Manufacturing leaders from the greater Chicago area, in addition to Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher, IMEC President David Boulay, and representatives from the City of Chicago and state commerce department gathered for a duo of manufacturing-focused events last week.
The group first met at PortionPac Corporation in Chicago for discussion and a tour of the sustainable company that manufactures pre-measured packs of highly concentrated cleaning products for use in a variety of industries, including school districts and correctional facilities. “The last decade for manufacturing has been about diversification and the ability to develop a focus in niche markets in order to continue growing,” said Burt Klein, President for PortionPac. During the visit, Klein also spoke to the city’s investment in the manufacturing sector and how building a strong workforce, transportation can lead to a strengthened climate.
Through a city initiative, Chicago Sustainable Industries, there has been an increased awareness about manufacturing and its importance to the strength of the community. “Manufacturing jobs play an anchoring role in a community,” Director Gallagher stated. “It’s great to see the combined efforts of the public and private sectors working together to strengthen that role.”
Following the facility tour and discussion, the group met at the Transco Products downtown headquarters, where they engaged in discussion around the direction of future trends in technology, workforce and the need to campaign for a brighter image of the industry. “If manufacturing has a bad image, it affects the desire of youth and adults alike to educate themselves and pursue a career in industry,” said Gallagher. Talk continued around the need to promote manufacturing nationally, regionally and locally, including initiatives manufacturers can take to reach out in their communities.