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
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”.