by Mark DiMaio
Over 250 people attended the State Chamber’s annual Spring Legislative Conference & Manufacturing Brunch. This year’s conference, called “The Future Is Now: Reinventing Manufacturing in Delaware,” highlighted Delaware’s commitment to energizing its manufacturing base.
"Manufacturing makes Delaware stronger," said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester during her opening remarks highlighting the importance of manufacturing in Delaware. The conference keynote speaker was lean manufacturing expert Gary Convis, formerly with the Toyota Motor Corporation and now a senior advisor at Bloom Energy. Mr. Convis brought the “Toyota Way,” a management and manufacturing approach that offered streamlined processes and leadership that is committed to continuous employment for its workforce. He spoke to the importance of developing leaders that create an environment that empowers their employees to stop a manufacturing production line if they detect a problem.
Governor John Carney provided the brunch keynote speech focusing on working together in a bipartisan manner, like the creation of the public-private Delaware Prosperity Partnership to enhance Delaware’s high quality workforce. The Governor also highlighted the importance of a regulatory and tax environment that encourages manufacturers to grow and locate in Delaware. A special thank you to Dr. Mark Brainard for hosting the conference at Delaware Tech’s Del-One Conference Center.
by Mark DiMaio
The future is now for expanding the state’s manufacturing sector. While manufacturing jobs in Delaware continue to increase at a modest pace, building blocks have been put into place to spring Delaware forward. Delaware manufacturing will need to combine organic growth with the long-term development of heavier industries in abandoned and underutilized locations. The modernized Coastal Zone Act should propel new investment in Delaware’s manufacturing sector.
In order for Delaware manufacturing to flourish, a strong and skilled workforce in essential. Many Delaware manufacturers are working with Delaware Technical Community College’s workforce training department to develop future employees to handle the rigors of 21st century advanced manufacturing. This advanced training is needed to develop skilled employees to replace older workers who are retiring. In addition to instruction in subjects such as computer programming and robotics, training also focuses on developing better ‘soft’ skills, such as leadership, teamwork and problem-solving, in order to compete in the modern workplace.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the Delaware Manufacturing Association invite you to learn more the about the future of Delaware Manufacturing at the Spring Legislative Brunch & Manufacturing Conference.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce held its annual Legislative Brunch & Manufacturing Conference on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. We thank the event’s presenting sponsor, Delaware Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and host sponsor, Delaware Technical Community College. The event, held at DTCC’s Terry Campus in Dover, welcomed 250 guests and began with exhibitors and networking in the morning, followed by a manufacturing-focused panel discussion.
The manufacturing session’s panel focused on “Building the Manufacturing Pipeline” by way of Delaware’s Pathways to Prosperity program. Panelist Heath Chasanov, Superintendent of Woodbridge School District, shared the success the program has had in his district. His sentiments were supported by a Manufacturing Pathway student from Woodbridge High School, who communicated her experience in the program, obtaining various accreditations, building a strong foundation for her career, and her passion for using her manufacturing skills in the agricultural industry.
Kuehne Chemical Company Plant Manager, Alan Rogers, gave employer insight to the importance of the Pathways Program and how it’s not just the technical skills, but also the soft skills, that the students are bringing to the workplace that is impressive. Mary Ann Pacelli, Manager of Workforce Development, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, NIST offered a national perspective, sharing that while Delaware is not alone in its challenges in growing and sustaining the workforce pipeline, it certainly has a model that is effective and worthy of replication. The panel was moderated by Paul Morris, Assistant Vice President, Workforce Development at Delaware Technical Community College. A question and answer session followed with great discussion about growing the program, and encouraging diversity within enrollment.
Governor Carney gave the keynote address, during which he spoke to some areas of key concern, including the State’s budget shortfall; the effects of Delaware’s population, which is both increasing and seeing a significant rise in the retirement-age demographic; and, to further support the morning’s panel, the need for skilled workers in a growing manufacturing industry. The Governor touted Delaware’s size as its greatest asset in overcoming the trials ahead, namely in being able to work together, be it across party lines to push business-friendly legislation, or across the street to partner with a nearby organization, school or business.
