On April 5, it held Manufacturing Tomorrow, a summit with speakers from the U.S. Dept of Commerce, Congress, the state legislature, and many of the attendees felt that manufacturing has gotten short shrift from the government and politicians in recent years, and it was time to hold a high-level discussion about manufacturing's future in the U.S.
One immediate result of the conference was the formation of the Minnesota Manufacturing Coalition, a group of 20 associations serving manufacturers in Minnesota. Among the associations are the American Chemistry Council, National Association of Manufacturers, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. ISA and IEEE were not listed as members.
The 20 associations represent companies with 340,000 employees, and the founders think this might get them some attention from politicians. Or, as the coalition itself put it, The coalition will enable associations serving manufacturers to speak with one voice on issues that are common to companies regardless of size or sector. Members will meet regularly to identify the highest priority subjects that deserve attention from both state and federal policymakers.
In an election year, this seems like a wise move. As we pointed out in our December 2003 issue, special interest groups with many votes can definitely get the attention of politicians.