Business Operations

Business Operations

Range Resources Gives Back With Butterfly Enhancement Project

“Habitat enhancement provides something the public can see and benefit from.”

Natural gas producer Range Resources aims to better the environment with its new, unique habitat enhancement commitment. On land that once hosted sites related to natural gas development, Range Resources’ Habitat Enhancement program is working to help animal pollinators in southwestern Pennsylvania like Monarch butterflies and honey bees by covering final reclamation sites with plants that are essential for them to thrive.

“We try to be good stewards in our community by supporting projects like these,” said Jeremy Matinko, Range’s Environmental Compliance Manager. “Habitat enhancement provides something the public can see and benefit from.”

After surface operations have ended at a site, Pennsylvania regulations require the site to be restored to its original state. Range has pledged to exceed those expectations in post-drilling restoration, creating habitats that are more hospitable to wildlife than the previous environment. This project has involved planting thousands of Milkweed seeds, a plant that is vital to the survival of monarch butterflies because it provides a food source for caterpillars, and a seed mix that includes grass and wild flowers that support honey bees and other helpful insects. Beyond bringing pollinators back to southwestern Pennsylvania, the company is also creating aquatic features that can become homes for reptiles, amphibians and waterfowl.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce, but as a result of climate change and human living practices, the habitats of these pollinators have been on the decline. Range Resources’ project aims to reverse that trend. Already, the impact of the program can be seen through the growth of a variety of pollinator plant species and the presence of butterflies, bees and other pollinators across these sites. And while Range Resources is currently implementing the program only on final reclamation sites, it hopes to expand their efforts to include post-drilling restoration.

“Manufacturers across the country are taking proactive and creative steps to improve the environment and enhance their communities,” said National Association of Manufacturers Director of Energy and Resources Policy Laura Berkey-Ames. “The work that Range Resources is doing to build and improve natural habitats in Pennsylvania is an exciting part of that effort. We’re looking forward to seeing continued results as this project grows.”

Press Releases

NAM Announces Winners of “Best Manufacturing Associations to Work For” Awards

Ten Associations to Be Honored at Council of Manufacturing Associations’ August Conference

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers’ Council of Manufacturing Associations has announced that 10 trade associations will be recognized with the “Best Manufacturing Associations to Work For” Awards. Winners will be honored at the CMA’s 2019 Summer Leadership Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, this August.

The 10 associations are as follows:
• National Association of Chemical Distributors
• PMMI: The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies
• Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
• Plastics Industry Association
• Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International
• Irrigation Association
• The Fertilizer Institute
• Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
• American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
• Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Congratulations to these stellar organizations. They are setting a high standard for the entire business advocacy community. And they have demonstrated a commitment to building inclusive, engaging workplaces—something that manufacturers strive to do across the country, said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. Through the CMA, the NAM is helping manufacturing associations cultivate the environments that empower all of us to succeed in our work on behalf of the men and women who make things in America.

It is exciting to see these associations named to this list—some for the second year in a row, said CMA Executive Director Tonya Muse. I am happy the CMA can play a role in recognizing the amazing and creative things manufacturing associations are doing to recruit and retain top talent.

The CMA has partnered with Best Companies Group, an independent research firm specializing in identifying great places to work, in order to highlight manufacturing associations that go above and beyond for their employees. In addition to getting highlighted by the CMA, the award offers significant organizational benefits, including heightened company pride, improved employee morale and retention and public relations and marketing advantages. Each organization will also receive an anonymous feedback report to help identify and analyze new opportunities to improve their workplace.

The CMA is made up of more than 260 manufacturing trade associations that work together on behalf of manufacturing in the United States. Through their membership, the NAM provides knowledge, resources and a great network to help these association CEOs create a stronger and more prosperous manufacturing sector.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Press Releases

Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program Honors 2019 Top Industry Innovators

Smart Manufacturing Icon Jim Davis, IBM’s Ron Castro, Merck, LION-Vallen Industries Honored with Top Awards

Huntington Beach, CA – At the 15th Annual Manufacturing Leadership Awards Gala, the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Council recognized the winners of the 2019 ML Awards for their outstanding manufacturing achievements.

