In the heat of Arizona’s “Silicon Desert” and surrounding communities, the future of America’s global competitiveness and climate goals aren’t just being forged—they also hang in the balance.
Last week for the first time in 2024, the NAM brought its Competing to Win Tour to Arizona, and that stark contrast between the status quo and the probable future was on display in Phoenix at global semiconductor equipment manufacturer Benchmark and small manufacturer Valley Forge & Bolt and at Resolution Copper in Superior.
- NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons, Manufacturing Institute President and Executive Director Carolyn Lee—who leads the NAM’s 501(c)3 workforce development and education affiliate—and Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Danny Seiden met with local manufacturers to gain their perspective and insights.
Why it matters: The Biden administration and Congress have secured key measures to bolster manufacturing in the U.S., including the NAM-championed CHIPS and Science Act and tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act to manufacturers investing in advanced production and energy projects. But raw material, workforce and tax and regulatory policy challenges threaten to undermine policy aspirations.
Silicon Desert expansion: With the CHIPS and Science Act poised to transform the sector, Benchmark President and CEO Jeff Benck and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Dave Valkanoff led the tour of their state-of-the-art Phoenix facility.
- In a good spot: Benchmark is well-positioned for the coming growth in semiconductor equipment demand. It is focused on securing its workforce and navigating a complex regulatory landscape to maximize the opportunity.
- Workforce woes: Even with the NAM and the MI’s Benchmark-supported Creators Wanted campaign boosting the industry’s image and the MI’s FAME initiative training thousands of technicians, finding skilled labor remains the top challenge. Benchmark advances earn-and-learn programs and partnerships with Arizona State University and community colleges to help fill the pipeline, actions that, according to Lee, “can help change the game.”
- Red tape delays: Regulatory hurdles pose obstacles. Benchmark seeks streamlined permitting and sensible rules to maintain their global edge.
- Bullish outlook: Benck is optimistic about the future of U.S. manufacturing and semiconductor demand. Investments in people and technology position the company well to deliver the next generation of innovation.
Taxes and immigration: The NAM’s return visit to Valley Forge & Bolt, after a stop last year with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), shone a spotlight on the real-world impact of stalled tax policy and the urgent need for reform.
- Valley Forge & Bolt saw record sales in 2023 thanks to 2017 tax reforms boosting its equipment upgrades. Now, with provisions like full capital investment expensing stalled in Congress, orders have slowed.
- CEO Michele Clarke and COO Bret Halley made the case for R&D expensing, interest deductibility and a return to full capital investment expensing. Without these, they said, job growth and America’s manufacturing competitive edge are at risk.
- Skilled workers needed: Despite its success, Valley Forge says finding skilled workers is a constant struggle. Immigration reform is a must to secure the right talent pipeline, said Clarke. “Did you notice our engineers? Most of them are under 30 because we’re snatching them right out of college,” added Clarke. “The engineering talent in this country is dwindling, and we’re not authorizing enough green cards. I, myself, was a green card holder before I became a citizen.”
Policy roadblocks: The NAM’s visit to Rio Tinto’s Resolution Copper site highlighted the urgency of permitting reform in the face of critical mineral needs.
- Copper’s critical role: Copper is essential for clean energy. Electric vehicles, solar power grids and wind turbines all demand huge quantities. Yet, the U.S. remains heavily reliant on imported copper, jeopardizing progress.
- Massive potential: The domestic solution lies within the stalled Resolution Copper mine. With its potential to supply 25% of U.S. copper demand, it’s poised to be a key piece of the puzzle.
- Project in limbo: Despite a 350-strong workforce modernizing and maintaining the mine, permitting delays stifle the project’s full impact.
- Sustainable practices: “Resolution Copper is the future of eco-conscious mining,” said NAM Managing Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas, who toured the site. “Their team innovates sustainable practices, leads in water conservation and even supplies 7 billion gallons of water to Arizona farms. And what is more, it isn’t just the facts of the matter or what you saw that drives this point home, but the people who have worked on the site for years make all that clear with the pride they have about the project and their determination to see Resolution Copper through to making lives better for everyone.”
- Jobs and growth: Led by President and General Manager Vicky Peacey, the project promises to contribute $1 billion annually to the economy and more than 1,500 Arizona jobs. “This is about people, jobs and supply chains; and it’s also about realizing clean energy ambitions at the speed and scale that climate goals demand,” said Kefalas.
The bottom line: “The future of U.S. manufacturing might hinge on these contrasting stories. Are we a nation that champions innovation, attracts and keeps the brightest here, supports our manufacturers and tackles climate goals with homegrown solutions, or one that stalls progress in its own backyard,” said Timmons.
