Orange County Hosts Fifth Regional Manufacturing Summit

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Nov. 14, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

More than one hundred business, industry and local government representatives turned-out on Thursday Nov. 13th in Irvine for the Orange County Manufacturing Summit. Partnering with the Orange County Business Council (OCBC) and Southern California Edison (SCE), CMTA continues to forcefully make its case for both the economic significance of California’s manufacturing sector, and the need to relieve the excess economic and regulatory burdens on manufacturers.

Peter Villegas, from Washington Mutual, program moderator and OCBC Vice-Chair for Economic Development welcomed the group and acknowledged CMTA’s role in initiating and co-sponsoring summits across California. The Honorable Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), CA Assembly Chairman of the Business and Professions Committee, and a member of the Moderate Democrat Caucus told the group that he understood the problems of the manufacturing sector and that his own family roots are tied to manufacturing. Mr. Villegas called the audience’s attention to a letter from the Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, former Assemblyman Bill Campbell, expressing his regrets and not being able to attend but indicating his desire to “work closely with you to identify and move forward with strategies that will help us meet our objectives in this critical area of economic development.”

Larry J. Kosmont, President and CEO of Kosmont Companies presented insight into a new manufacturing study which his firm is conducting for SCE in conjunction with the Rose Institute and an assembly of regional economic development corporations known as the Keystone Group. His research will show that manufacturing is at a critical juncture and needs to be incentivized not further taxed.

Wallace Walrod, OCBC presented regional manufacturing trends by manufacturing sectors and noted that most of the highest skill and highest paid manufacturing jobs in the county have declined significantly and are being backfilled by lower paid and lower skill service jobs. McKinsey and Company’s Bob Sternfels presented a case for “Getting Manufacturing in CA Sustainably Competitive.” Mr. Sternfels spoke of the management systems for aggressive elimination of waste and the necessity for world class procurement practices in the value chain as a means of remaining competitive, but admitted it was a difficult long term commitment. Recognizing that there is a limit on companies to absorb external costs brought on by governmental policies, he too spoke of public policy incentives for manufacturers as an additional means of remaining competitive.

CMTA’s President, Jack Stewart, batting in the “clean-up” position concluded the formal comments with a discussion of the manufacturing cost drivers in California, some political insight into the next legislative session, and an appeal to individuals interested in the welfare of manufacturing to log on to CMTA’s website and register for grassroots updates and alerts.

During the open discussion period, Tim Flathers, President of Beach Manufacturing and Norma Fox, Executive Director of California Films Extrusion and Converters Association offered substantive “real- world” comments from the floor regarding California’s anti-business climate and the negative effects on manufacturers.

Be sure to check CMTA’s Website for complete presentations and for updates on future Summits: http://www.cmta.net/summits

For those CMTA members in the Fresno area, please mark your calendars for the afternoon of Dec. 8th. CMTA in conjunction with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, the Fresno Economic Development Corporation, and CMTC will co-sponsor a Summit to be convened as a special workshop for the Fresno County Board of Supervisors by Board Chairman Juan Arambula.
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