Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus, shares his take on PMPA’s recent 2 day Capitol Hill Fly-in.
On Tuesday, March 15th, I flew to our nation’s capital to join nearly a dozen other business leaders from our trade association, Precision Machined Products Association (PMPA), for 2 days of work on the hill. The purpose of the trip was to continue our engagement with elected officials in order to keep them aware of legislative and regulatory matters impacting our ability to compete globally. As always, the pace is fast and the time passes far too quickly to accomplish all we set out to do.
For those of you who have not been to Washington D.C. to participate in our political process, let me share a few observations. Every American citizen should make the trip at least once to experience the madness of it all. It is like a giant anthill that has just been attacked by small children. Every special interest group on the planet is there lobbying for their cause. How anyone gets anything done in the midst of the chaos is unknown to me. More than likely, not enough does get done. While I was not interested in the political process for many years, it became clear to me during the great recession that we must all get involved or be silent about the consequences others have imposed upon us.
Central to our conversations were these three advocacy issues:
- Workforce development through training and education to ensure we maintain the most talented workforce on the planet. Our workforce is our greatest asset. However, the majority of skilled employees are aging, and public perception of manufacturing careers needs an adjustment. No longer is the world of manufacturing dark, dirty, and dangerous. Today’s world class manufacturers have state of the art facilities and advanced technology. Changing these outdated stereotypes that have been decades in the making will not happen overnight, but we must start one person at a time. We and our industry partners are promoting tours of manufacturing facilities to showcase what they look like today, as well as the rewarding career opportunities that exist all around us. These are honorable, family supporting professions that helped make America great, and we need to celebrate them. Policymakers, too, must vocalize the deep need for job training reformation and the strengthening of education grants.
- Tax and regulatory policies that promote domestic business investment, while maintaining good environmental standards. We must come together as a country for an honest conversation about these matters before it is too late. American businesses need a level playing field in order to compete. We are not asking for anything special, just that the 100 pound rucksack be removed so that we can truly compete with those countries that are taking our work with lower tax rates, fewer regulatory burdens, and less worker compensation.
- We also brainstormed how we can energize our fellow PMPA members to get involved in the conversation, as there is so much at stake for all of us. I encourage everyone to participate in a PMPA DC fly-in event at least one time to see for yourselves, how the process works, or not. It is our responsibility to be active and stay current on the issues that matter in our industries. Not doing so will be detrimental to our businesses, as well as our country.
Without common sense agreement on the top two items, we will continue to lose our workforce as jobs and businesses are exported in exchange for cheap taxes, labor, and greater global pollution. It is time to have this honest, yet respectful, conversation before it is too late.
– Mike Reader President of Precision Plus