- “Arizona is at the epicenter of American manufacturing’s next chapter, and with smart policies and fewer unforced errors at the federal level, we can clear the runway for growth,” added Seiden.
What’s going on: “The U.S. government is awarding $1.5 billion to GlobalFoundries to subsidize semiconductor production, the first major award from a $39 billion fund approved by Congress in 2022 to bolster domestic chip production.”
- The Malta, New York–based GlobalFoundries—the largest U.S. manufacturer of customized semiconductors and the world’s third-biggest chipmaker—plans to use the funds to build a new chip-production facility in its hometown and expand existing facilities there and in Burlington, Vermont.
- The Malta facility will manufacture high-value semiconductors not currently produced in the U.S., Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.
- In addition to the grant, the federal government is also offering GlobalFoundries $1.6 billion in loans.
Why it’s important: “The chips that GlobalFoundries will make in these new facilities are essential chips to our national security,” Raimondo said on Sunday, adding that the “agency is in active talks with numerous applicants and expects to make several announcements by the end of March.”
- In January, Commerce announced it was awarding defense contractor BAE Systems $35 million under the CHIPS Act.
Our role: The NAM—which helped secure several manufacturing priorities in the final CHIPS Act legislation—welcomed the news.
- “Congratulations to [GlobalFoundries]!” the NAM wrote in a social post Monday. “The NAM-championed CHIPS and Science Act is strengthening manufacturing in the U.S. We will continue to work with Congress and the White House to enact permitting reforms that will help speed the construction of these vital projects.”
Manufacturers have long prioritized sustainability in their operations, but 2024 will bring new attention to the industry’s efforts. As we continue to explore the major manufacturing trends that will shape the industry this year, here’s what you need to know about this key development.
What manufacturers should do: Manufacturers looking to create strong sustainability plans to meet the expectations of regulators, boards and consumers should start by taking these steps, according to the NAM’s experts.
- Craft an overall organizational sustainability plan with metrics and reporting.
- Make changes and upgrades to support energy and resource efficiency, as well as reduce waste and emissions.
- Focus on sustainable products and packaging in addition to sustainable processes.
- Improve product reclamation or recycling in the circular economy.
Expert opinion: According to UL Solutions, company boards have a particularly key role to play in developing sustainability plans.
- “Boards of directors are bound by their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders, but savvy directors also recognize that environmental and other ESG-linked risks and opportunities are vital to the long-term health of their organizations,” UL notes.
Resources for you: Check out these NAM resources to learn more about sustainability and compliance:
- NAM Energy will connect you with an adviser to create an energy management strategy that will help you cut costs and reduce your environmental impact.
- This podcast from Milliken & Company’s director of research, compliance and sustainability is an excellent case study for manufacturers seeking to remove or remediate PFAS chemicals.
- Dig into the NAM’s extensive collection of policy explainers, on everything from the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of particulates to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s regulation of climate disclosures.
Read the full 2024 trends report here.
U.S. competitiveness on the world stage, trade agreements, intellectual property, democracy and regulatory certainty—these were just some of the topics NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons covered in a Tuesday interview with POLITICO’s Doug Palmer during the 2024 Washington International Trade Conference.
- The meeting was attended by senior U.S. trade officials and foreign ambassadors and hosted by the Washington International Trade Association in Washington, D.C.
Safeguarding IP: With the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Conference coming up later this month, Timmons discussed the damage that would result from one of the meeting’s expected agenda items: an expansion of a 2022 TRIPS waiver on IP rights to include COVID-19 therapeutics and diagnostics.
- “Intellectual property is truly the lifeblood of manufacturing,” said Timmons, who met with WTO Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and WTO Deputy Director General Angela Ellard in Geneva last March to discuss the waiver.
- Manufacturers “work hard, and it’s always been kind of a given from the U.S. perspective that intellectual property protections would be front and center. … Obviously, we want to facilitate the growth of manufacturing in other areas of the world, too. But … [it] is a giant leap too far if therapeutics and diagnostics are included in the waiver.”
- American agreement to the expanded waiver, Timmons said, would be tantamount to the federal government telling manufacturers in the U.S., “By the way, we want you to invest in developing more innovations here in this country if we’re just going to turn around and give them away.”
Trade and tariffs: If the U.S. wants to remain competitive, we must negotiate a trade agreement now—and pass the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill, Timmons told Palmer.
- “Trade is really the recipe for peace and the recipe for working together harmoniously,” he said. “We’d like to see more trade agreements. We haven’t seen one negotiated here in the United States for over 10 years—and the rest of the world, quite frankly, is eating our lunch when it comes to negotiating these agreements.”
