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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November 2015

steve-macias

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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Chair Emeritus Post: Manufacturing Month

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by Mark Dobbins
October 1, 2015

Having been at this for longer than some of you have been on this earth, I can’t help looking at how far we have come – and just how far away our goals keep stretching before us.  Because, you see, I’m from a home where we were told your only limit is YOU.  Work hard and you’ll make it.  I always wonder, “Make it to what?”

I have a friend who was an executive in manufacturing.  He had the determination to try to start an auto parts distribution business back east.  Now, a quarter century later, he has sold that business to an even bigger company and is a retired millionaire with homes scattered from Florida to points north.  One day, he said to me, “People are always telling me how lucky I am.”  I say, “Ya, the harder I work, the luckier I get.”  So, looking forward to next month – Manufacturing Month – I reflect on just how new our jobs in manufacturing are – and how the same truth about hard work still applies today, regardless of what path you decide to take.

In today’s world, the first thing you must have is commitment.  Then, there must be a skill – training that is valued by the market economy we live in.  Many times, people ask me how I made it to where I am, and I answer that I found something I liked early on, and that was organizing people and events to achieve an outcome.  Next, I looked at what might earn me a career and a good income doing that, and discovered that Human Resources and Industrial Relations were a good fit.  Up to that point, I had never, in my tender, young life, been inside a manufacturing plant.

I knew that for what I had chosen, I needed a four-year degree.  At the same time, a lot of my friends had also chosen their career paths, some going to training schools, others to community colleges, and some straight into the workforce from high school.  One of those friends became a lineman for the power company.  He made good money and had a successful career in a satisfying, well-paying job.  I can’t name any of the other folks who did not go on for further training.  They sort of drifted from job to job, and I lost track of them.

What I learned was, “Wow.  If I work hard and get a sell-able skill, my new wife and I can maybe start a family without starving.  We might even be able to afford a TV and not have to trade secondhand cars with my parents (yes, they drove Buicks before Buicks were cool).  That’s not to say there weren’t lots of bumps in the road, but you keep learning life lessons.

So, as we get ready to celebrate Manufacturing Month in Arizona, remember this:  There are many ways to reach our goals.  Be who you are, and focus on what you are interested in as a career.  Look at the requirements to be successful in that career.  Look at the training and pre-requisites needed.  I encourage you to look at a career in manufacturing.  Like my Daddy’s Buick, manufacturing’s not the same anymore – it’s way cooler.  And if you’re under 30, ask your parents what ‘cool’ means.  LOL

Come on in – the water’s fine.

Mark Dobbins is senior vice president and secretary of SUMCO Phoenix Corporation; chair emeritus of the Arizona Manufacturers Council; co-chairman of Arizona Manufacturing Partnership; member of the board of directors for the National Association of Manufacturers; and a past chairman of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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September 2015

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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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April 2015

I had the privilege of attending the Arizona Chamber luncheon earlier this week to hear from Sen. John McCain and Sen. Jeff Flake, and it struck me how fortunate we are in Arizona to have two such principled men representing our state and our country.

By virtue of the fact that between the two of them they have at some point ticked off every group on both sides of the political spectrum and at a different point had most of those same groups agree with them, they must be doing something right.

Sen. Flake has taken the ball from former Sen. Jon Kyl on an issue absolutely critical to Arizona – water, and the planning and management it requires – and continues to move it forward so that we can be secure in having enough water for our future. Sen. Flake is also proving to be a statesman who exhibits uncommon (these days) common courtesy and doesn’t sink to the level of petty politicking so rampant in D.C., or among my three teenage boys.

The big reveal, of course, was that Sen. McCain announced he is running for another term as the senior senator from Arizona. He will continue to give our state an outsized presence in Washington. Sen. McCain’s position as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee is the perfect pulpit for a man committed to the safety and defense of our nation and who has the experience and knowledge to back it up.

On the manufacturing front, both men have proven interested and engaged in what can be done at a federal level to help businesses in Arizona on issues ranging from taxation to EPA overreach, with both deservedly earning recognition from the National Association of Manufacturers with the organization’s Manufacturing Legislative Excellence Award.

The hack job that was sequestration is another area of focus for our senators as it continues to affect Arizona disproportionately based on the amount of Department of Defense work that is performed in our state, affecting manufacturers large and small up and down the supply chain.

Most telling is how the senators’ respective staffs follow up and reach out when there is an issue. Staffs generally are reflective of the examples set by the person in charge, and by that measure, our senators are setting excellent examples. There is also a renewed level of outreach to the Arizona House delegation and their staffs, which can only help when trying to aid or promote our state.