Also announced at the event was the Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship Program, to support students pursuing careers in engineering, manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. The scholarship honors the late Frank Masley of Masley Enterprises, and his perseverance, commitment to excellence, and many achievements. Donations to the endowment fund can be made by check made payable to the DTCC Educational Foundation (‘Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship’ in the memo line), P.O. Box 897, Dover, DE 19903; or online at www.dtcc.edu/makeagift (‘Frank Masley Memorial Scholarship’ in Special Donor Instructions box).
The Chamber would like to thank the following organizations for their support: Presenting Sponsor DEMEP; Gold Sponsors Bank of America and Delmarva Power; Silver Sponsors Agilent Technologies, Chemours, Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO), and Kuehne Company; Bronze Sponsors Advanced Power Products & Solutions, Inc., Associates International, AstraZeneca, Delaware City Refining Company, Delaware Electric Coop, Dow, Edgewell Personal Care, Item Mid-Atlantic, LegalShield, Mountaire, NIIMBLE, PPG, and W. L. Gore; and Media Sponsor Delaware Business Times.
by James DeChene
The week started off with the Delaware State Chamber and Delaware Manufacturing Association hosting the annual Legislative Brunch and Manufacturing Conference. Attended by over 200, along with two dozen state officials, the event highlighted recent manufacturing growth in Delaware. Remarks by Governor Markell touting this growth, along with the success the Pathways to Prosperity advanced manufacturing curriculum has had this year, capped off the brunch.
At Legislative Hall this week, a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage was put into limbo in the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce committee. The bill will not likely see any further action this year, barring any last minute horse trading on June 30. Should the bill not see any further action, it would have to be reintroduced next year in the 149th General Assembly. The Delaware State Chamber will continue to monitor and provide updates as needed.
A bill relating to parking lots, handicapped spaces and restriping was not released from the House Public Safety Committee. The bill, introduced and released from that Committee last June, was substitute language for the original bill. With input from the Counties and several Chambers, the bill was modified, but still not acceptable to the broader business community. It is unclear as of now whether the bill will be modified further, be “walked around” to release it from committee, or if it will remain in Committee seeing no further action this session, much like the Minimum Wage bill.
The General Assembly is out for two weeks for Easter break, and returns on April 12. More updates from Dover upon their return.
by Mark DiMaio
The Delaware Manufacturing Association (DMA) kicked off 2016 by hosting Delaware Governor Jack Markell for a manufacturing policy discussion. The Governor was introduced by State Chamber President Richard Heffron and DMA Chairman, Brian Nixon of Invista.
The Governor was quick to recognize the workforce development efforts of DMA and its members. The Governor highlighted the fact that in just over two years, the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative, has grown from just one program with a couple of dozen students to an initiative that will reach 5,000 students in 29 Delaware high schools.
DMA Vice Chair Liza Bartle with Agilent Technologies was highlighted in Governor Markell’s State of State press release “as representative of private sector employers who have joined the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative, which places students with employers to learn valuable job skills that today’s employers need, from manufacturing to computer networking, health care, and culinary arts. Business partners are committing to increase the number of students who gain the opportunity to work directly with employers.”
In addition to Agilent Technologies, DMA members PPG, AstraZeneca, Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, Kuehne Chemical Co., Bloom Energy, DuPont, FMC BioPolymer and Delaware City Refinery all offered craftsmanships to students. We continue to look for organizations willing to participate in the program in 2016.
Governor Markell also highlighted the legislature’s quick passage and his signing of the Delaware Competes Act (HB 235), a law changing the way corporate income tax is calculated to ensure companies don’t pay more for decisions to hire and expand in the state. The bipartisan bill received near unanimous approval from the Delaware General Assembly and will serve as another tool to help Delaware attract news business to the state.
Please mark your calendars for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Spring Legislative Brunch and Manufacturing Conference to be held on Tuesday, March 22nd at DelTech’s Terry Campus in Dover. Click here for more information.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.