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Oct 11, 201612:18 PMMaking Madison

with Buckley Brinkman

Hug a manufacturer! Cheer on a STEM teacher! Encourage a student!

Happy Manufacturing Month! It’s time to celebrate!

For most places in the country, the celebration started and ended this past Friday, Oct. 7, with National Manufacturing Day. In over 2,600 events across the country, close to 500,000 people participated in various events designed to highlight modern manufacturing and encourage students to pursue STEM activities to fuel a manufacturing career.

Wisconsin couldn’t fit it all into one day, so we have Manufacturing Month. Manufacturing plays a critical part in the state’s economy. It drives almost 20% of our GSP and every dollar of manufacturing activity spurs another $1.43 in support services. Manufacturing is the force behind high tech, funding 75% of all private R&D, securing 90% of all patents, and employing 83% of the nation’s PhDs. It’s only fitting that we use all of October to celebrate this contribution.

Manufacturing Month creates great chances to see manufacturing in action. Manufacturers, our technical colleges, and individual communities will all hold events providing opportunities to interact with people who make things and those who support them. Find an event and jump into the world of modern manufacturing.

Madison-Kipp provided one of those opportunities this past Friday on Manufacturing Day. After the obligatory welcome spiels by state officials, more than 100 students toured the aluminum casting plant, talked with operators, and saw technology in action that transforms slabs of aluminum into precision auto parts. The participants came away with a better appreciation of advanced manufacturing and the opportunities it creates.

If you participate in one of these events, I guarantee what you see will surprise you and make you smile. Modern manufacturing is not the dark, dumb, dangerous, and dirty experience of your grandpa’s world. Instead, modern operations engage the brightest people and best technology to make tangible products. Wisconsin manufacturers compete successfully around the world. A quick visit can show you why.

Manufacturing engages the best our state has to offer and shares it with the world. Sharp people find ways to use their talents in ways that excite their hearts, as well as flex their minds. These operations provide a platform to put our best research and education to work improving our society. Together, all of these efforts make Wisconsin a better place to work, live, and thrive!

Manufacturing Month is a terrific time to discover these things for yourself! See the great jobs and economic strength that emanate from the manufacturing sector. Watch our best research and technology come to life as a matter of routine. Most importantly, see how cool it is to make stuff.

Your life will change after you’ve participated in Manufacturing Month. Suddenly, the urge to hug a manufacturer will rush over you. You will cheer on those teachers who push their students in STEM disciplines. Finally, you will step up and encourage students to pursue their dreams through careers in manufacturing. Okay … maybe not. Still, it will let you see why some of us get so excited about manufacturing and its role in our future prosperity.

Happy Manufacturing Month!

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About This Blog

Buckley Brinkman is executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and writes about the manufacturing sector in Greater Madison and throughout Wisconsin. He has a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness, and performance excellence, and has led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete. A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.



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