The New England Council Tours Regional Manufacturers with Senators Angus King and Kelly Ayotte

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Jim Brett, Senator Angus King, Wilcox CEO Jim Teetzel, and Senator Kelly Ayotte

touring Wilcox Industries on September 11, 2015.

On Friday, September 11, 2015, New England Council President & CEO Jim Brett toured regional manufacturers in New Hampshire and Maine with Senator Angus King and Senator Kelly Ayotte to highlight the strength and potential of New England’s manufacturing sector.

The impetus for the tour was the release of the Council’s and Deloitte’s advanced manufacturing report, “Advanced to Advantageous: The Case for New England’s Manufacturing Revolution,” which demonstrated the importance of regional cohesion in leveraging the economic benefits of and creating the conditions for a growing manufacturing sector in New England. Prior to the tours, Senators Ayotte and King issued a joint statement saying, “New England’s manufacturing sector continues to grow and provide well-paying jobs for families in the region. We look forward to meeting with business leaders and workers on the Seacoast to hear their input on ways we can help prepare our workforce for jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector and ensure that these manufacturers continue to grow and thrive.”

The first stop on the tour was at the Pratt & Whitney facility in North Berwick, Maine. Pratt & Whitney is a leading aerospace manufacturer that serves both commercial and government clients, and their one million square foot facility in Maine and houses over 1,400 employees. During the tour, Senators Ayotte and King and NEC President & CEO Jim Brett learned about Pratt & Whitney’s efforts to partner with local higher education institutions, such as NEC member Southern Maine Community College, to offer apprenticeship programs where students gain first hand industry experience while continuing their studies in the classroom. Programs like this are a key recommendation of the Council’s report as a means to address the skills gap faced by employers who cannot fill open positions through the creation and strengthening of robust workforce development programs.

The second stop on the tour was at Wilcox Industries, a designer, manufacturer, and tester of high quality tactical products for military and law enforcement agencies around the Globe, in Newington, NH. Wilcox Industries has over 200 employees who work to build unique products, such as firearms, uniforms, and protective gear, to be used in combat operations. Wilcox Industries CEO Jim Teetzel discussed the importance of financial and human capital saying, “Investing in people and investing in technology is the way we can compete globally in advanced manufacturing.”

The New England Council thanks Senator Ayotte, Senator King, Pratt & Whitney, Wilcox Industries, and all of the other participants in the manufacturing tour. We look forward to working with both Senators as they continue their advocacy on behalf of manufacturing in New England. The Council, through its Advanced Manufacturing Working Group and other outlets, will do its part by continuing to be a voice for manufacturers in the region and as we share and seek to implement the findings and recommendations of our report with Deloitte.

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