Note from the Chairman

Dawn of a new day for manufacturing

by Steve Macias
November 24, 2015

While observing recent national politics, one cannot be faulted for pondering the old Elvis Costello line “Oh, I used to be disgusted, and now I try to be amused.”

Fortunately, we are in Arizona, so a more apropos song for today could be Coldplay’s anthem, “A Sky Full of Stars,” which is a far cry from the beginning of the tumultuous economic period in place when I took the reins of the Arizona Manufacturers Council chairmanship seven years ago. However, in retrospect, the past several years have turned out to be a fortuitous time to focus on manufacturing and growing the Arizona economy.

As the state was seeking ways to climb out of the economic cliff we had fallen off, the AMC was looking to reestablish manufacturing in our government’s frontal lobes as a pillar of the economy, not an afterthought.

Beginning in 2010 with Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona State Legislature trying to fill a massive deficit in the state budget, manufacturing came to be looked upon as a solution to help move the Arizona economy forward, and the AMC and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry were sought after for guidance in achieving that goal.

Working closely with the Governor’s office and the then newly formed Arizona Commerce Authority, the AMC made great strides in achieving policy that has helped existing manufacturers thrive and attracted new business into the state. Now Governor Doug Ducey has taken the Little Deuce Coupe (I’m rolling with music analogies) and dropped a supercharger into the economic engine and we are seeing an even higher level of business attraction. Combine that with the renewed focus and leadership on the part of our federal delegation and we are in exciting economic development times.

Arizona is well on the road to understanding the importance of our aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries and how they can be leveraged and utilized as the cornerstones upon which to continue building our manufacturing base.

So what happens when governments, business, and the community work together? Results like the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area south of downtown Phoenix. My company is located in the area and back in 2000 when we started in business, the river bottom was full of mattresses, abandoned cars, tires and other junk. Yet, a few Saturday mornings ago, I was jogging along through the Restoration Area and was joined by hawks, burrowing owls, lizards, a coyote, quail, joggers, bicyclists, walkers and a running stream, a far cry from the wasteland it used to be and a testament to working together.

Now that I am moving on to other Arizona Chamber duties (along with running Pivot Manufacturing), who will help lead the Arizona Manufacturers Council and Arizona manufacturing into the next stage of habitat restoration? None other than Dawn Grove, corporate counsel for Karsten Manufacturing, which is the parent company of PING, the makers of world famous Ping golf equipment. Dawn is as committed to manufacturing as anyone I have ever met and she will be the ideal chair for the AMC.

Dawn’s family has invested in Arizona since Karsten  Manufacturing began in 1959. She works for one of the premier manufacturing companies in Arizona that has a global reputation for excellence. Her devotion to the community and her family is unchallenged and I look forward to working with her as she moves the AMC forward and helps makes Arizona a great place to manufacture.

By the time she is done, dare I say we’ll have a whole bunch of Shiny Happy People!

Steve Macias is the president of Pivot Manufacturing and the immediate past chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council

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Made In Arizona

Arizona Manufacturers Council Reloaded

by Steve Macias
September 8, 2015

As football season is upon us, it is often said that schools like Alabama and Oregon don’t rebuild, they just reload, and so it is with the Arizona Manufacturing Council (except without the chrome helmets).

As we plan forward for the 2016 legislative session, there are many issues to address for manufacturing and our economy and the AMC is poised and ready to help the state move forward and stay on track with our economic recovery.

Governor Doug Ducey has been a whirling dervish of engagement and promotion since he hit the ground running in January and his activity on a state, regional, national, and international level is already starting to pay dividends as companies take notice that Arizona is open for business.  The Governor’s ability to put together a coalition in pursuit of a goal is a valued skill that will serve the state well in our quest for quality jobs and economic development, and the AMC is ready to help.

But looming large is the funding issue of Career and Technical Education (CTE) as well as the Joint Technical Education Districts (JTEDs).   The recent economic downturn resulted in some tough funding decisions throughout the state budget, but the cutbacks in these programs will cause a time bomb of unprepared workers moving into the economy at the exact period when it is imperative to have those skills and those workers available.  If Arizona is to expand the technical and manufacturing sector, young people coming from the JTEDs and with CTE training will be critical for that expansion.

However, counter to that expansion and what appears to be the new trend, federal agencies such as the EPA and the NLRB continue to throw sand into the gears of economic expansion, and that is another front the AMC looks to address.  It is now to the point that I tell my youngest son not to splash water out of the bath for fear the EPA will determine my house a critical waterway.  Our three boys have already burned us by declaring my wife and I “Joint Employers” and demanding more steak, less school, and higher allowances, so we can already imagine the effect the NLRB rulings will have.

Fortunately the key to addressing these national issues is being able to work with our elected federal representatives, and from our most recently elected congressmen and women to our senior senator; they are taking the reins on problems ranging from Veterans Affairs to protecting the A-10 and the defense assets of our state.  Though their social and ideological stances may vary significantly, our current group has shown a willingness and eagerness to work together on matters affecting and benefitting Arizona that I have not seen in my years of experience, and it is hugely appreciated.

Wrapping this all together is a renewed focus and spirit within the AMC itself.  Mark Dobbins (SUMCO USA), our newly elected Chairman Emeritus, will be at the forefront of many issues, the JTED and CTE ones being chief amongst them.  Our spiritual lead and figurative cup of coffee is Dawn Grove with Karsten Manufacturing, maker of PING golf clubs. Dawn brings a passion and excitement for manufacturing that we look forward to unleashing on the general population, so get ready for some fun.

Now let’s all go out and build something, literally or otherwise, we’ll take all the help we can get!

 Steve Macias is the president of Pivot Manufacturing and the chairman of the Arizona Manufacturers Council

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