Chairman’s Report by Jeff Garvens

A Shared Manufacturing Future

“Manufacturing is the foundation of our economy”

 News journals are replete with stories of the importance of manufacturing and warnings about the consequences of our recent decade’s steady transition away from it.  What is the basic theme of these warnings?  Namely that manufacturing is the foundation of every economy; that the service sectors of our economy have largely sprung from and depend upon manufacturing:  retail sells manufactured products, food service resells and uses manufactured products, real-estate builds with manufactured products, medical services depend upon manufactured drugs, equipment and technology, trade is almost wholly consisting of manufactured products.  Even finance evolves from surplus money generated through manufacturing productivity.  According to the Roosevelt Institute the wealth of a pure service economy equates with that of a pre-industrial one.

It is the nature of this dependence on manufacturing that magnifies manufacturing’s importance.  According to the Economic Policy Institute, every 1 job in manufacturing accounts for 3 more jobs in support of it.    It is this multiplying effect that increases manufacturing’s $2.1 trillion dollar value added piece of the US GDP to almost $6 trillion.  That is 35% of the US GDP!

But GDP can be a bit intangible.  What we all care about are jobs; well-paying jobs.  We want them for ourselves and for our neighbors and community.  We want them so that the unemployed can not only partake in the wealth of our nation, but also contribute to it.  It is our hunger for these jobs which draws attention to the manufacturing sector.  It is the responsibility of the leadership of our community to guide it to future prosperity in the form of many well-paying jobs, and that responsibility leads them to the doorstep of manufacturing. 

SAMA and Greater San Antonio share an interest in seeing manufacturing grow and prosper.  This shared interest has led us to work creatively and aggressively together to develop new and cutting edge programs to advance both manufacturing job opportunities and the trained workers to fill them.  These programs not only provide meaningful education and training through institutions like the Alamo Colleges and the Alamo Academies, but also raise awareness and interest of the opportunities in manufacturing through programs like ATEAMS and Manufacturing Day.

Jobs are the goal, but available trained workers are just one hurdle towards a vibrant manufacturing community.  According to the EPI, “inadequate industrial and energy policies harm the nation’s ability to meet future challenges that will require a solid manufacturing base.”     Manufacturing is a complex and challenging endeavor.  It requires energy, infrastructure, perseverance, capital, hard-work, ingenuity and a supportive government to be successful.  It requires a coordinated team effort.

Fortunately, in my experience, I have found that San Antonio has what it takes.  The manufacturing companies in greater San Antonio, along with our community’s leadership, to include SAMA, have many goals in common and many successes behind us.  But we must continue to work closely together not only to remove more roadblocks but also to lay more roads that will make clear the future to a brighter manufacturing tomorrow.