To steal a line from Sen. McCain, “Barry Goldwater called Arizona ‘113,400 square miles of heaven that God cut out.’ And he was right.” If that is indeed the case, we need people of high caliber and character representing us, and in our two senators, I believe we have them.

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

The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit www.nam.org.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. For more information visit www.azchamber.com.

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October 2014

Friday marked the third annual National Manufacturing Day, and the AMC’s First Annual Arizona Manufacturing Summit.

Along with thousands of manufacturers across the country, the AMC celebrated National Manufacturing in grand style with panel discussions about supply chain, skills training and the future of manufacturing, followed by lunch attended by more than 300 people, where the AMC was proud to present Governor Jan Brewer with a Champion of Manufacturing Award  for her leadership and support of the manufacturing industry in Arizona.

Luncheon attendees were also treated to a Congressional panel featuring Congressmen Paul Gosar, Trent Franks, Matt Salmon and David Schweikert.  We were honored to have the Congressmen join us to discuss topics important to our industry and were especially excited to hear from these four members of Congress who just last week received NAM’s Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence.

It is events like the Arizona Manufacturing Summit that show just how influential the AMC is and continues to be in the world of manufacturing policy in Arizona.

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

The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit www.nam.org.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. For more information visit www.azchamber.com.

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September 2014

Recently the AMC held our annual Environmental & Sustainability Summit in Prescott at the Prescott Conference Center.  There were several panels dealing with topics ranging from sustainability and green buildings to the effects on Arizona from recent EPA and endangered species rulings to how to best work with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.  The quality of the panelists and the interest and interaction of the audience were at an all-time high and the AMC looks forward to topping ourselves next year. In the interim, don’t forget about the monthly Environmental Breakfast meetings to quench your thirst.

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

The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit www.nam.org.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. For more information visit www.azchamber.com.

P.S. If you missed ESS you can access the presentations below:

Up A Creek: The Effects of EPA’s Proposed Navigable Water Rule
ESS Presentation from ADEQ
The Endangered Species Act Arizona State Lands Commissioner, Vanessa Hickman
Green Buildings in Manufacturing, Can it be Done?

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July 2014

Twenty years ago when I was at ASU getting my MBA, my keen insight told me this Internet thing would probably not be any big deal.  When I saddled up my faithful steed, Hezekiah, to head home after class, I wondered how all our modern marvels could ever be supplanted by some digital world.  Apparently neither Thomas Friedman nor Faith Popcorn has anything to fear from me as a futurist or trend spotter, so thank goodness for forward thinking people on our staff and welcome to the new Arizona Manufacturing Council (AMC) website.

The launch of the website is timely given the current positive developments in manufacturing.  A recently released study from the U.S. Department of Commerce entitled “Manufacturing Since the Great Recession” details how manufacturing output has grown 38 percent in the last 5 years and the actual number of manufacturing companies has grown for the first time since 1999. In Arizona we have experienced some of this growth, but over half of the increase in jobs has been enjoyed by just five states: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Texas. This is understandable as the bulk of the surge has been in the transportation and oil & gas industries.

But we also have our own rich manufacturing history in Arizona, so how do we leverage our strengths and bring additional growth and quality jobs to Arizona? That is where the AMC comes in, and it’s why we need your participation.

We at the AMC strive to be the leaders in legislation and forward thinking ideas that move the state forward as it relates to building the manufacturing industry and job expansion. The state is fortunate to have the leadership of Gov. Jan Brewer, who has worked with the Legislature, the AMC and a raft of other groups to craft legislation to protect and grow the manufacturing sector. The recent alleviation of sales tax on electricity and natural gas consumption for manufactures is an excellent example of the proactive stance our state is taking to bring high wage jobs to our citizens.

But keeping that forward momentum requires insight and input from the manufacturing community and, given my lazy eye and glaucoma, no one needs me to play the visionary. We need participation from all levels – small, medium and large manufacturers.  Arizona must take advantage of the current cycle of prosperity in manufacturing and lay the foundation for future growth and stability.

The AMC is fully prepared to take that lead but we need your help. To quote the over quoted Hillel the Elder “If not now, when? If not you, who?”  So please join us as we embark on this new and exciting stage in the evolution of the Arizona Manufacturers Council.

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

The Arizona Manufacturers Council within the Arizona Chamber is the state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). For more on manufacturing and NAM, visit www.nam.org.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans. For more information visit www.azchamber.com.

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