NY Fed’s Employment Survey

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Last week we brought you up to date on the New York Federal Reserve’s latest manufacturing survey, now let’s dive into the Fed’s supplemental report on workers and employment. When asked how their ability to retain employees had changed over the past year roughly 25% of firms in the manufacturing sector reported that it had gotten harder while just 1% said it had gotten easier. The responses were more negatively skewed than in June 2015, the last time these questions were asked. When asked about raising wages by more than usual in order to retain existing workers 55% of manufacturers said they were doing that for “some” job categories, while 20% said they were doing that for “most” of them. Roughly a third of manufacturers reported plans to increase employment in the year ahead, and 13% said they planned to reduce it. Nearly 80% reported having at least some difficulty finding qualified job candidates.

May’s New York Manufacturing Survey

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York released its monthly manufacturing survey this week. The report indicates that business activity declined for the state’s manufacturers. Following a brief foray into positive territory in March and April, the general business conditions index turned negative, falling nineteen points to -9.0, while the new orders and shipments indexes also fell below zero, to -5.5 and -1.9 respectively, pointing to a decline in both. Additionally, survey results indicated that inventory levels were lower and delivery times shorter. Employment levels remained fairly steady, with the index for number of employees roughly the same at 2.1, while the average workweek index declined ten points to -8.3, evidence that the average workweek was shorter this month. Read the full report.

Champions Breakfast Catch-up

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We had a phenomenally successful Champions Breakfast on Friday. The support from our sponsors, our guests, or presenters, and of course, our Champions is what makes this all possible, so once again we want to thank all of you for your support. and for those of you who weren’t able to attend here’s a brief rundown of what you missed.

 

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The private sector champion was Michael Ratliff, President of Poughkeepsie based Marco Manufacturing, Inc. When Atlantic Design Corporation closed their Poughkeepsie facility, where Mike Ratliff was General Manager, he decided to open his own manufacturing business (Marco Manufacturing). “20 years ago we all got laid off,” Ratliff recalled before introducing some of the employees who had been with him since Atlantic Design, “And we’re here now because we all stuck with it and made a plan.”

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For public sector champion Dr. Cliff Wood, President of SUNY Rockland was selected by the Council’s Board of Directors. Dr. Wood has led efforts to meet the workforce development needs of Hudson Valley Manufacturers through the creation of the Manufacturing Center at the college’s Haverstraw campus and the expansion of its 3D Printing Center. The college has also begun, in partnership with the Council of Industry, a Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership. “This is all of our jobs,” Wood said, “To improve the economic development of this great state.”

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Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress was the organization honored this year. Pattern has recently finished a project which mapped all the workforce and economic development resources in the region that support manufacturing. This “Asset Map” will become an integral part of a sector based regional economic and workforce development strategy. “I believe in lost causes” said Pattern CEO Jonathan Drapkin, “Pattern is there to create an environment in which other people can prosper.”

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Last but not least, Mark Harris of Ulster BOCES was chosen to be the first ever educator champion. A teacher in metal trades, as well as the leader of the Solar Car project, the MIT robotic arm project, and the NASA prototype project. He has worked to build the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) classroom, and encouraged countless young people to pursue careers in machining. “My students have coming in on the weekend, they are dedicated students,” Harris said in accepting, “They are why I do what I do.” As part of the presentation Harris and his team of high school students, the Ulster BOCES Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam, demonstrated the robotic exoskeleton arm they designed and built under his tutelage. The device was touted as a tool to aid victims of stroke and paralysis with their physical therapy.073

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Manufacturing Champions: 1 Day to Go

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It’s almost here. We’ve been counting the days until our Manufacturing Champions Breakfast for over a month now, and now it’s only a day away. In that time we’ve introduced you to this year’s winners, given a brief history of the awards, and now for the final blog entry before this year’s awards are given out we thought we should explain a little bit about how our Champions are selected.

The process is actually very simple. It begins with the community, and paperwork. Early each year the Council sends out invitations to businesses, schools, and not-for-profits in the Hudson Valley asking them to submit for consideration any individual or organization they feel is deserving of he award. Once the paperwork is filed the nominees are then presented to the Council’s Board of Directors in a private meeting where they face the difficult task of whittling the long roster of potential recipients down to four Champions. There are so many deserving names that no one has ever been named a Champion twice. While the Board’s personal experience plays a role in determining the winners, a detailed and well articulated nomination form is the most important asset for a nominee.