The program’s distinguished panel of expert judges honored Ron Castro, IBM’s supply chain vice president and chief supply chain officer, as the Manufacturing Leader of the Year for his successful, comprehensive efforts to drive the adoption of Manufacturing 4.0 technologies across IBM and its supplier ecosystem and build the world’s first cognitive supply chain.

Merck & Co, Inc. was selected as Manufacturer of the Year in the Large Enterprise category. The ML Awards judging panel selected Merck for this prestigious award in recognition of its transformation to a Manufacturing 4.0 leader. Judges specifically cited Merck’s multiyear push to broadly embrace additive manufacturing technologies and its successful use of drone technology to deliver much-needed medicines to disaster-affected areas.

LION-Vallen Industries was named Manufacturer of the Year in the Small/Medium Enterprise category. LION-Vallen Industries is a maker of personal protective equipment for first responders and war fighters. The ML Awards judging panel recognized the company’s success in transforming its supply chain performance while investing in upgrades to its workforce and leadership capabilities to become dramatically more competitive.

The top winners of the 2019 Manufacturing Leadership Awards are stellar examples of the ways modern manufacturers are driving innovation, and they demonstrate the power of adopting Manufacturing 4.0 technologies, said MLC Co-Founder David Brousell. I congratulate these manufacturers and the leadership teams that made their achievements possible.

Also honored at the ML Awards Gala was Jim Davis, vice provost of information technology and chief academic technology officer at UCLA and the principal investigator and principal CIO adviser at the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The MLC’s Board of Governors recognized Davis for his 45-year career advancing technology-based engineering research and application, including his pioneering work defining and advocating the concept of smart manufacturing.

Nine recipients of ML High Achiever Awards were also announced. The High Achiever Awards are presented to a select group of ML Award–winning projects. These ML Award winners received the most votes from the judges in each of the nine ML Award project categories.

High Achiever Award Winners:
• Cisco Systems, Inc. in the Artificial Intelligence and Analytics Leadership category for its Fully Connected Customer Experience Project
• Samtec, Inc. in the Collaborative Innovation Leadership category for its Electronic Component Configurator with Instant Digital Samples Project
• IBM Corp. in the Engineering and Production Technology Leadership category for its Systems Hardware Design for Excellence Process Project
• Lockheed Martin in the Enterprise Integration Technology Leadership category for its shop floor management of the company’s Smart Digital Factory Project
• Kamco Industries, a subsidiary of Kumi Kasei, in the Industrial Internet of Things Leadership category for its Operations Automation Project
• Starkey Hearing Technologies in the Operational Excellence Leadership category for its Customer Experience Mapping and Improvement Project
• Merck & Co., Inc. in the Supply Chain Leadership category for Project Ivan: Drone Delivery Initiative
• Oracle in the Sustainability Leadership category for its Take-Back Sustainability Program
• The Raymond Corp. in the Talent Management Leadership category for its Virtual Reality Simulator Project

Winners of the ML Partner Awards were also recognized. These technology providers played key roles in helping many ML Award winners achieve outstanding performance.

ML Partner Award Winners:
Predictronics, CADENAS PARTsolutions, FORCAM, Infor, Plex Systems, Oracle, Epicor Software Corporation, Tata Consultancy Services and Dassault Systèmes.

-MLC/NAM-

Founded in 2008, and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With more than 1,500 senior-level members from many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, the MLC focuses on the intersection of advanced digital technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Workforce

Heroes MAKE America Student Goes from the Army to Mars

An Army veteran's skills translate seamlessly in the manufacturing industry.

Thomas Schlieper participates in a Heroes MAKE America tour.
Thomas Schlieper, third from left, participates in a Heroes MAKE America facility tour.

As a production scheduler for Mars, Incorporated, Thomas Schlieper has a hand in sending sweet treats all over the world.

In some ways, it’s very different from his former career. As a teenager, Schlieper joined the Army National Guard because it offered benefits like tuition assistance and scholarships that would help him go to college. When he finished school, he worked in his hometown and eventually decided to go into active service in the U.S. Army. That career spanned two decades and helped lead him to the manufacturing job he enjoys today.

While Schlieper served as an Army senior supply specialist, he enrolled in the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program, which aims to connect manufacturers with highly qualified candidates and offer transitioning service members manufacturing-related training and support, thus creating a pipeline between the military and manufacturing. Through this U.S. Department of Defense-approved program, he toured the Mars production facility in Topeka, Kansas. Mars recognized his logistics experience and offered him a production scheduler position, which he accepted in February 2019.

