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Wisconsin Celebrates Manufacturing Day All Month Long

This blog is the second in a series on Manufacturing Day 2015. NIST MEP Director Carroll Thomas recently shared her experience on Manufacturing Day in “Weathering the Storm to Celebrate National Manufacturing Day 2015.”

In Wisconsin, we celebrate Manufacturing Day for a whole month—as do some of my fellow MEP centers in other states. Sharing all our manufacturers’ stories and opportunities takes more than just 24 hours. We do it in Wisconsin by engaging as many people as possible and holding events across the state to make sure everyone has the opportunity to learn about manufacturing and its importance to our economy. Even so, we’re just a small part of the message. Our combined efforts throughout the country are beginning to show results, but it requires all of us to keep the momentum going.

Our teams enlist people across Wisconsin to spread the manufacturing story. The Governor and his cabinet, both U.S. Senators and other elected officials, educators, students, manufacturers, and community leaders all engage and play a role in the success of Manufacturing Month. Together, we spread the word about manufacturing and its part in a growing, healthy economy.

Great people keep the message going and growing. It’s easy to energize people for a day or two, but it takes something special to keep them around for the long haul. Special people on the front line make everything possible. In Wisconsin, we have:

  • Mary Baer who filled dozens of buses with students, teachers, and parents to visit plants and share the manufacturing story.
  • Jeff Clark who continually opens the doors of his operations to share his vision and engage students in a variety of roles.
  • Mark Tyler who uses his factories and state leadership positions to champion manufacturing initiatives across the state—from manufacturing coloring books for toddlers up to numerous engagements with state organizations to support and promote manufacturing.
  • Finally, Dan Ariens who runs his family’s company and engages Brillion High School students to manufacture equipment, design improvements, and show their mentors what today’s students have to offer their elders.

People like this make all the difference in bringing manufacturing to prominence throughout the state.

The diverse events across the state communicate that message with enthusiasm and excitement. The month started at MK Machining with their team hosting Wisconsin leaders and showing their commitment to apprenticeships, internships, community engagement, and transforming operations. That opening event was followed by multiple tours, school visits, and educational events throughout the month and across the state. We explored technology changes, exports, the role of women, and many other topics showing the breadth and depth of manufacturing in the Wisconsin economy. All of this activity engaged the media and they helped us communicate manufacturing’s value.

Together, we have created significant progress with the Manufacturing Day activities across the country and it’s critical that we keep it going. All of us should continue to spread the message every day to make sure manufacturing stays in front of decision makers and community leaders. We have a bright future that more people need to understand. It’s our leadership that makes a difference and shows our communities how manufacturing drives economic growth and creates tremendous possibilities for us.

It’s great to be in manufacturing, but the progress we’ve made in promoting our industry is delicate. It requires all of us to tend the flame. All of us—working together—can build a strong future for manufacturing. After all, every day is Manufacturing Day! Learn more and save the date for 2016.

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