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 Manufacturing Champion 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

Mike Ratliff

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.

New York Fed Forecast

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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) hosted the spring meeting of its Economic Advisory Panel (EAP) on Friday, April 15. As has become the custom at this meeting, the FRBNY staff presented its forecast for U.S. growth, inflation, and the unemployment rate. The forecast predicts growth in 2016 to remain around 2 percent. Available data suggests that growth in the first quarter of 2016 was sluggish, but the EAP predicts that over the remainder of 2016 growth will be around 2½ percent (at an annual rate), supported by generally favorable underlying fundamentals: fairly healthy household and business balance sheets, slightly stimulative fiscal policy, and an accommodating monetary policy. Consumer spending is anticipated to grow around 2½ percent, slightly slower than in 2015, as real income growth is sustained through faster growth of compensation and low overall inflation. Unemployment is also predicted to decline. Read the full report.

Spring Issue of HV MFG is Online

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When we at the Council launched HV MFG three years ago we did so with two goals in mind: To keep our members up to date on all the latest trends and innovations taking place in Hudson Valley manufacturing, and to educate and inform those not directly connected to the sector of its vibrancy and importance.

Today we remain committed to these goals. The magazine has a distribution of 4,000 copies, sent to hundreds of factories, schools, and offices. Each issue is made possible by the generous support of our members, who contribute content and purchase advertising.

Now it is our pleasure to present the online edition of our Spring 2016 issue. In this issue we profile Sal Boutureira, president of SABO Industrial Corporation, visit the family owned Ultra Seal Corporation, peek in at the future of the automobile, and much more. And as always we welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Federal Reserve Revises Manufacturing Reports

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The Federal Reserve may have delivered some bad news to American manufacturing, not from policy but from data revisions. According to the Reserve’s annual revisions to its manufacturing production data, released April 1, the domestic manufacturing industry’s inflation-adjusted growth has been much weaker than previously estimated, both recently and since the current economic recovery began. specifically, the revision shows that US manufacturing has lost nearly four times as much production ground since the last recession broke out than even the prior downward revision revealed. Read more here.

After 5 Months Manufacturing Expands

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After a troubling jobs report American manufacturers will undoubtedly be relieved to hear that their industry had a few bright spots in March. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that its manufacturing index rose to 51.8 in March, up from 49.5 in February. Any reading above 50 signals growth. The report ends a five month streak of declining activity. The improvement suggests that American factories are adapting to economic forces abroad, such as a strong dollar and weakening economies in countries like Japan and China, that have hurt sales domestically. The report also showed that new orders and production improved, but confirmed the jobs report’s finding that manufacturers are cutting jobs.

New Jobs Report Leaves Manufacturers Behind

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An otherwise strong jobs report highlights the continuing struggle of the manufacturing industry in the modern American economy. Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, and the unemployment rate remained at 5%. Companies have been hiring in recent months at a pace not seen before in this century, the NY Times reports. Wages are rising faster than inflation, joblessness is hovering near low levels last reached in 2007 before the recession, and the masses of unemployed people who gave up and dropped out of the job market is not only looking for work, but finding it as well. Yet despite this strong jobs report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics still found that the manufacturing sector had actually lost 29,000 jobs in March. The stark contrast with the rest of the labor market drives home that the manufacturing industry’s struggles are deeper than the weakened post-recession economy.

Durable Goods not so Durable in February

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Factory orders for long-lasting manufactured goods decreased in February, according to a report from the Department of Commerce. So called Durable Goods are seen as a main indicator of the health of the manufacturing industry. Orders fell 2.8% in February after increasing by 4.2% in January. While not enough to erase the previous month’s gains, economists viewed the drop in orders as evidence the American manufacturers are still under pressure.

HV Mfg Preview: Small Manufacturers Specialize and Customize

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The following is excerpted from the upcoming issue of the Council’s HV Mfg Magazine, available this April.

At first look, many manufacturing sectors appear to be dominated by relatively few very large firms. The prospect of a smaller manufacturer competing in these markets and succeeding seems daunting. It can be done.

Even though the weather has not been cooperating this ski season, the ski industry gives us the opportunity to demonstrate two approaches that allow smaller firms to compete in an industry dominated by large players: Specialization and Customization.

Worldwide, the market for downhill skis is about 4 million pairs annually. The market is dominated by four large firms, three with sales near 800,000 pairs per year and the fourth at about half a million pairs per year. There are also a few slightly smaller firms in the 200,000 to 400,000 range. Three out of the four big firms manufacture in the Alps, one has its output produced in China. None of these larger firms is producing in the United States.