“I served 20 years as a logistics guy,” he said. “Ordering supplies, making sure soldiers in the Army had what they needed. The leadership skills I learned in the Army helped me adapt to this new role.”

Schlieper recalls the stress he felt during his first day on the job at Mars, when he wondered whether he was up to the challenges of his new role—and the moment when it all clicked.

“My first couple days there, after I did the orientation, I was overwhelmed,” he said. “I thought, am I getting over my head? I was just a soldier, and now I’m something different.”

He was shadowing another employee when he suddenly realized that the system he would be using as a production scheduler at Mars was exactly the same system he used every day when ordering supplies and managing logistics in the Army.

“I looked at the system, and I was totally relieved,” said Schlieper. “All that stress went away, and I was like, I know this. I can do this.”

Today, Schlieper is deeply immersed in his new industry. He feels it’s a good fit for former members of the military, who will have an easier learning curve as a result of their training.

“Before I retired, some people I knew thought manufacturing jobs were jobs nobody wanted,” he says. “But that’s really not the case. It’s completely different. It’s a whole new world.”

Learn more about the Manufacturing Institute’s Heroes MAKE America program.

Workforce

Job Growth Sluggish in May, Highlighting Need for Certainty

The U.S. economy created just 75,000 new jobs in May, with a sluggish 3,000 manufacturing jobs created for the month.

U.S. manufacturers have experienced record growth over the past couple years, but certainty on a wide portfolio of issues, from infrastructure to trade, will be critical to keep that growth sustained throughout 2019. For policymakers in Washington, the May jobs reported should make that clear.

According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs data, the U.S. economy created just 75,000 new jobs in May, with a sluggish 3,000 manufacturing jobs created for the month.

“Manufacturing employment has been more sluggish than desired for four straight months, coinciding with weaker demand and production activity and lagging behind the robust pace we experienced last year,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said. “Indeed, manufacturers created 264,000 net new jobs in 2018, the best pace of employment growth in the sector since 1997. Yet, the sector has added only 13,000 employees since February. For those numbers to pick back up, our leaders in Washington must recommit to tackling the issues currently creating uncertainty for businesses and focus on policies aimed at sustaining the vigorous growth the industry saw last year.”

Employment has not been the only indicator that’s lagged behind. Earlier this week, the Institute for Supply Management® said manufacturing activity in May expanded at its slowest pace since October 2016; whereas the competing survey from IHS Markit reflected growth that was the weakest pace in nearly a decade. In addition, manufacturing production has fallen in three of the past four months.

“Manufacturers need certainty,” Moutray said. “Things like ratifying the USMCA, securing a bilateral trade agreement with China, passing a long-term reauthorization of the Ex-Im Bank and enacting a bipartisan agreement to update our nation’s infrastructure are immediate steps policymakers can take that would greatly benefit the industry long into the future.”

Another factor holding back manufacturing growth is the looming workforce crisis—a challenge which continues to be the top concern for business leaders, especially in a tight labor market. The number of job openings in the sector has remained highly elevated, averaging about a half million per month over the past 12 months.

“At the end of the day, despite lower levels of industry growth, manufacturers are still creating far more open jobs than workers ready to fill them,” Moutray said. “That’s putting a damper on job creation as well.” Overall, the labor market remains tight, with the unemployment rate remaining 3.6 percent, the lowest since December 1969.

The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s education and workforce partner, is the leading industry authority on workforce development and recognizes the need to grow the qualified manufacturing workforce and close the skills gap. It has a range of programs and initiatives designed to do just that.

“The future of this industry and our economy at large are both tied to the future of the manufacturing workforce,” said Carolyn Lee, Manufacturing Institute executive director. “It’s just one more reason why we at the Institute work so hard every day to support the manufacturing workforce of today and grow the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.”

Business Operations

PepsiCo Invests in School Recycling Programs

Participating schools have collected more than 320 million plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

Children at a school hold up "Please Recycle" t-shirts at a PepsiCo Recycle Rally event.