- The U.S., which has been operating without an MTB for more than three years, “need[s] MTB to not just meet our economic goals and not just feed the supply chains of manufacturers, but also to meet our national security objectives.”
Democracy vs. autocracy: Timmons—who last July led the American business community delegation to Cancun, Mexico, for meetings ahead of the third U.S.–Mexico–Canada Agreement “Free Trade Commission”—stressed the importance of the USMCA to underpinning democratic values worldwide.
- “This agreement is incredibly important to our national security, and it is important to our place in the world,” Timmons continued. “We need to expand the relationship, whether it’s trade or other relationships here in North America, and we need to embrace the relationships and our allies around the world—in Europe and Australia and New Zealand and Japan and other areas—because we are facing a choice … between free market economies and democracies and command economies and autocracies, and I want to strengthen the former, not allow the latter to bloom.”
Other needs: Timmons talked about other manufacturing priorities for the current administration and the next.
- “We need regulatory certainty that gives business leaders the ability to plan for the future,” he said. “We [also] need to invest in workforce incentives. All of those and infrastructure, which we have done, and we continue to do. You can’t just open up the trading system and not expect capital to flow outside of our borders if you don’t have the right policies internally.”
The Biden administration’s proposal to invoke so-called “march-in” authority to seize the rights to patents developed in any part with federal funding would undermine the American innovation economy, the NAM told the federal government Tuesday.
What’s going on: A proposal put forth in December by the Biden administration would allow the government to seize private-sector patents for products it considers too costly.
Why it’s important: “Undermining manufacturers’ [intellectual property] rights would have sweeping ramifications for innovation in the United States and America’s world-leading innovation economy,” the NAM told the Biden administration.
- “In particular, start-ups and small businesses would bear the brunt of the drastic changes proposed by the administration, as … government march-in would disincentivize early-stage entrepreneurship and dissuade much-needed capital formation from outside investors.”
The background: The Bayh-Dole Act, passed in 1980, allows recipients of federal research dollars to license groundbreaking technologies to private-sector companies to commercialize them.
- “Prior to the act’s passage, the government held approximately 28,000 patents—yet fewer than 4% of those patents were licensed to the private sector. This is because private-sector participants viewed these patents as ‘contaminated by government funding,’” according to the NAM.
- Bayh-Dole includes a narrow “march-in” provision that allows the government to step in to ensure consumer access to certain products during times of crisis—but march-in “has never previously been used during the 44 years since the law’s enactment,” the NAM said.
- Allowing march-in based on the price of a product or technology “would hinder industry collaborations with research universities and laboratories across the country, stymieing manufacturers’ efforts to develop the products and technologies of the future and bring them to the public.”
What we’re doing: Last month, the NAM launched a seven-figure ad campaign opposing the proposal.
- The administration should “provide certainty to manufacturers and other stakeholders in the innovation economy by affirmatively and unequivocally withdrawing the proposal—and making clear that the administration will not implement any of its recommendations,” the NAM said.
The last word: “Undermining America’s world-leading patent system is a recipe for reduced innovation and significant economic damage, with a disproportionate impact on small manufacturers,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain.
- “The administration’s march-in proposal would raise the spectre of government price controls on a wide range of technologies—fundamentally reshaping how life-changing innovation is developed, financed and commercialized in the United States. The administration must affirmatively and unequivocally withdraw this radical and flawed proposal.”
Washington, D.C. – Following the National Association of Manufacturers’ submission of comments opposing the Biden administration’s proposal that would allow the government to march in and seize the rights to groundbreaking innovations developed by manufacturers, NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain released the following statement:
“Undermining America’s world-leading patent system is a recipe for reduced innovation and significant economic damage, with a disproportionate impact on small manufacturers. The administration’s march-in proposal would raise the spectre of government price controls on a wide range of technologies—fundamentally reshaping how life-changing innovation is developed, financed and commercialized in the United States. The administration must affirmatively and unequivocally withdraw this radical and flawed proposal.”
The NAM’s comments on the proposal are available here. Key excerpts from the comments are below:
- The proposal contemplates an expansion of the Bayh-Dole Act’s march-in provision, which has never previously been used during the 44 years since the law’s enactment. This unlawful expansion of a 44-year-old statutory provision would prompt the government to exercise march-in rights to force patent licenses to private-sector inventions that are derived at least in part from federal funding. This price control measure would impact innovative companies of all kinds across the manufacturing sector.
