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The Magnitude of Manufacturing Day

James Soto, president and CEO of Industrial Strength Marketing, a Nashville-based marketing firm and guest producer of MFG DAY, recently asked (over a plate of jambalya and a craft beer, no less), “Is it possible that Manufacturing Day is the most significant orchestration of manufacturing interests in the United States ever?" Immediately, the rest of us at the table foolishly started popping-off rejoinders like World War II and JFK’s Race to the Moon. The point of his question was not to debate the size and scale of various manufacturing events our nation has seen in the past relative to Manufacturing Day. James was challenging us to understand and appreciate the magnitude of what took place on October 4th.

MFG DAY 2013 was amazing. It demonstrated that manufacturing is everywhere. News people covered it. Politicians endorsed it. Tweeters tweeted about it. Manufacturing Day showed that manufacturing is all around us – literally and figuratively. Check out this map and click on the links of some pictures and videos to get a sense of what we mean.

According to the MFG DAY official rolls, 834 organizations, in 48 states, opened their doors to people who got to see, feel and experience manufacturing in their own community. Iconic and familiar named companies like Caterpillar, General Electric, Kawasaki, and MillerCoors opened their doors. And their communities showed up. Lesser known, but no less important companies like Cameron Valve, Power Curbers, Rosebud Manufacturing and Falcon Metal opened their doors in their communities, and their communities showed up. Glass making, metal bending, and plastic extruding companies opened their doors and their communities showed up. 3D Printer companies and hand-crafted furniture companies opened their doors. Apparel companies, breweries and candy makers opened their doors. And their communities showed up. Over 35,000 people, from communities all around the country, showed up.

And that’s not all…

  • The Science Channel showed MFG DAY ads and messages to 80,000,000 viewers of it’s How It’s Made programming. (That’s approximately 160,000,000 eyeballs, if you were curious.)
  • Thousands (we seriously lost count) of news stories ran in print and electronic media. Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Industry Week, US News and World Report, Thomas Net, Boston Globe, Crains, specialty pubs, and business journals ran stories and Upworthy picked up the related infographic.
  • Nine floor speeches were delivered in Congress and countless visits were made by members of Congress to MFG DAY open houses - Representatives Van Hollen (D-MD) and Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to name drop a few.
  • 15 Governors, along with many Mayors, City and County Councils, issued proclamations officially recognizing Manufacturing Day in their communities. Some states, including New Hampshire, put on Manufacturing Week. Illinois and Wisconsin declared it Manufacturing Month.
  • NASCAR even gave a nod at a Sprint Cup race featuring the MFG DAY logo on the deck lid of the #22 Shell-Penzoil Ford Fusion car.

We are already getting the party started for next year, so mark your calendars for October 3, 2014 and join this fantastic grassroots movement.

About the author

Mark Schmit

Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), since 1988, has been committed to strengthening U.S. manufacturing, continually evolving to meet the changing needs of manufacturers. As division chief for regional and state partnerships, Mark is the lead for division policy and has assisted in the development of programs supporting manufacturing and industrial extension technology-based economic development, and entrepreneurship practices with state elected officials and policy makers, including the MEP policy academies, which were designed by MEP and partners to help states build upon existing strategies, leverage available resources, and spur creative new ideas about how to address major challenges or leverage opportunities around the manufacturing sector.  Mark is responsible for developing partnerships with both the public and private sector entities. He was an MEP co-lead for the creation of MFG Day, an outreach program held on the first Friday in October to show students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about, with growing annual participation across the United States. Mark was a 2001, 2005, 2014, and 2020 recipient of NIST’s George Uriano Award.  The George Uriano Award recognizes outstanding achievements by NIST staff in building and strengthening NIST extramural programs and partnerships.

Zara Brunner

Zara Brunner is the communications director at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Office of Advanced Manufacturing (OAM). Zara received a B.A. with honors in political science with a focus on economics from State University of New York at Fredonia. Prior to joining OAM, Zara managed marketing and communications at the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which she joined in 2011.  At MEP, she oversaw internal and external marketing and communications about the program and its National Network of Centers.

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