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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Dec 04, 2018

The Value Associations Provide to Manufacturers and Their Communities

We can all use someone in our corner.

Someone who resources, educates, and advocates for us.

As an industrial executive, there might not seem to be many avenues or opportunities to find someone who has both our best interests in mind and is qualified and resourced to help.

Organizations like Manufacturer’s Association of Central Florida (MACF) exist to do just that. They are a unified voice for manufacturers of all shapes and sizes, providing critical services like community education and grant assistance.

Sherry Reeves was a recent guest on The Industrial Executive podcast. Sherry has been the executive director at MACF for more than 10 years and she shared with us some of the great things associations do help manufacturers.

Here’s some highlights of what Sherry and her team are doing in the Central Florida area through MACF.

1. Creating Connections in the Industry and Community

One way MACF is making an impact is by providing one unified voice that can be heard outside of the immediate manufacturing world.

Working with small manufacturers, MACF and other associations are making sure the industry is heard and represented within the community as well as when it comes to seeking legislation. They are advocates who understand and can prove what manufacturers are doing to put money back into the economy.

MACF is even connecting manufacturing and industrial executives to each other and providing opportunities for busy execs to meet face to face and learn from each other’s wins and losses.

It’s a central point for sharing best practices, no matter what size your plant, and encourages leaders to ask for help. Even if the team at the association can’t help, they will find a peer in your world who can.

“It’s okay to ask for help. We truly, truly, want to help you, to see you thrive, because you are putting money back into our community.”

2. Education Within Schools and Other Industries

By 2025, there will be 3.5 million new jobs in manufacturing, and will be 3.7 million qualified workers short. qualified ppl, medical, homeland security, food.

Associations like MACF are going hard to make sure that the next generation understand that manufacturing is a lucrative and rewarding career choice. They’re spending significant resources on going into high schools and colleges and promoting manufacturing jobs, even creating internship programs that can be rolled into college credit.

“I’m really proud to say this year, we gave away 5 scholarships.” - Sherry Reeves

There are 4 main education points they focus on:

  1. With all the new technology (e.g. virtual reality) coming up, there are more high wage jobs in manufacturing than ever.
  2. Educating teachers, counselors, students and parents on all the different opportunities in manufacturing.
  3. There are more positions available beyond the need for engineers--like accountants, a sales force, HR, even social media.
  4. People like machinists or technicians, can easily crossover from other, less lucrative industries.

3. Building Business Acumen and Providing Manufacturing Insights

Other areas that associations are providing value to industry executives are industry insights and business acumen.

As an association is made up of many small manufacturers, they’re able to see a bigger picture of what is happening in the industry, both locally and nationally, through many different connections.

Pain points like supply chain issues can be relieved as one executive is put in touch with another who can help them.

There’s business acumen growth as associations are able to provide services like a business advisor who can help with immediate questions and can also help executives search and apply for grants.

Making the Most of An Association

Realize you have to be involved and engaged. Be an active mentor to your own employees, but also with the manufacturing programs in your area.

As we look to the future, and the development of technology. There’s so much our community doesn’t realize we do--we have to educate our community.” - Sherry Reeves

As you partner with associations in your community, you’re helping cultivate an interest in manufacturing and, ultimately, you’re entering into a wider ecosystem of connected industrial executives and community partners that everyone will benefit from.

Listen to our chat with Sherry anywhere you get your podcasts.


Topics: Manufacturing, Industrial Executive