Note from the Chairman

November 2015

by Steve Macias
November 24, 2015

During this week of Thanksgiving, I am first and foremost thankful for family, friends, community, health, and my mom’s sausage-based stuffing. I am also thankful for Arizona and the people who live here that are trying to make it an even better place than it already is.

I travel once a month or so, and over the last year in cities from Boston to Indianapolis to Denver to Houston to Los Angeles and places in between, there are similar sights: usually a healthy dose of retail centers, plenty of schools and schoolchildren and, sadly, shrinking industrial areas. Last month in Woodland Hills, California, as I stared through a chain link fence at a padlocked Rocketdyne plant, I felt like Iron Eyes Cody in the 1970s “Keep America Beautiful” commercial.

As our industrial base shrinks, I wonder where the children in the schools will work. Will they earn a good enough living to support the retail centers and the people who work there? Will our three teenagers never leave the house? Before that last thought causes me to seize up, the recent statewide focus on manufacturing and the benefits it provides, does give me some optimism that Arizona will be able to provide jobs and a living for our kids and future transplants.

In the last three weeks we have had events such as the Arizona Manufacturers Council awards, the Arizona Technology Council’s Governor’s Celebration of Innovation Awards, and the Minority Business awards where manufacturers large and small took center stage. Winners included companies who produce missiles, pacemakers, body armor, cars, beer, computer chips and construction products among others. The diversity and ability of these companies keep me optimistic that our industry will continue to provide good jobs and opportunities to those willing to work hard.

As a Phoenix native, I have vivid memories of my dad coming home from his part-time JC Penney job at 9:30 at night, eating dinner and then getting ready to leave again at 11:15 PM with his lunch pail in hand for his graveyard shift at the Reynolds Aluminum plant on Van Buren. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners were usually served about 1:00 in the afternoon so Dad would have time to eat and then work the holiday swing shift, which meant double-time pay and some extra money on the table.

Halfway across the country, my father-in-law was walking and driving the streets of Chicagoland with blueprints, maps, interest-rate tables, and a briefcase full of notes and charts looking to finance and build his projects. Among the ventures were many that included small and medium manufacturing plants, places where people like my dad would eventually find meaningful and gainful employment.

These are the types of results and the type of system the Arizona Manufacturers Council is striving to help create as we look at our 2016 legislative agenda: an atmosphere where more job creators can create jobs and more working class folks are able to secure good jobs and get ahead. So as our elected leaders – both local and national – move forward into 2016, let us put our focus on guiding the economy toward the things that will encourage industry, create jobs, and teach that hard work has its rewards.

By doing so we can avoid the shadow of that shuttered Rocketdyne plant in California, and stay in the sunshine that is Arizona.

 Steve Macias is the president of Pivot Manufacturing and the 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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