try to educate them on how “THE MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY LED WITH DESEGREGATION”

One example of uneducated judgement is former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s speech at Oxford University’s Business School in 2016:
“Then we had 300 years of industrial society. You put a piece of metal in a lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. Now comes the information economy which is fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology and the skill sets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze, and that is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skill set, you have to have a lot more gray matter.”  read
The combination of arrogance and ignorance astounds. I’m certain Mr. Bloomberg wouldn’t like his former job as mayor summarized as “running his mouth at a podium”.
It’s time America gives the Manufacturing Industry its proper respect. My wife suggested a marketing campaign similar to the US Military recruitment videos which are like MTV Music videos to regain the status lost over decades of cultural neglect.
“Manufacturing, science and engineering are incredibly creative. I’d venture to say more so than creative advertising agencies and things that are known as the creative industries.” – Sir James Dyson

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