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