GE recently released a great TV commercial to jumpstart an effort to employ 20,000 women in STEM roles by 2020 that asks, “What if we treated female scientists the way we treated famous actors, TV personalities and models?” I really love this ad because it shows the first woman to receive the National Medal for Science in Engineering, Millie Dresselhaus, getting full celebrity treatment including selfie requests, an emoji likeness, and an overflow crowd at a lecture.

I think we should do the same thing for U.S. manufacturers and guess what, with Made in America Week, we are!

President Trump proclaimed July 17, 2017, as Made in America Day and the entire week of July 16 through July 22 as Made in America Week. The White House is showcasing Made in America products from all 50 states in a wonderful display. That’s what I call getting rock star attention!

We know from history that manufacturing is a proven path to developing a strong economy and is a source of good paying jobs. (Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor and Statistics for 2015) Making products we need and that the world consumes helps our communities thrive and gives us the tools to keep safe and defend our country. Those key points alone are enough to get celebrity treatment from me.

As director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program and its national network of centers with 1,300 trusted manufacturing and business experts in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, I feel we treat U.S. manufacturers like superstars every day. It is our sole mission to enhance the productivity and technological performance of U.S. manufacturing. And we are the only public-private partnership dedicated to serving small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Just this past March, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research published a study that found the help MEP provides U.S. manufacturers generates a substantial economic and financial return of nearly 9:1 for the $130 million annually invested by the federal government.

And so, I am thrilled about Made in America Week because more than half of all the products that the White House is featuring come from companies who are now or have been MEP clients!

  • Alabama: Bucket trucks from Altec, Inc.
  • Arizona: Golf clubs from PING Golf
  • Arkansas: Conveyer belts from Hytrol
  • Colorado: Neon signs from Gordon Signs
  • Connecticut: Model helicopters from Sikorsky
  • Delaware: NASA space suits from ILC Dover, LP
  • Florida: Tumblers from Tervis
  • Hawaii: Rum from Koloa Rum Company
  • Idaho: Engineered wood floors from Boise Cascade Company
  • Illinois: Farm equipment from Caterpillar
  • Louisiana: Baseball bats from Marucci Sports
  • Maine: Yachts from Hinckley Yachts
  • Michigan: Fabric from Milton Manufacturing
  • Mississippi: Forklifts from Taylor Machine Works
  • Missouri: Door hinges from Beehler Corporation
  • Montana: Fishing gear from Simms Fishing
  • Nebraska: Beef from Greater Omaha Packing
  • Nevada: Candy from Kimmie Candy
  • New Jersey: Soup from Campbell’s Soup
  • New Mexico: Plastic from Desert Plastic
  • New York: Pianos by Steinway
  • Oklahoma: Trencher/excavators from Ditch Witch
  • Oregon: Sights and scopes from Leupold & Stevens, Inc.
  • Pennsylvania: Wheel barrows from Ames
  • South Carolina: Cushions from Casual Cushion Company
  • Tennessee: Gibson Guitars
  • Washington: Water bottles from Liberty Bottles
  • Wisconsin: Firetrucks from Pierce Manufacturing
  • Wyoming: Model aircraft made by Aviat Aircraft

We are so very proud to say that these companies received our help. We are here to be trusted advisors and experts, to listen to what U.S. manufacturers need, and to help navigate incredible new technologies and connect with needed resources.

We are truly honored to serve our country’s manufacturers because we feel only the best is Made in America!

About Author

Carroll Thomas

Carroll Thomas is the Director of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership. In her role as Director, she is responsible for a national network of centers to help U.S. manufacturers compete globally, supporting greater supply chain integration and providing access to technology.