NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons concluded week one of the Competing to Win Tour in Europe by visiting a Polish school supported by UPS as well as a Pratt & Whitney facility, where he reflected on the role of manufacturing in protecting democracy.
The school: Timmons visited the elementary school in Lipa, Poland, which has been supported by UPS and served as a safe haven for Ukrainian refugee children at the start of the war.
- During his visit, Timmons discussed the needs of the children and met with the students and teachers in the town, which is near the Ukrainian border.
- He also met with an administrator from a sister school on the Ukrainian side of the border to discuss how the children there are faring.
“Arsenal of Democracy”: In addition, Timmons visited the Pratt & Whitney manufacturing campus in Rzeszów, which employs 5,000 workers and manufactures commercial and defense equipment.
- Timmons not only got a firsthand look at a company that is reinforcing the U.S.–EU commercial relationship, but also learned about the company’s response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, which includes team members providing housing, aid and volunteer hours.
Visiting Auschwitz: Timmons visited the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Saturday and saw the horrific evidence of the atrocities committed at the site, where more than 1.1 million people perished.
- Following the visit, he warned against the dangers of authoritarianism and the importance of standing up for democracy and common values of respect and decency. He also noted, as highlighted during the Auschwitz-Birkenau tour, that businesses acquiesced or participated in mechanisms that advanced the aims of the Axis powers.
- Timmons emphasized manufacturing’s power to improve lives and protect freedom for people around the world. However, he also noted the dangers of command-and-control governments dictating the industry’s aims, citing the Holocaust and World War II as examples of how manufacturing can be used as a malevolent force.
The last word: “The American business community has an obligation to stand up for our democratic system and to hold our leaders responsible for their actions—and their rhetoric,” said Timmons.
- “Manufacturers in America, in particular, are a force for good. But we must never let our guard down or take our democracy for granted, no matter how difficult it may be to uphold what is right in the United States and around the world.”
Next up: The tour continues this week, with Timmons visiting high-level government and industry leaders in London, Brussels and Paris.