On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.
This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing. The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.
Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.
One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program. Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.
Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.
President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.
Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.
Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.