Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Manufacturing Still Makes America Strong

Photo credit: NAM
In 1895, as Americans struggled to stay afloat in the thick of the nation's worst recession to date, a group of business leaders met in Cincinnati, Ohio, to form the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). They met to decide a course of action, to take charge of troubling economic circumstances by lobbying the powers that be on behalf of the manufacturing industry, as NAM Chair Doug Oberhelman explains in this video summary of the association's mission and history.

"Working together, they knew they could make a difference and chart a course for the future of manufacturing in America," NAM's current President and CEO Jim Simmons reiterated in front of an audience in March. Reminding them that the trade association has stood by manufacturers during times both good and bad, he named some examples:
When the first Model Ts rolled off the assembly line,
... when our industry helped the United States win both world wars,
…when farmers left their fields to enter the factory gates,
…when newly built tract homes helped families live the American dream,
…when technology and robotics transformed our businesses,
…and when global competition challenged America’s manufacturing dominance…
...during all of this, NAM has been the voice for manufacturers.

Today, NAM claims 12,000 members who represent another 12 million makers in the U.S., Bishop-Wisecarver among them. Our CEO Pamela Kan serves on NAM's Board of Directors. The goal that drew those manufacturing leaders together 118 years ago remains upheld today, only more urgently as manufacturing becomes an increasingly instrumental driver of our economic engine.

NAM's aim now, in addition to rallying for public policies that support manufacturing, is to educate the public about its importance and ever-evolving role in today's society. Kan wrote a few months ago about a faulty perception of manufacturing as dirty, dumb, boring and cheap in a much talked-about article titled "When Did Manufacturing Become a Dirty Word?"

Modern manufacturing is technologically sophisticated and a key driver of global R&D innovation, Kan notes. Bishop-Wisecarver Group has grown with the times, from engineering linear bearings and other motion control technologies to venturing into the world of mechatronics.

Plus, for anyone debating what career to pursue, realize this: it pays very well (click here for a look at the median salary for a mechanical engineer, for example).

"If you go back a century, it's almost impossible to see how we got from there to here," Oberhelman remarks in the video. "Computers didn't exist, there was no air travel, and gas-powered automobiles were still on the drawing board. What a fascinating story and even more astounding is the role manufacturing and the National Association of Manufacturers have played in revolutionizing our country."

Watch the video here: