Monday, April 9, 2012

Ohio Manufacturing Needs A National Champion

by Gary Weldon (Staub Manufacturing Solutions)

One who knows and cares about the challenges of the small business owner who must navigate through global competition and local bureaucracy, governmental apathy and a shrinking workforce.

One who understands the importance of manufacturing to the local, state and national economy. Who sees that while the technology has changed, the need to be able to produce goods domestically is just as important today as it ever has been.

What we don't need is more of the same. Those who view manufacturing as a relic, a period in time that has passed, and feel that we have moved on to better things... like all working at Walmart or standing in an unemployment line.

Ohio Treasurer and U.S. Senate Candidate Josh Mandel spoke to the local manufacturers association in Dayton, Ohio, the DRMA, last week. For those that I spoke with ahead of his speech, expectations were low . Some didn't know who he was or even recognize his name. Others, including myself, expected a typical stump - a bright smile, a platitude, a patronizing story and a lot of hot air. For what could a young (only 34) numbers-guy politician really know about our established blue collar industry?

The room of about one hundred listened respectfully as Treas. Mandel joked about his age and told of his military and public service. It yawned when he spoke of Washington's need to tighten it's belt if the American people are having to.

The room grew more attentive, though, as Treas. Mandel condemned government efforts to vilify success and continued by saying that, "you can't be pro-jobs and anti-employer". He explained his position that agencies such as the BWC and the EPA were to only provide rails to guide, not walls to hinder. He also stated that the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers.

But when he spoke of the well being of U.S. manufacturing as not only a critical economic concern, but a national security issue, the room fell silent. He said the strength of America has been and still is the ability to make things. 


He continued, "75% of the state of Ohio does not have a college degree... and that's OK. We need folks that get their hands dirty, that make things with their hands."

Did a politician really just say that?

For too many years there has been a large chasm between the reality of manufacturing and the view of our industry from inside the halls of Congress. Few have even made the effort to give us lip service, let alone support. Meanwhile, we have continued on, enduring hardship and abandonment, while getting leaner and more productive

The time has arrived for that to change. Manufacturers here in the Dayton region and throughout Ohio are hungry for a Champion, someone to defend our way of life, our values and our livelihood. Someone who will hear the cries for help from the business owner and the worker. Someone who will not only hear, but offer effective solutions to our very real problems and challenges.

Could this fresh-faced warrior, Josh Mandel, be such a man? A manufacturing proponent, supporter, defender and advocate? Will he bravely battle the national establishment for us, our industry?

We sure could use someone like that.


  1. Posted Via LinkedIn:

    The state needs the equivalent of the incubators set up for tech (mobile app and website) start-up companies that other major cities have such as in New York City , Boston and the Silicon Valley. There’s a wealth of intellectual capital in the state coming out of the universities, but most of it is leaving the state. Students and young entrepreneurs need more access to facilities and funding to try out their ideas for small manufacturing start-ups

    1. Mike,
      Through the Edison Program, the State of Ohio supports a group of business incubators that provide an environment where companies can launch. Here in Dayton, The Entrepreneurs Center serves that roll. For more than 12 years, The Entrepreneurs Center has helped companies accelerate. In fact, we are collaborating with the Dayton Development Coalition to launch an cyber accelerator this summer.

  2. Do you really want to turn this into a political blog? I would much prefer to see it stay about manufacturing in Dayton. I get enough political propaganda through mass emails, mailings, news outlets, robo calls, and continuous fund raising from candidates that I really don’t want to see it in a manufacturing blog. This is going to be a long ugly campaign. Please don’t contribute to the noise pollution generated by the political class!

    1. Hello Anonymous,

      Thanks for expressing your opinion, we really appreciate it!

      I agree, we don't want to turn this into a political blog. However Government regulations are such a huge part of our industry that we need to report about and talk about it.

      Because of several events here in the last week we have had more than the normal amount of political articles... we realize that our readers don't want non-stop politics here, but we do want to keep everyone up to date as to what is going on in our industry.

      When Gary was working on the article he made sure not to endorse anyone. Having liked what Josh had to say, Gary was just asking the question could this be the champion manufacturing needs?

      Thanks again for your support and for sharing your opinion!

  3. I enjoyed the article very much! People in general just don't "understand" manufacturing; I think a large part of that is because so many people aren't exposed to it.

    As a small manufacturer in North East Ohio, we constantly have to innovate and improve to remain a viable, successful company.

    One example of the government affecting our business: CARB1 and CARB2 compliance. Any company making anything out of wood (particle board, MDF,etc) needs to create a paper trail, make changes to all documents, etc.

  4. Posted via LinkedIn:

    Treasurer Mandel spoke passionately about manufacturing at the recent DRMA member meeting last Thursday. We need more of that passion, whether it's in Washington or around the dinner table because manufacturing matters!

  5. Steve thanks for waving the Ohio flag. Last week Industry Week published an article on the most cost effective city to manufacture things in America. Those of us that live here know that America was built with products from Southwest Ohio.