With more than 100,000 employees in the U.S., PepsiCo makes an impact through sustainability initiatives that reach far beyond the brand’s products. Through its Recycle Rally program, PepsiCo offers more than 250 free online resources to students, faculty and school staff members across the country with the goal of increasing recycling rates at schools. Via those resources, Recycle Rally helps schools set recycling goals, track progress toward those goals, earn rewards and compete in contests for cash prizes.

Nearly 6,000 schools have participated in Recycle Rally over the past nine years, collecting more than 320 million plastic bottles and aluminum cans. In 2018, PepsiCo began open-sourcing all of their Recycle Rally resources to the general public which has enabled local communities to take advantage of the Recycle Rally tools, including how to start a green team and host a recycling collection drive. And by encouraging recycling, parents of children in the Recycle Rally program reported not only bringing their containers to the school drop off-site, but also increasing recycling of other materials in their homes.

PepsiCo hasn’t stopped there. In 2018, PepsiCo made a $10 million investment in The Recycling Partnership (TRP) to launch “All In On Recycling,” an industry-wide challenge to raise $25 million to improve recycling for 25 million families. By providing curbside carts to single-family homes, creating infrastructure to collect recyclables from multi-family housing and offering recycling education and operations, PepsiCo’s investment helps to simplify recycling and create stronger, cleaner communities. In Iowa City, for example, PepsiCo’s TRP investment will support the delivery of recycling carts to every household served by their recycling program—expanding curbside recycling to 16,000 households—along with a customized public education campaign designed to help residents recycle better.

“Recycling is an essential part of PepsiCo’s long-term approach to sustainable packaging for our food and beverage products,” said David Lapp, PepsiCo Beverages North America chief supply chain officer. “We work to support recycling wherever we do business, and as a U.S.-based company with significant operations, sales and local presence in cities and towns across the country, we have a special responsibility to do our part for U.S. recycling.”

As part of PepsiCo’s sustainability agenda, the company aims to build a world where plastics never need to become waste. In less than a decade, PepsiCo’s recycling efforts—through partnerships, pilots, large-scale programs and packaging innovation—have helped recycle more than 425 million bottles and cans.

“Sustainability is a real priority for the manufacturing industry as a whole,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, the National Association of Manufacturers’ director of energy and resources policy. “Companies like PepsiCo are doing outstanding work and making critical progress that should serve as an example for other industries looking to be proactive on the issue.”

News

Bosch Pledges Carbon Neutrality by 2020

Bosch intends to achieve its carbon neutral goal through a four-pronged approach.

Two Bosch manufacturing workers look at a powercell.

Since Bosch first established a presence in North America in 1906, the company has been a manufacturing leader in the United States. With 410,000 employees worldwide—and 35,400 in North America—Bosch is keenly aware of their global impact and responsibility. Today, it’s leading on climate action and setting an aggressive target for a bold new initiative: On May 9, Bosch announced that the company will be carbon neutral by 2020.

“Climate action needs to be seen not just as a long-term aspiration—it needs to happen here and now,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “As an innovation leader, we want to deliver technological solutions to ecological problems.”

As one of the largest privately-held companies and automotive suppliers in the world, Bosch is well-positioned to make an impact, both through its actions and as a model to other companies. With 400 locations across the globe, Bosch intends to achieve its carbon neutral goal through a four-pronged approach: increasing energy efficiency, expanding proportion of renewables, buying more green power and offsetting carbon emissions. By reaching this goal, Bosch will prevent 3.3 million tons of carbon emissions by 2020—and will be the first major industrial company to reach the carbon-neutral benchmark.

“Our commitment to reducing carbon emissions and climate action is not guided by short-term financial considerations,” said Prof. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, CFO and deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management, “but takes a much longer-term view.”

As an engineering company, Bosch sees its work in terms of long-range objectives and seeks to understand how even small changes, taken together, can have a significant effect over time. This focus on long-range planning makes it easier to weather fluctuations in the economy and day-to-day business challenges with an eye on achieving larger objectives.

Bosch’s work uses tools that include low pollutant power train technology and artificial intelligence that predictively controls exhaust gas treatment. While most Americans are aware of Bosch through its leadership in consumer goods—from dishwashers to power tools—the company is also a force in sectors like mobility solutions, building technology and industrial equipment. And it is implementing a sustainable model across the board.