- Undermining manufacturers’ IP rights would have sweeping ramifications for innovation in the United States and America’s world-leading innovation economy. In particular, start-ups and small businesses would bear the brunt of the drastic changes proposed by the administration, as the spectre of government march-in would disincentivize early-stage entrepreneurship and dissuade much-needed capital formation from outside investors.
- If the administration moves forward with the proposal, the unprecedented expansion and use of the Bayh-Dole Act’s march-in provision would impede R&D, investment and the commercialization of innovative technologies. It would cause significant market uncertainty as to current and future patent licenses that are derived in any part from federal funds—directly contradicting the intent and purpose of Bayh-Dole. And it would hinder industry collaborations with research universities and laboratories across the country, stymieing manufacturers’ efforts to develop the products and technologies of the future and bring them to the public.
- Courts have found that an agency violates the major questions doctrine on matters of significant economic importance when the agency cannot “point to clear congressional authorization for the power it claims.” The government’s ability to seize private-sector IP is undoubtedly a topic of vast economic and political significance; as discussed, America’s robust patent system lies at the heart of the innovation economy in the United States—and the proposal would threaten the financing of that innovation ecosystem and the economic viability of many of its key participants (including start-ups, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses, universities and more). The effects of the proposal would be felt in every state and every congressional district. Yet, the proposal cannot point to “clear congressional authorization” for including a price consideration in the government’s march-in analysis because it does not exist; as explained above, price is wholly absent from the Bayh-Dole Act’s text. More broadly, the act was enacted to support public–private partnerships and bolster the innovation economy in the United States—yet, the proposal would undermine and endanger American innovation. It is unlikely that Congress, in passing the Bayh-Dole Act, “could reasonably be understood to have granted” the administration the power to vitiate the primary goal of the act itself.
- The NAM respectfully encourages the administration to provide certainty to manufacturers and other stakeholders in the innovation economy by affirmatively and unequivocally withdrawing the proposal and making clear that the administration will not implement any of its recommendations. Abandoning and disclaiming the proposal’s attempts to impose price controls and undermine the Bayh-Dole Act will ensure that manufacturers in the United States can continue to lead the world in R&D and innovation—and continue to create and support well-paying jobs vital to the success of the U.S. economy.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.85 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
Lubrizol, a specialty chemicals company, faced a challenge common to manufacturers in its sector: how do you test dozens or hundreds of new chemical formulations every year in a timely and cost-effective manner? The answer: better data analysis.
The Wickliffe, Ohio, company developed a virtual testing and data analytics system called Q.LIFE®, a solution so successful that the Innovation Research Interchange (the NAM’s innovation division) recognized it with the IRI Innovation Excellence Award for Digital and Technological Innovation. Here’s how they did it.
The problem: To develop its additives for engine oils, industrial lubricants, gasoline and other products, Lubrizol must run expensive tests that often took weeks if not months to complete.
- LIFE® changed the game, by providing more than 1,000 predictive models for different aspects of product development and deployment. For example, Q.LIFE® can help predict the outcome of those tests before they’re conducted, sometimes even eliminating the need to run a test in the first place.
- It also helps the company identify potential issues with raw materials before they end up in Lubrizol’s products.
- Last, as an added benefit, the system serves as an aid for training new employees on company processes.
Putting it to use: “Getting a handful of early adopters to start using it was key to making this a successful analytics system for years to come,” said Lubrizol Senior Manager of Data Science & Analytics Allison Rajakumar, one of the project’s pioneers.
- The team started by training a small group of employees in how to use Q.LIFE®. Those early users provided feedback on the system as it was being launched.
- As the use of the system grew, those employees acted as ambassadors for Q.LIFE® and trained other workers to use it, too.
Looking ahead: Lubrizol plans to expand Q.LIFE® to include more tools and to extend it to other areas of the business.
- The data science team is working with employees in other divisions, such as the company’s supply chain specialists, to develop models that will help optimize their processes as well.
Get involved: Has your company developed innovations to improve its operations and better serve its customers? If so, it might also be eligible for an IRI Innovation Excellence Award.
- Click here to learn more and start your nomination now. Submissions are due by Feb. 15.
For three sisters in Kentucky, manufacturing is a family affair.
Emily Bastin, Heather Craven and Hannah Geneve are all working in maintenance roles supporting various shops at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky. Growing up, they had disparate interests—while Emily had taken robotics classes in middle school and Heather had always enjoyed working with her hands, Hannah switched to manufacturing only after working in customer service. Today, all three of them are building careers in manufacturing together.
How they got here: Emily, Heather and Hannah found their way into manufacturing through FAME—an initiative for current and aspiring manufacturing workers that was founded by Toyota in 2010 and is operated today by the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce development and education affiliate.
