Courtney Silver runs a precision machining company that has been in business for 75 years, so she knows how fast the manufacturing industry evolves. The Ketchie, Inc., president, who serves as the vice chair of the NAM’s Small and Medium Manufacturers Group, has a clear message for policymakers and manufacturers alike.
- To stay competitive, “manufacturers must have policies that incentivize us to save for emergencies, like pandemics, and to use profits productively to invest in machines, technologies and people,” she says.
- “Small manufacturers know what to do, to invest our profits and grow”—and policymakers should let them get on with it.
We caught up with Silver earlier this fall and chatted about her plans for Ketchie, the policies that would support manufacturers’ competitiveness and more.
The history: Seventy-five years ago, her late husband’s grandfather came home from World War II to work in a local textile mill, Silver tells us.
- The former Air Force captain quickly observed that local manufacturers needed a “job shop” to provide precision machined solutions. In 1947, he founded the company.
- Since then, and through many upgrades in technology, the business has grown considerably. It now supports several industries, including “textile, rail, heavy machinery, agriculture and industrial equipment,” says Silver.
What do small manufacturers need? To help small manufacturers stay competitive and keep contributing to their communities, “we need a tax structure that works for us,” says Silver.
- The 2017 tax reform law benefited Ketchie by allowing large manufacturers (the company’s customer base) to expand, meaning they had more orders for Ketchie. The company was able to hire more workers as well as provide raises and bonuses.
- However, small manufacturers need further support from policymakers, according to Silver. “Smaller manufacturers have access to less capital,” she explains, so they must often use their profits for crucial short-term investments, like new equipment.
- But they also need help from policymakers for longer-term efforts, such as saving for emergencies (including pandemics) and using their profits to aggressively attract and retain a high-quality workforce.
Read the full story here.