I find it amazing how the right people are in the right place at the right time. Grady was the perfect guy to lead us through all of the turmoil over the last few years. Our move to Cleveland; the hiring of a new President; Creating a business with PMA; Dissolving the business with PMA… and yet another move to Cleveland!
Roger followed with his calming effect after the storm. He helped us focus again on the future of the NTMA rather than the micro managing that had been required over the most recent past. During the past few months, we have finally been able to take a deep breath and start looking at the future for the NTMA. Under Roger’s watch, we started to put processes in place to communicate better with our chapters, our teams, and our members. This process, which is so important, was unfortunately neglected in recent times.
Grady’s theme was “Marketing Manufacturing to America” where his message was to ensure that America understood just how important manufacturing is to our future. Without manufacturing, this country would slowly become insignificant. I cannot remember a time in recent history where our industry was getting this much visibility and exposure. Whether it was due to Grady isn’t the question, but it would suggest that he was definitely on target at the right time with his theme.
Roger followed with “Transforming for Competiveness”. Roger wanted us think of how we will transform our companies to succeed in this new business environment that now encompasses the entire world.
We would like to continue the emphasis on how important our industry is with our 2013 theme “Stewardship of the Manufacturing Industry”.
So what does Stewardship of the Manufacturing Industry mean?
I know the word stewardship from my work at church. I know that it means the sharing of our Time, Talent, and Treasure.
My understanding of a steward is: “One who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them, with increase, to the Lord.”
But good stewardship applies to more than just church. It applies to the environment, our own health, our children, our employees. Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted to us. I suggest that we need to be good stewards of our industry. Stewardship is not a program; rather a way of life. It is the way of giving back… with no strings attached.
2013 marks the 70th Anniversary of the National Tooling and Machining Association. Throughout these seventy years, the NTMA has made significant contributions to the precision manufacturing industry through our efforts in Membership Value, Industry Advocacy, Workforce Development, and Governance. It is only appropriate that we celebrate this milestone by re-visiting these important objectives upon which this great organization was built.
- Membership Value – Focus and lead efforts to strengthen membership value in accordance with the association’s strategic plan.
One of the main purposes of any association is to provide value to its members. The NTMA does this in many ways with discount programs, networking opportunities, educational programs, conferences, purchasing fairs, leadership development and more. But it is not just about the programs. We must strive to get the value to our members and sometimes, get our members to the value. With the help of our Next Generation team and the Chapter Executive team, we will do just that.
It is also important to think of how we personally bring value to each other and the industry. How do we take the things we learn at these conferences and in our roundtables, and pass them along to our employees? How are we communicating the value of our services to our customers?
- Industry Advocacy – Focus and lead efforts to promote the value and increase the awareness of precision custom manufacturing; strengthen relationships among industry leaders and advocate on behalf of our members.
Another very important purpose of an association is advocating on behalf of the industry that it represents. The NTMA Government Affairs Team does this in many ways including our work with One Voice. Our partnership with the Precision Metal Forming Association in One Voice is truly making a difference in how the manufacturing industry is being viewed both in Washington DC and by the American public.
Our re-focus of the National Robotic League is to provide industry awareness to younger generations through robotics. NTMA/NRL is providing them with previously unknown career opportunities and it is making a huge impact across the country.
But don’t think that you can leave it all up to the NTMA to advocate the industry. We must all do our part to help with this objective. We need to promote manufacturing and the importance of “making something” to our country in all of our communications. Communicate directly with our representatives so that they have a full understanding of not only how important our industry is to the country, but also how the decisions that they make affect our business.
We need to financially support the efforts of the NTMA Government Affairs Administration Fund (GAAF) and the NTMA political action committee, Committee for a Strong Economy (CAFSE). Get involved! Our voice needs to be heard. The Crazies certainly are.
- Workforce Development – To provide value to NTMA members in the area of Workforce Development.
70 years ago, this association was created by our founding members for the purpose of workforce development. Our Education Team continues that effort today with our newly developed NTMA-U online training, our involvement and support of National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), and our library of educational materials. Our educational foundation, the NTMF, continues to support many training and educational programs across the country with financial grants.