- The FAME Advanced Manufacturing Technician program offers on-the-job training and classroom education that combine technical training with professional practices and lean learnings to create world-class technicians. The two-year AMT program leads to an associate degree and the FAME certificate.
- “They came to my school—the AMT program—and I was like, you know, let’s give this a shot,” said Emily. “I didn’t realize I would have that kind of potential. This was cool stuff.”
The family business: Emily was the first of the three sisters to graduate from FAME, and she has been helping her sisters as they work their way through the program. Both Hannah and Heather are enrolled in FAME while working at Toyota, and they expect to graduate in May 2025.
- “We’re all working in the same plant, and if they need anything from me, I’m there to be supportive,” said Emily.
- “With schoolwork, I try to help Heather, and she tries to help me,” said Hannah. “We all help where we can.”
- “It’s nice to have that sister love to lean on,” said Heather. “They understand the frustration of school and work, and it’s been a pleasure to work with them.”
Opportunities abound: The sisters advise others who might not have considered manufacturing as a career—especially women—to give the industry a second look, emphasizing the sheer diversity of jobs on offer.
- “Working in manufacturing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re working on a factory floor,” said Hannah. “There’s an administrative side, an HR side—there’s a lot more to manufacturing than people expect.”
- “I do see us being examples for women who might not normally see themselves in the field,” said Heather. “You want to see women come in and say, hey, I did it, and you can, too. It’s nice to see yourself reflected back.”
The community: It’s not just their family ties that keep the sisters in manufacturing. All three sisters have high praise for their fellow students and colleagues, and for the supportive culture they’ve encountered at Toyota.
- “The mentorship I got helped me gain my confidence while I was learning,” said Emily. “And even now, the teamwork that goes into everything, every day—it’s been a nice surprise.”
- “Everyone has been super nice, super helpful and super welcoming,” said Hannah. “When you start out, it can seem intimidating, but everyone’s willing to help you out. They really want you to succeed.”
The last word: “It’s nice to feel like you’re a part of that network—that family,” said Heather.
The MI’s 35×30 campaign aims to increase the share of women in manufacturing to 35% by 2030 and spotlights outstanding women in the industry like these sisters. To learn more about Women MAKE America and explore its many opportunities, including its new mentorship program, go here.
The Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education provides global-best workforce development through strong technical training, integration of manufacturing core competencies, intensive professional practices and intentional hands-on experience to build the future of the modern manufacturing industry. Learn more here.
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers announced new 2024 leadership for its Council of Manufacturing Associations at the CMA 2024 Winter Leadership Conference. Jennifer Abril, president and CEO of the Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates, will serve as chair, and Alison Bodor, president and CEO of the American Frozen Food Institute, will serve as vice chair.
“The CMA’s mission is to demonstrate the vital importance of manufacturing to the American economy,” said Abril. “In collaboration with the NAM, the CMA’s member associations will advocate for job creation, investment and innovation in American manufacturing. The strength and weight of the CMA’s voice is unparalleled, and I am honored to serve as the champion for our collective industries’ resilience and growth.”
Made up of more than 200 industry-specific manufacturing associations representing 130,000 companies worldwide, the CMA creates powerful partnerships across the industry, working with the NAM to unite the manufacturing association community, and ultimately the broader business community, around strategies for increased manufacturing job creation, investment and innovation in America.
“Jennifer and Alison have been instrumental to the success of the CMA, particularly in pushing back against an onslaught of unsustainable regulations that would crush President Biden’s goal of growing manufacturing in the United States,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “We are confident that they will work in their expanded roles to amplify manufacturers’ voices and further position our industry for global leadership.”
Abril has led SOCMA since 2016. Prior to that, she served as the president of the International Fragrance Association, North America and held leadership positions at the American Chemistry Council. She previously served as CMA vice chair.
Newly appointed 2024 CMA board members include the following:
- Stephen Kaminski, president and CEO, National Propane Gas Association
- Kelly Mariotti, president and CEO, Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
- Ellen Thorp, executive director, EPDM Roofing Association
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.85 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers has launched a seven-figure television and digital advertising campaign opposing the Biden Administration’s new proposal that would allow the government to march in and seize the rights to groundbreaking innovations developed by manufacturers.
“This radical new proposal is a major threat to manufacturers in America and counter to the president’s goals of growing the sector,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Empowering the government to march in and seize the rights to private-sector patents and technologies threatens American innovation and R&D, putting millions of well-paying manufacturing jobs at risk. Policymakers must protect manufacturers’ intellectual property rights and stop this government overreach.”
To view the latest television ad, click here.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.75 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.