With unemployment rates near the lowest in the country, Nebraska has demonstrated its strength in a number of key sectors, including manufacturing, the second largest industry in the state. Nebraska’s manufacturers include thriving businesses in a number of vertical markets, as well as a growing base of “new economy” manufacturers, such as software developers and service providers.
Industry experts and business leaders from these sectors have come together to form The Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council that will advocate for the State’s diverse industries and advise business leaders, government officials and state agency representatives. The Council’s objective is to maximize Nebraska’s overall global competitiveness in manufacturing, as well as provide a forum for discussing and addressing industry-related problems and opportunities.
The Council is comprised of representatives from a wide range of businesses in both size and scope. Members include Dan Koch of Perrin Manufacturing in Alliance, Tony Raimondo Jr. of Behlen Mfg. in Columbus, Roger Bullington of Chief Industries in Grand Island, Nick Cusick of IMSCRP in Lincoln, Scott Harms and Scott Volk of MetalQuest in Hebron, Jack Schreiner of Bruckman Rubber in Hastings, and Mike Baldino of Baldino Enterprises in Omaha. Bradley Walker of Nanonation in Lincoln was elected as Chair for the group at its initial meeting in December.
“This effort brings together some of Nebraska’s best and brightest businesses to focus on connecting the dots between public policy and the potential in our State’s private sector,” said Catherine Lang, Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). “It will serve to build on the great foundation we have today and position Nebraska to achieve an even higher level of success in this sector in the future.”
During the its first two sessions, the newly-appointed Council met with employees of DED,the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Nebraska Department of Labor, and a representative of the National Institute of Standard and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership to explore issues they face in assisting manufacturers. These include helping manufacturers that are facing the end of product cycles to evolve and grow potential new uses or niches for products; actively involving communities in brainstorming innovative, new ideas for recruiting and way beyond; and creating more available sites for development.
“By bringing together traditional manufacturing and the growth of technology-centered products and services in our state, we have a tremendous opportunity to find new synergies and advantages for creating, growing and sustaining businesses in Nebraska that will fuel job growth and revenue generation in all of our communities,” said Walker whose expertise includes software technology.
In addition to advising DED and Nebraska MEP teams on ways to advance Nebraska’s manufacturing competitiveness, the Council also will provide guidance related to new growth-oriented programs and services, including, but not limited to product innovation, talent acquisition, development and retention, continuous process and quality improvements, supply chain collaboration, sustainability and global engagement.