Manufacturing Leaders Call for Action
August 10, 2012
For more information:
Jonathan Kalkwarf, vice president, finance and administration, 847-485-3007
Ashley DeVecht, director of communication, 847-485-3011 or 616-260-2785
Manufacturing Leaders Call for Action
Milwaukee, Wis.—On Wednesday the Wisconsin chapter of the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) held its 2012 Manufacturing Summit “Closing the Divide Between Jobs, Policy and Growth”. The event, which was attended by 200 members and their customers, was moderated by MSCI president and CEO Bob Weidner, III, and hosted by MSCI chapter president Joseph F. Teich, president, Wisconsin Steel & Tube Corporation. Participants included: Dan Ariens, president and CEO, the Ariens Company; William M. Hickey, president, Lapham-Hickey Steel Corp.; William J. Ring, president, Dalco Metals, Inc.; Ladd R. Hall, executive vice president, Flat Rolled Products, Nucor Corporation; and Tim Sullivan, former CEO of Bucyrus International Inc. Political candidates represented at the event were:
- Republican Senate candidate Eric Hovde
- A representative of Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson's campaign for Senate
- A representative of Congresswomen Gwen Moore (D-WI 4th)
- Republican 4th Congressional District candidate Dan Sebring
- A representative for Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI 6th)
- Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
The summit was an opportunity for national and local manufacturing leaders, policy experts, employees and political candidates to discuss the most pressing issues facing the manufacturing and metal services sectors. “Manufacturing is the bedrock of the Wisconsin economy. Our candidates and incumbents must understand that our industry's needs aren't isolated to one or two key issues,” said Wisconsin chapter president Teich. “A number of policies—including trade, regulation, taxes and work force training initiatives—should work together to make the economy and the political environment manufacturing friendly.”
Manufacturers in Wisconsin are responsible for 430,800 jobs in the state or 15.8%*. While concerns about outsourcing and moving jobs overseas has dominated the news, manufacturing is actually one of the bright spots of the current economy. Manufacturing accounts for 11.7% of the U.S. GDP, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. However, significant challenges remain, including the rising cost of health care and the increasing costs the federal government has imposed on businesses.
While questions for the panel centered around MSCI’s policy agenda, which includes positions on energy, trade, tax and regulation, panelists highlighted the importance of strong leadership and decisive action to support the growth we’re beginning to see in the manufacturing industry.
“The incentives in Washington are designed around inaction: incentives built so politicians work against each other, not for us,” said Ariens.
Sullivan added, “In the private sector, you get fired for not taking action. In the public sector, if you take action, you get crucified.”
Later in the discussion, Ring noted, “The question is not whether to address the deficit. We have to—the question is: do you want to take care of it quickly, or take care of it over time?”
Wednesday’s summit was just one of 11 being held across the country this year. Other host cities include: Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Rochester and Los Angeles. MSCI hosts these events every election cycle, following an initial set of town hall meetings in 2004 and 2005. The program was expanded this year to more forcefully address the continued economic uncertainty many manufacturers and American industries face and to provide the leadership necessary to find workable solutions.
“This year is a critical election year. Before they tune in for the presidential candidate debates, we wanted to give our members and their communities a chance to learn more about the concerns of our industry and to understand where their local candidates stand on addressing those issues,” said Bob Weidner, president of the national Metals Service Center Institute. “As a nonpartisan organization, it’s our duty to inform our membership, state and federal representatives and the media about our industry and provide them with the tools to solve the challenges facing it. There are real issues facing the manufacturing sector, which will have real costs for employers and employees alike. Today’s discussion was frank, open and insightful. I hope it will lead to concrete, practical action from main street to the halls of Congress.”
Founded in 1909, the Metals Service Center Institute, based in Rolling Meadows, Ill., has nearly 400 members operating from more than 1,500 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico and throughout the world. Together MSCI members constitute the largest single group of metals purchasers in North America, amounting each year to more than 55 million tons of steel, aluminum and other metals, with about 300,000 manufacturers and fabricators as customers. MSCI’s membership also includes almost all ferrous and non-ferrous industrial metals producers in North America. Service centers inventory, process and distribute metals to manufacturing intermediaries and original equipment manufacturers.
For more information, visit www.MSCI.org. “Like” us on Facebook at Metals Service Center Institute, follow us on Twitter @MSCITweets, and connect with us on LinkedIn at Metals Service Center Institute.
*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis