MPMA Representing You at One Voice Conference

April 13, 2016 No Comments
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So it’s the annual National Tooling and Machining Association/Precision Metalforming Association (NTMA/PMA) One Voice Conference. Representing the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association (MPMA) as this year’s president, I joined a group of manufacturers from across the country to meet with our nation’s leaders on issues that matter most to us.

The priorities for this year’s meetings are to seek support for:

  1. Tax reform for all companies, including the pass-throughs;
  2. Job recruitment, training, and advanced technical education initiatives;
  3. Encouraging federal regulators to work with manufacturers, not against them.

Today we met with senators and their aides in the Hart Building. Tomorrow we visit representatives at the Cannon House Office Building. I find it interesting that these two buildings are on the opposite sides of the Capitol office building complex. What’s up with that? Wouldn’t it be easier to work together if they were connected by, say, a skyway, across the street from one another? How Minnesotan of me, I know. I understand tunnels do connect the buildings, but I haven’t seen them.

Anyway, so today we met with Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s aide. He looked like he was about 22 years old. I’m not lying. Must be a sign that I’m getting older. I was joined by Angela Petersen, MPMA’s Executive Director, and Erick Ajax and Kristen Olsen of E.J. Ajax and Sons, as well as Scott Schmidt of The Black Line Group. Later, we were fortunate enough to be joined by Ron Lowry, the Chairman and CEO of Dayton Rogers, among others, when we sat down with Sen. Al Franken. Himself.

I found Sen. Franken remarkably personable, relaxed, and interested. And for those of you who remember his entrée to manufacturing back at a Manufacturing Coalition event when he first was elected, you will be as impressed as I was to know that I found him to be very well informed – and an advocate. A delightful meeting.

Tomorrow our schedule is much busier: we meet with Rep. John Kline, an aide for Rep. Betty McCollum, Rep. Tom Emmer, an aide for Rep. Keith Ellison, and an aide for Rep. Erik Paulsen. I’m looking forward to it.

I think I could get the hang of this – our role is to help them help us. We are doing important work here. Whether our representatives themselves – or their hardworking young aides – sit down with us, in either case our voices are heard. And providing pithy sound bites seems to be effective.

And here’s a pithy comment for you to keep in mind, attributed to John Guzik, of The Franklin Group (lobbying firm representing the manufacturing community): “if you’re not in Washington, D.C. with the legislators, you’re on the menu.”  Keep that in mind next year, when you have an opportunity to be here yourself to represent us. We need you.

The bottom line is: we need to show up … voice our priorities … demonstrate our level of commitment. One day, one person, one meeting at a time. It really does make a difference.


B Kyle is the vice president of Strategic Development for the Saint Paul Port Authority.

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