The State of Manufacturing IS the Commonwealth of Pa.

Research recently completed by Dr. Ned Hill of Cleveland State University and commissioned by the Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Centers (IRC) reveals that despite significant challenges in the recession, Pennsylvania was the 6th largest manufacturing state in the nation in terms of Gross State Product (GSP). Interestingly, manufacturing companies with employee headcounts from 250-499 actually grew manufacturing jobs in Pa. during 2006-2008 while larger companies dropped employee headcount.

While Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania get high marks for job creation and expansion of world class capabilities in medicine and higher education, it is true that manufacturing (as measured in 2008) is still the largest industry in the Commonwealth in terms of percentage of GSP. Almost 14% of Pennsylvania’s GSP is due to the manufacturing sector.

What could this mean to CMC? I believe it reinforces my belief that there are still plenty of opportunities to pursue in this region despite claims by experts that China is the only place in the world that makes things. New companies in the energy sector with both nuclear and Marcellus Shale represent great opportunities for a quality and customer focused manufacturer. Pittsburgh’s growing medical device sector continues to do well. As people leave Respironics or Medrad to start their own companies or join start-ups, the region gets stronger because that experience that leaves the bigger companies can expand the smaller ones.

Notice that I defined the opportunity above for “quality and customer focused” companies. No one will give CMC business. No one “owes us” the opportunity. CMC has to “earn” our business every day by satisfying our customers more completely here than they could possibly imagine getting anywhere else. I have often said that we are all in sales and we are all, most certainly, in the “customer satisfaction” business.

I volunteer my time as Chairman of the Board for Catalyst Connection, Western Pennsylvania’s IRC. I do this because I want to see manufacturing thrive in this region. Our parents and grandparents built these great companies and I believe there is a great opportunity to continue that legacy. I am proud of the work that CMC people do and I certainly expect that our customers appreciate the focus on quality and customer service that has to be our trademark.