“Companies across the manufacturing sector are taking proactive steps to reduce emissions, improve the environment and address climate change,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, National Association of Manufacturers’ director of energy and resources policy. “Bosch’s work is an exciting part of that effort and will help inspire companies in other industries to do their part.”

Workforce

Report: Automation Offers Manufacturing Opportunities

New report suggests automation may have a significant positive impact for people interested in the manufacturing industry.

A new report from The Manufacturing Institute – the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers – and PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that increased automation in manufacturing may come with significant opportunities for workers in the industry.

The report – “Navigating the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the Bottom Line” – examines the ways that systemic changes are impacting the manufacturing industry, from the expansion of robotics to an increased interest in developing connected products. While manufacturers recognize the potential value of advanced technologies – including robotics, the Industrial Internet of Things, cloud computing, advanced analytics, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality – the prospect of integrating these new innovations with existing processes has raised questions.

The new report suggests automation may have a significant positive impact for people interested in the manufacturing industry – an increased need for talent to manage in a more automated, flexible production environment and new jobs for workers who can engineer robotics and their operating systems, to name a few opportunities. Rather than taking jobs away from workers, the report’s survey finds that most manufacturers see automation as reinforcing the need for distinctly human abilities.

“This technological shift is moving manufacturers rapidly toward jobs that require irreplaceable human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking, design, innovation, engineering and finance,” said Chad Moutray, Director of The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research. “Machines need workers to program, operate and maintain them, and today automation often works alongside workers, especially in the performance of monotonous tasks, which helps free workers to shift their focus to more interesting ones.”

Some of that work will come from existing employees. In fact, the report suggests that most manufacturers are planning to upskill and reskill their current employees on using and managing new technologies. In addition, manufacturers see a need to expand their workforce to include new employees – in part, by identifying and recruiting talented science, technology, engineering, and mathematics students, and by providing outside training at community colleges and through technology vendors in order to prepare potential new workers for roles in modern manufacturing.

“According to the World Economic Forum, we could create 133 million jobs by 2022 if workers are given significant reskilling and the next generation of workers is trained properly,” said Moutray. “Technological change can be a plus for manufacturing workers if we undertake the right approach now.”

All told, about 70 percent of manufacturers say the biggest impact of robotics on the workforce over the next five years will be the increased need for talent to manage in a more automated environment, and for new workers fill important jobs. The Manufacturing Institute has become the leading industry voice in Washington calling for workforce and education policies that bridge the skills gap, and it has a number of programs aimed toward supporting the manufacturing workforce of today and growing the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.

“Technology isn’t a threat – technology is an enabler,” said Moutray. “It’s actually helping us do our jobs, helping us get to where we need to go, and then enabling that next generation.”

Business Operations

Cooley Group’s Dan Dwight Joins the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s Board of Governors

Washington, D.C. – The Manufacturing Leadership Council, a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, has announced the election of Dan Dwight, president, CEO and director of Cooley Group, to the MLC’s Board of Governors. The MLC’s mission is to help senior manufacturing executives and emerging leaders define and shape a better future for themselves, their organizations and the industry at large by focusing on the intersection of critical business and technology issues that will drive growth today and in the future.

The MLC Board approved Dwight’s nomination in a unanimous vote. With his appointment, the MLC Board of Governors consists of 21 industry thought leaders who represent the full ecosystem of the manufacturing industry. As an advisory body, the MLC Board of Governors provides guidance to the MLC on its “Critical Issues” agenda, research studies and programs and services for the MLC membership.

“I am delighted to welcome Dan to the Board,” said John Fleming, chairman of the MLC Board of Governors. “He has truly established himself as a thought leader who is implementing Manufacturing 4.0. into his business. His hands-on experience will add to the value of the MLC for all of our members.”

“For the past four years, I experienced the value the Council brings to its constituent members by connecting global manufacturers with industry experts who share global best practices and the latest in academic research,” said Dwight. “Joining the Council as a board member is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with other executives and academic leaders in setting the Council’s strategic and operational objectives around Manufacturing 4.0 and beyond.”

