The AMBA Michigan Delegation and the Southeast
Delegation taking a break from Congressional
meetings at the capitol building in
Washington DC on September 30, 2010.
The Fall Conference of the American Mold Builders Association held in Washington, D.C., resulted in 49 meetings with Senators and Congress persons. There were five teams: Illinois Delegation, Michigan Delegation, Minnesota/Wisconsin Delegation, the Southeast Delegation and the USA Delegation (non-chapter members). Each team met with either the Senator/Congress person or their selected legislative aides.
AMBA members and Partners provided a packet of information about the AMBA, its members, and the major issues that impact our businesses, our industry, and U.S. manufacturing as a whole. Mike Armbrust, President of the AMBA, said, "In comparison to last year, I am very pleased with the exposure manufacturing has in Washington. In particular, the Illinois representatives appear to recognize the importance of the manufacturing base in our state. We have a lot of work still to do, but policy is reflecting an emphasis towards small business and manufacturing in particular."
Everyone who attended the Fall Conference seemed to come away with the impression that suddenly Washington, D.C. is taking a greater interest in manufacturing. Mike Walter, general manager for MET Plastics, a molder and mold manufacturer in Elk Grove Village, IL, said that his team "had a really positive experience." He noted that he personally felt "more upbeat coming out of these meetings this year than last year." The people that the Illinois delegation met with were responsive in getting back to them with answers to some questions they posed about legislation and where their Senators/Representatives stood. "And they were fairly lengthy answers," Walter noted. "Last year we were the unwanted industry - this year they seemed genuinely interested in us."
Every morning the two Illinois Senators invite their constituents to have coffee with them, so on Thursday the Illinois delegation participated in that event. There were about 50 people in the room, many of them educators, so Walter said he took advantage of that when he got the opportunity to make a comment. "I directed my comments to the educators in the room, and noted how our industry has a lack of skilled workers, and the fact that we need better educated and more highly-skilled people," said Walter. "That gave Sen. Durbin the opportunity to comment on how manufacturing can create jobs. I told them that we know jobs are high on their list of priorities and we have solutions for you. It was good." .
The Minnesota/Wisconsin team also had an opportunity to meet with Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) for "morning porridge" - a wild rice concoction for which Minnesota is famous. Justin McPhee, vp of engineering for Mold Craft Inc. in Willernie, MN, said the porridge was actually "really good" and the event quite humorous. About 60 of his constituents were in attendance.
The first order of business was to set down his coffee cup and "take care of business and he goes into his bathroom, came back in a few minutes and stood on his desk to give a speech," McPhee related. "He talked about his support for manufacturing, but his voting doesn't reflect that. It was good to hear that he said he supports manufacturing but it would be better if he actually voted that way. He's against extending the Bush tax cuts because the government needs the revenue to bring down the deficit."
Like Mike Walter, Justin McPhee felt overall greater interest from Senators and Representatives. "This time I definitely sensed more piqued interest," he said. "They really wanted to hear what our problems were, and they listened to us. They seemed to be a lot more receptive to us this year than last."
View the one-page summary of issues that AMBA members spoke to their Congresspersons about.
U.S. Manufacturing & the Global Economy
Participating in the global economy while making every effort to strengthen and maintain our manufacturing base in the U.S. requires a unique balancing act. AMBA is committed to helping its member companies find optimum ways to succeed in business and be competitive in the global market place.
We believe that the key to our success as an industry - and as individual member companies - is implementing sound business practices, strategic marketing planning and sales, and continued dedication to providing excellent customer service and the highest-quality products - all critical to sustaining a strong manufacturing base in the U.S.
New Trade Policy Needed to Restore Health of U.S. Manufacturing
Domestic manufacturing is mired in the midst of a crisis unprecedented since the Great Depression. Deeply flawed U.S. trade policy is the single most important root cause of the illness, undermining U.S. manufacturing competitiveness on a global basis.
Absent a rational U.S. trade policy, U.S. manufacturing should be experiencing the best of times. Consider the following. Since 1950, U.S. Gross Domestic Production (GDP) has grown 550 percent in inflation-adjusted terms while the U.S. population has doubled from.....(read more).
State of the Industry & Business Conditions
As the voice of the American mold building industry, AMBA keeps current on industry conditions, specifically through our quarterly Business Forecast Surveys that help us keep our finger on the pulse of mold manufacturing. This survey also provides information to industry trade publications and other interested parties who look to the AMBA for industry statistics. This valuable information provides a picture of the state of the industry, its challenges as well as its successes and increased productivity through the implementation of technology and lean manufacturing techniques.
Write to Your Elected Officials
Identify and contact your elected government officials (federal & local) quickly and easy via email at http://www.congress.org/. This website is a "one-stop-shop" where one can identify their Congressional representatives; research Congressional voting records; learn about the issues of the day; and send e-mail directly to Congress. Constituents can even opt to have their e-mail message hand-delivered to their Representative or Senator's office on Capitol Hill - all without ever leaving their computer.