Manufacturing Champions: A Quick History

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On May 13th at The Powelton Club in Newburgh, the Council of Industry will present its annual Manufacturing Champions Awards. This will mark the 10th year the awards have been handed out since they began in 2006 (they took a year off in 2010 to make way for the Council’s centennial celebration). They’ve grown quite a bit from their humble beginnings.

The first award was never intended as an annual event. It was actually an attempt to recognize the NY State Senator Stephen Saland for his support of manufacturing after he had secured an annual member item for Dutchess Community College to provide training for manufacturing employees. Positive reception of the event persuaded the Council’s board of directors that there was untapped PR potential in an award specifically designed to spotlight the local manufacturing industry. Taylor Thompson in 2007 became the second champion, and the first from the private sector, he received his award for his work with Taylor Technologies. 2008 marked the first time the Council selected more than one champion, with Roger Smith representing the private sector for his work at Pawling Corp and Senator William Larkin honored for his service in the public sector. When the awards resumed in 2011 the Council introduced a third category meant to honor the work of an entire organization rather than a single individual. Central Hudson became the first such organization to receive the award. This year the Council will debut a fourth Manufacturing Champion category devoted solely to honoring educators who have inspired a passion for manufacturing and engineering in their schools. Mark Harris of Ulster BOCES will be the first recipient for his work as the lead mentor and Custom Robotics Design & Manufacturing Instructor, and leader of the Solar Car project, the MIT robotic arm project, and the NASA prototype project.

In addition to Harris, this year’s recipients also include Private Sector Champion Mike Ratliff, founder of Marco Manufacturing, for his dedication to keeping manufacturing jobs in the area. Public Sector Champion Cliff Wood, the president of SUNY Rockland, is being recognized for his work bringing the 3D printing lab to campus. The entire Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress organization is being honored for 50 years of regional planning, especially its recent efforts to revitalize manufacturing in the region. There’s still time to register to attend the breakfast on Friday, May 13

Manufacturing Champion Profile: Cliff Wood

Cliff Wood photoThe Council of Industry has named the recipients of its annual Manufacturing Champion awards. The award recognizes individuals from the private sector, public sector, and education, along with an organization, who through vision, dedication, hard work and tireless involvement have helped to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley community and have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper.

For our final Manufacturing Champion profile we turn to our oldest honor, Public Sector Champion. This year the recipient if Dr. Cliff Wood for his outstanding leadership as President of SUNY Rockland. Since assuming that position in 2004 Wood has overseen major growth in the College’s enrollment, community involvement, and workforce development. The Council is particularly supportive of the many manufacturing-related programs on campus he has backed, such as the Haverstraw Manufacturing Center/3d Printing Lab, the TAACCCT Grant, and the Certificate in Manufacturing Leadership Program. Additionally, his leadership in forming the Hudson Valley Community College partnership has been beneficial to manufacturers throughout the Hudson Valley. Wood has also served as president of the New York Community Colleges Association of Presidents from 2009-2013, and as a member of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, and he was a friend of manufacturing in that capacity as well.

“Dr. Wood’s leadership in support of manufacturing in Rockland County and throughout the Hudson Valley are second to none,” Said Harold King, Council of Industry Executive Vice President, “The creation of the Haverstraw manufacturing center; the creation of the Hudson Valley Community College Consortium; the college’s preeminent role in workforce development are just a few examples of his commitment to manufacturing and to regionalism.”

ICYMI check out our profile on Private Sector Champion Mike Ratliff, Education Champion Mark Harris, and Organization Champion Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. And be sure to get your tickets to our annual Manufacturing Champions Breakfast.

Manufacturing Champion Profile: Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress

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The Council of Industry has named the recipients of its annual Manufacturing Champion awards. The award recognizes individuals from the private sector, public sector, and education, along with an organization, who through vision, dedication, hard work and tireless involvement have helped to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley community and have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper.

In addition to honoring the achievements of individuals, each year the Council makes sure to recognize the work of an organization whose work and achievements are too great for just one person. This year the organization to be so honored is Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. Fresh off celebrating its 50th anniversary in December, Pattern remains a vital player in promoting the local economy. When business and academic leaders, including the Council, founded Pattern in 1965, their goal was to “build consensus for a pattern of growth that will insure a high quality of life,” and providing, “adequate opportunities and incentives for capital formation and meaningful, gainful employment.”

Today Pattern brings together business, nonprofit, academic and government leaders from across as many as nine counties to collaborate on regional approaches to affordable housing, local government efficiency, P-12 education, and other issues that most impact the growth and vitality of the regional economy.

“Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress since its inception has fostered regional cooperation for thoughtful, planned growth for the Hudson Valley,” said Harold King Council of Industry Executive Vice President. “In 2015 this included the creation of a regional manufacturing ‘asset map’ that carefully inventories all the workforce and economic development resources available to our sector. This map is a vital tool in our ongoing efforts to support manufacturing in the region. For this and all their work they are a worthy manufacturing champion.”

ICYMI check out our profile on Private Sector Champion Mike Ratliff, and Education Champion Mark Harris. Check back on Friday to learn about our Public Sector Champion, Cliff Wood. And be sure to get your tickets to our annual Manufacturing Champions Breakfast.

Manufacturing Champion Profile: Mark Harris

Mark Harris

The Council of Industry has named the recipients of its annual Manufacturing Champion awards. The award recognizes individuals from the private sector, public sector, and education, along with an organization, who through vision, dedication, hard work and tireless involvement have helped to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley community and have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper.

For the first time this year the Council has named a Manufacturing Champion in a fourth field, Educator, to join the existing categories of Public Sector, Private Sector, and Organization. While educators have always been eligible to be named a Public Sector Champion, (indeed, this year that award will be presented to Cliff Wood, the president of SUNY Rockland) our board of directors felt that educating and inspiring future STEM leaders was so important it warranted its own category. And for the first ever recipient it’s hard to think of a more deserving recipient than Mark Harris.

Harris is a teacher in metal trades at the Ulster County BOCES program. He is also the lead mentor and Custom Robotics Design & Manufacturing Instructor, as well as the leader of the Solar Car project, the MIT robotic arm project, and the NASA prototype project. During his tenure there Harris has worked to build the CNC classroom at Ulster BOCES and has encouraged countless young people to pursue careers in machining. “He is passionate about manufacturing, machining and teaching. He is committed to the success of his students and he is constantly looking for new experiences that will motivate them and empower them.” Says the Council’s Executive Vice President Harold King. “He has quietly built one of the premier High School Machining programs in the state. If ever there was a person who could be called ‘Manufacturing Champion Educator’ it is Mark Harris. We are fortunate to have him in the Hudson Valley.”

ICYMI check out our profile on Private Sector Champion Mike Ratliff. Check back on Tuesday to learn about our Organization Champion, Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress. And be sure to get your tickets to our annual Manufacturing Champions Breakfast.

Manufacturing Champion Profile: Michael Ratliff

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The Council of Industry has named the recipients of its annual Manufacturing Champion awards. The award recognizes individuals from the private sector, public sector, and education, along with an organization, who through vision, dedication, hard work and tireless involvement have helped to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley community and have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper.

This year’s Private Sector Champion is Mike Ratliff, the president and general manager of Marco Manufacturing, located in Poughkeepsie. For years Mike was employed as the General Manager for Atlantic Design Corporation, but in 1996 Atlantic Design decided decision to close their Poughkeepsie facility. Mike, however, wasn’t ready to give up on the region or its workers, and so he took on the challenge of opening his own manufacturing business. Today Marco Manufacturing is celebrating its 20th anniversary as one of the region’s leading electronics manufacturers. It employs over 30 people, most of them former Atlantic Design employees, and services more than 25 customers.

“Mike is truly committed to manufacturing in the Hudson Valley,” Harold King, Executive Vice President of the Council of Industry says. “He actually lives in Montclair, NJ, and for the last 20 years has made the 90 minute commute each way to keep the business in Poughkeepsie. This effort is emblematic of Mike’s vision, dedication and tireless involvement and is part of the reason the Council of Industry is proud to name him a Manufacturing Champion.”

Check back on Friday to learn about our Education Champion, Mark Harris. And be sure to get your tickets to our annual Manufacturing Champions Breakfast.

Flasback Friday: Television’s Rocky Start

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Usually we dedicate this blog to the current goings on in the manufacturing and engineering worlds, for today though we’re going to spotlight a bit of engineering history. In 1927 future president Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, took part in the first public demonstration of inter-city television broadcasting. Hoover’s brief remarks from Washington, were seen on television screens at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York City, 200 miles away, making them the world’s first televised spech. A serious problem that would delay major development in television at the time was that of frequency resolution. A clear image would require a frequency band of four million cycles, compared to the 400 cycles required for a clear audio transmission in radio. Although there was still decades of work to do before TV could take its place in the American home, it was nevertheless an important step forward.