Since his appointment as president, CEO and director of Cooley Group in 2011, Dwight successfully repositioned the 90-year-old company around three pillars of sustainable growth (economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility) while improving the health, well-being, engagement and ultimately the capacity for innovation of the entire Cooley team. Under his leadership, Cooley has sustained revenue and profitability growth for seven consecutive years. During this time, Cooley generated more than 40 percent of its revenue from new products, won PBN Awards, including “Healthiest Employer of Rhode Island” and “Product Innovation & Design,” and cultivated collaborative partnerships such that more than 70 percent of Cooley’s revenue is managed under long-term customer supply agreements.

The Manufacturing Leadership Board of Governors comprises senior executives and industry experts at leading manufacturing, academic and research organizations around the world, including Lockheed Martin, Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Company, Dow Chemical, Merck, Cisco Systems, IBM, Germany’s SmartFactory Technology Initiative, Lexmark International, Protolabs, Premio Foods, Virtex Enterprises, S&S Hinge, Graphicast, MIT, UCLA, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing in the UK, the U.S. National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and consultants Frost & Sullivan. For more information and MLC membership details, visit www.manufacturingleadershipcouncil.com.

-MLC/NAM-

Founded in 2008, and now a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Leadership Council’s mission is to inspire and support manufacturing executives to achieve transformational growth for themselves, their companies and the industry at large through enlightened leadership. With more than 1,500 senior-level members from many of the world’s leading manufacturing companies, the MLC focuses on the intersection of advanced digital technologies and the business, identifying growth and improvement opportunities in the operation, organization and leadership of manufacturing enterprises as they pursue their journeys to Manufacturing 4.0.

The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.35 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than two-thirds of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

733 10th St. NW, Suite 700 • Washington, DC 20001 • (202) 637-3000

Workforce

STEP Emerging Leader Makes Manufacturing Real

“I usually talk about sitting at a desk all day...in manufacturing, you almost never do that.”

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Christine George and Laura Mahany at the 2019 STEP Awards

Laura Mahany doesn’t just serve as a plant manager at Air Liquide. She’s also mentoring women within the organization and recruiting top engineers to increase female presence in manufacturing.

“I usually talk about sitting at a desk all day,” she says. “In manufacturing, you almost never do that.”

When she speaks to other young women on college campuses, she stresses the collaborative environments that manufacturing offers and the opportunities to interact with operators and technicians thatmake her work more interesting and engaging. From these conversations, she’s learned sustainability is an important issue for young people, who have become more vocal about being part of a grand environmental solution. And she has found that one of the biggest challenges for recruiting new manufacturers is simply a lack of visibility.

“When you talk to a child, they always know what a doctor does or a teacher does because they interact with those people,” Laura says. “But it’s not very often that they get to interact with engineers or visit a manufacturing plant.”

While in college, Laura provided some of those interactions herself as a mentor to underprivileged kids learning math and science. Each session involved experiments centered around different subjects and activities, from building roller coasters to making ice cream to using liquid nitrogen. By changing different elements of the experiments and studying how changes affect outcomes, Laura helped drive home scientific concepts – and gave kids a real-life example of what manufacturers do.

“Manufacturing is just a big word to them,” she says. “We need to make it real.”

Laura has learned firsthand how real manufacturing challenges can be. In 2017, she was tasked with preserving operations at her plant in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, and although she and her team evacuated during the hurricane itself, they returned to a scene that she calls “something out of a zombie apocalypse.” Because her plant was critical to the safety of the community – it produced nitrogen, which other industries use to prevent the release of dangerous chemicals – she had to restore operations quickly, even before the local government had given the all-clear for residents to return.

“We had to collaborate with other industries to get what we needed, like cooling water and electricity,” she says. “Luckily, I had good relationships with people at other companies – it really made such cooperation possible.”

Laura credits college internships with convincing her that she was destined for a career in manufacturing. Although she had always had an aptitude for math and science – as a child, she took part in academic competitions to improve her skills – a college program for women in engineering made the larger engineering program feel more approachable and drew her into more applied opportunities.

“I realized I liked the more hands-on work of manufacturing – the direct interaction with the meat of a business,” Laura says. “I liked how every day was different, fast paced, challenging.”

Laura Mahany won a 2019 Manufacturing Institute STEP Ahead Emerging Leader Award. This profile was adapted from an original interview for the Input, the NAM’s members-only e-newsletter

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