Page 19 - MetalForming March 2016
P. 19

 theme with his New Year’s resolution for 2016: “Complain less and do more, in every aspect of my life.” With that said, Ron wants to encourage manufacturers to join him in taking matters into their own hands, not only when it comes to the skills gap but also in making our country’s leaders understand that a healthy manufacturing industry is crit- ical to the nation’s future.
Lowry believes that responsibility to reduce the skills gap lies with man- ufacturing-company executives and with our country’s leaders. And he strongly believes that there are plenty of prospective employees with a “will- ing-to-learn” attitude. Ron speaks from experience, having spent 35-plus years running several Dayton Rogers plants with regional disparities. Most recently, he opened a new plant in Columbia, SC.
“Manufacturers need to work close- ly with resources such as educators and local and national leaders to encourage them to support the growth of U.S. manufacturing,” he says. “We also need to better explain to our coun- try’s young people how the success of U.S. manufacturing will impact their future, and how they can contribute to that success.”
The facts are there, Lowry insists, citing these and other figures provided by the National Association of Manu- facturers (NAM), in its Top 20 Facts About Manufacturing:
• For every dollar spent in manu- facturing, another $1.40 is added to the economy—the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector.
• In 2014, the average U.S. manufac- turing worker earned $79,553 annually including pay and benefits; the average earnings in all industries was $64,204.
• In 2015, 92 percent of manufactur- ing employees were eligible for health- insurance benefits, significantly higher than the 79 percent average for all firms.
• Manufacturers perform more than 75 percent of all private-sector research and development in the United States, driving more innovation than any other sector.
The NAM list finishes with this downer:
• The cost of federal regulations falls dispro- portionately on manufac- turers, particularly small companies. Manufactur- ers pay $19,564 per employee on average to comply with federal regu- lations, nearly double the $9991 per employee paid annually by all firms on average. And, manufac- turers with fewer than 50 employees spend 2.5 times more than do large manufacturers.
“Taken in total, these
are very disturbing cir- cumstances,” Lowry says.
“While we in manufactur-
ing have gone to great
lengths to improve effi-
ciency and safety and
develop career opportu-
nities for the next genera-
tion, our nation’s leaders
fail to recognize our value
and continue to put up
roadblocks to our growth
and prosperity. That’s the
genesis of my theme, ‘Manufacturing Matters’—to do all I can, and make sure PMA does all it can, to raise aware- ness and plant the seeds of change.
“If we do not grow manufacturing in this country and stop jobs from leaving the United States, the training, pro- motion and growth of manufacturing will suffer long-term. If we run out of students for the training programs, they will slowly disappear. And while we might be able to attract people to manufacturing, the jobs will not be there for them. We need policies in place that drive innovation, expansion and investment here in the United States, not in other countries. That is critical to our long-term health. If we want to continue to be a first-class manufacturing country, we must win this battle with our elected officials.”
Success on the Back of New Technology
Evidence of investment abounds
MetalForming/March 2016 17
Two 4-kW laser-cutting machines (a Cincinnati fiber machine and a Bystronic CO2 machine) produce sheetmetal parts at the Dayton Rogers faclity in Columbia, SC. Shown here discussing a customer’s order for 16-gauge mild-steel crane parts cut on the fiber laser are (l to r) general man- ager Rich Van Aernum, materials and project manager Terry Sohns, and sales and project manager Lee Cloakey.
throughout the Dayton Rogers plant Lowry opened in Columbia, SC, in 2013. He credits relying on new forming and fabricating technology, in addi- tion to effective hiring and training of dedicated and effective workers, with the success of the plant, and of the company’s other plants. While plenty of refurbished OBI stamping presses occupy the SC facility’s pressroom, we spied state-of-the-art press brakes and laser-cutting machines in the sheet- metal-fabrication shop.
But the real pride and joy for Lowry is the plant’s 15,000-sq.-ft. Technical Development Center (TDC), a self-con- tained area equipped to design and develop prototypes. Lowry credits the TDC for a rosy forecast for the compa- ny in the years ahead. It will help Day- ton Rogers land what he calls the “chal- lenging and demanding customers we specialize in serving.
“We help customers develop and optimize their designs,” adds Lowry.

   17   18   19   20   21