Jay Timmons' Remarks at Emerson (Round Rock, TX)

Remarks Prepared for Delivery
Jay Timmons, President and CEO
National Association of Manufacturers
State of Manufacturing Tour Kickoff
Emerson - Round Rock, Texas
February 22, 2017

Good afternoon. It’s an honor to be speaking here at Emerson.

This is a company defining modern manufacturing, so it’s only appropriate that its leader is the chair of the National Association of Manufacturers.

Thank you, David Farr, for your willingness to serve our industry and host us today. Your team has done an amazing job, and we’re so grateful.

I also want to recognize and thank Congressman Flores as well as Jim Nyquist, Julian Alvarez and Michael Kane. Thank you for your leadership.

Bill Rodrigues and the team from Dell EMC, we really appreciate your being here and helping us kick off our tour.

And, as always, we’re so grateful to Chris Wallace, president of the Texas Association of Business, our great partners here in Texas. Also, Tony Bennett, president and CEO of the Texas Association of Manufacturers.

Along with our friends at TAB, Tony and his team went out of their way on outreach for this event, so thank you so much.

And thank you to GM CIO Ahmed Mahmoud for hosting us later today and for your company’s continued partnership.

Finally, thanks to the representatives from Senate offices and the members of the Round Rock City Council.

***

Each year, we tour the country telling the story of modern manufacturing. This year, we launch the tour with manufacturing truly in the national spotlight.

Manufacturing has seized the American imagination. Our industry has earned the overwhelming support of the American people. Our leaders in Washington want to see us succeed. The country is rooting for us.

Manufacturing is diversifying, increasing output and bringing us transformative technologies. We are charting new frontiers and supporting new jobs. This is the state of manufacturing in America.

From revolutionary autonomous vehicles to breakthrough medical treatments…to advanced sensors developed by Emerson to improve reliability and safety…to cutting-edge software products that are part of our new industrial revolution, the future is truly being made in America—in Texas.

And yet, we still hear the nagging voices claiming that jobs in manufacturing are a thing of the past.

The truth is, manufacturing jobs are building our future.

Now, some in the Austin area may wonder what manufacturing means to them. Well, the men and women here in Emerson, at Dell, the General Motors IT Center, Samsung and 3M can tell you.

Manufacturing is evolving, and these companies prove it every day.

We’re adapting and improving. Modern manufacturing just doesn’t always look like it did when we grew up. Wait until you see this amazing place.

However—and this is important—it is true that you don’t see some of the factory towns you used to around the country. In some places, like my hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio, that is a true source of pain.

If you’re a manufacturing worker of many years, and your community’s facility had to shut down, it doesn’t matter to you that the larger industry is thriving. Your world has been turned upside down.

So there is destabilizing anxiety among men and women asking if they will ever have a place in the modern economy. Our role as manufacturing leaders is to show them that, yes, they do.

There’s been a lot of talk about “bringing jobs back.” Let’s keep talking about making the U.S. more competitive for manufacturing, but the real story is about upskilling jobs, helping workers move up the ladder in a company. It’s about upscaling jobs, making jobs pay more as technology allows them to do more. And it’s about future-proofing jobs where we equip people with the talents and flexibility they need to thrive in a modern, evolving industry.

Some of those will be high-tech jobs like those right here at Emerson and those at GM. Others will be hands-on craftsmen jobs like HELM Boots, a small manufacturer we’re visiting later today.

In short, there is a bright future for people in our industry—and we need to tell that story.

When new technology empowers us to do a job faster and better, we can’t just leave people behind. The structures should be in place for their jobs and careers to evolve just as the workplace does.

Emerson understands that—and is leading…educating many of today’s workers right here in ways to create opportunities to earn a higher wage and rise up the company ladder.

But the most critical part of the solution is getting policymaking back on track in Washington, D.C. Fortunately, the possibilities for reform look better today than at any time since I have been leading the NAM.

When it comes to our top priorities like regulatory reform, tax reform and infrastructure investment, we have a lot of common ground with the Trump administration, so it’s imperative that we use this moment in time to make progress on those fronts. Because I can tell you this: there are jobs just waiting to be created when we can get those things accomplished.

To be sure, there’s plenty of division in our nation’s capital. But to unleash American manufacturing, we must move forward together.

Because at the end of the day, this isn’t about a party or a president. The only red and blue in manufacturing is in the flag that hangs on every shop floor.

So in the coming days, we are charged up to tell people across the country about the promise our future holds. And we’re proud to launch this year’s State of Manufacturing Tour today right here in Austin, Texas.

And I am proud to stand with one of America’s great business leaders, an inspirational champion with boundless enthusiasm for manufacturing and an unshakeable belief in the men and women of the company that he leads.

Please welcome the Chairman and CEO of Emerson and the Board Chair of the National Association of Manufacturers, David Farr.

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