Again, it is our personal responsibility to continually promote manufacturing as a career choice and train our current and future employees. We need to be involved at the local level by promoting manufacturing to our teachers, counselors, even to our next generation’s parents. We can extend that effort by offering those same people, personal tours of our plants. And of course we need to support the NTMA foundation financially so that it can continue to support the great programs that will ultimately keep the pipeline full.
- Governance – Focus and lead the corporation in an ethical manner that brings value to its members while ensuring there is consistent governance and forward looking direction for the NTMA.
- Good governance is paramount to any organization. The Executive Team’s main role is to insure the overall health of the association, not only financially but institutionally. It is our duty to look forward and determine where our industry is heading and to put in place the tools that our members will need to be successful in the future.
Over the last several years, the Executive Team has been somewhat distracted from our primary focus and we have been caught up in the day to day operations of the association. This is in direct conflict with good governance but unfortunately, it was required at the time. We are now at a point where we are once again looking forward as we should be and quite honestly, things are looking great. We have a very competent staff that is managing operations very well. We have a president that is just as focused on the success of the association as any one of us. This is allowing the Executive Team to finally begin to, once again, work on the association rather than in the association.
This same example of good governance holds true for our member companies. We all need to find a way to have the time to look at our companies from the outside and set the direction for the future. This is our responsibility to our employees and our customers. This is our responsibility to the future success of our businesses and the manufacturing industry.
With these objectives in mind, we see that the NTMA has and is continuing to be a great steward of our industry. We need to ask ourselves, “Am I being a good steward of this industry that has given my family and me so much?”
- When you are asked to participate on a team or make a few calls to get people to a meeting, are you saying “yes”?
- When you are invited to make a donation to our Political Action Committee – Committee For a Strong Economy (CFASE) or the Government Affairs Administrative Fund (GAAF), are you saying “yes”?
- When you are asked to make a donation to the NTMF to help in education and training, are you saying “yes”?
- When you have the opportunity to attend a meeting, either a local chapter or national conference, are you saying “yes”?
- When you are asked to complete a survey, are you?
Many of you already do these things and that’s great! But let’s not stop there. Reach out to those other manufacturing companies, members or not, and invite them to help us in our stewardship of this industry.I’ve been thinking a lot about this– Why do we do these things? Why do we volunteer our valuable time? Why do we make financial contributions? I believe that is because we are emotional involved. It has been said that we buy emotionally and justify the purchase rationally. How else do you explain the motorcycle – Better gas mileage right?
Look at all of the great stewards in this room that have given countless hours to our industry… and for what? It certainly isn’t the money. It’s because we are emotionally involved. We are passionate about manufacturing – In this country!
If we are to keep manufacturing in this country, and I believe that we must!, we need to all be emotionally involved and get all of those around us feeling the same way. We all need to be good stewards of the Manufacturing Industry.
We must never forget that our role as leaders is to be good stewards for our future generations. I challenge each of you to be good stewards by becoming involved in all of the activities that will promote and strengthen our manufacturing industry. Buddy up with that local High School and sponsor an NRL Team. Give shop tours to a Scout Troop or youth group in your area. Invite a local Representative to tour your company. Volunteer your time on a NTMA team. This is how you get your value out of the NTMA. This is how you become a good Steward of the Manufacturing Industry.
And if you ever doubt that all these things that we do make a difference, think about what the industry would be like if we didn’t. When I asked Milt Thomas why he continues to train his employees even though many leave to work elsewhere or start their own business, he says “just think what it would be like if none of us did any training”. He goes on to say “We have a choice: train them and maybe they’ll leave, or not train them and maybe they’ll stay”. Milt is training for the industry, not just him. That, my friends, is a great example of a true steward.
So now I’ll leave you as I started; with a question. What does Stewardship of the Manufacturing Industry mean to you?
Again, I am truly honored to be on the Executive Team and to be your NTMA Chairman in 2013. I promise to be a good Steward of our Association and the Manufacturing Industry.