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.