LINCOLN – Four statewide manufacturing groups pledged today to join forces and coordinate their individual efforts to grow manufacturing and STEM workforce in Nebraska over the next decade.
The “Made in Nebraska Manufacturing Alliance” is comprised of:
“Stronger together. That’s the new mantra of this group of energized Nebraska manufacturing leaders,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “The growth and advancement of one of our top industries is constrained – particularly by available talent. To make great strides, we need a great team. Creating this alliance is the beginning of a one-voice/one vision path to progress.”
The Made in Nebraska Alliance will bring efficiency and alignment to several programs designed to help:
The Alliance embraces the economic development priorities put forth in the Blueprint Nebraska report, Growing the Good Life. The report identified 15 signature initiatives with the broadest and deepest impact on statewide quality of life, overall job growth, attracting 18-34-year-olds and the cost of living and doing business in the state. The plan also included a strong focus on growth of key business sectors across Nebraska by accelerating the adoption of technology and unlocking innovation in key industries like agriculture and manufacturing.
Statements from the Made in Nebraska Alliance
Phil Raimondo President and CEO, Behlen Manufacturing
“This Alliance will help highlight the importance of manufacturing in the state of Nebraska as we prepare for future growth and partner with education and business leaders to advocate for advanced technical skills training and continuous learning to increase the pipeline of a skilled workforce across the state.”
Jim Smith, President, Blueprint Nebraska; Chair, Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition (NAMC)
“Manufacturing is part of the fabric of our communities. It supports our producers and provides good-paying jobs. The stability of the sector has helped bring us through the pandemic. And now, manufacturing is playing the critical role of tech-accelerator. It’s time to up our ante in this sector.”
Scott Volk, Vice President and COO, MetalQuest Unlimited; Chair-elect Nebraska Manufacturing Advisory Council (NeMAC)
“Manufacturing is one of the most high-tech industries in the world. As manufacturers, we have not done a great job of promoting our high-tech careers or utilizing our technology to the extent we can. Manufacturing can offer exciting high-tech careers with lots of opportunity and potential. These careers will lead to job growth as we adopt and implement the technology that grows our businesses.
“The Nebraska Manufacturing Alliance will strengthen existing relationships between some manufacturers in the state and foster new relationships, allowing us to work together to grow our high-tech workforce, build needed infrastructure, and address the challenges we will face.
“Nebraska manufacturing has the opportunity to be a leader in modern manufacturing, showing the world how to grow jobs and businesses using technology and automation. Working alongside our public local, state, and education partners, we can make Nebraska Manufacturing as well-known as Nebraska Agriculture.”
Matt Allmand, Director, Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, University of Nebraska – Lincoln (Nebraska MEP)
“Our work ethic makes manufacturing special in Nebraska. The alliance is a collaborative effort to help grow Nebraska. A strong manufacturing base makes a stronger state. The Nebraska MEP is part of the MEP National Network, known as the go-to experts for advancing U.S. manufacturing. We believe in the future of manufacturing and are committed to help train and support the next generation of manufacturing companies and their employees.”
Final report expected in late 2020
LINCOLN – Blueprint Nebraska today highlighted the release of two key white papers outlining the case for broad modernization of Nebraska’s outdated tax system. The organization will consider themes presented in these papers as it prepares to deliver a final report outlining the path to tax reform consistent with its strategic growth plan for Nebraska. A final report is expected in late 2020.
“Nebraska stands poised and positioned for unprecedented economic growth and success,” said Jim Smith, Blueprint Nebraska president. “Tax modernization and reform, as part of the comprehensive Blueprint Nebraska plan, offers the best path for seizing this opportunity. Such an initiative will boost statewide economic competitiveness, growth and prosperity as reflected in higher wages, increased jobs and stronger investment by current and prospective employers.”
The white papers, available at blueprint-nebraska.org, are authored by the Tax Foundation, one of the nation’s leading voices on tax policy, and David Brunori, Senior Director at RSM US LLC and Research Professor of Public Policy at The George Washington University. The two pieces separately recommend a principled approach to modernizing Nebraska’s tax structure.
The tax policy experts supported the following overarching principles to guide tax reform efforts in Nebraska.
In 2019, Blueprint Nebraska released its statewide economic plan, Growing the Good Life. The report identified 15 signature initiatives with the broadest and deepest impact on statewide quality of life, overall job growth, attracting 18-34-year-olds and the cost of living and doing business in the state. The plan also included a strong focus on growth of key business sectors across Nebraska by accelerating the adoption of technology and unlocking innovation in key industries like agriculture and manufacturing.
Blueprint Nebraska Tax Modernization
Blueprint Nebraska Tax Modernization Tax Foundation Report
LINCOLN – CLAAS Omaha Inc. and MetalQuest Unlimited, Inc. of Hebron have been named Nebraska Manufacturers of the Year. MetalQuest received the award for small-sized manufacturers, while CLAAS received the award for large manufacturers.
The award recognizes Nebraska manufacturers that implement innovative ways to conduct business through the use of products, processes, technologies and strategies. The companies were honored Monday at the NE Chamber’s Digital Manufacturing Summit Series, with top sponsor RSM US LLP, a leading provider of assurance, tax and consulting services to the manufacturing and wholesale distribution industries. Other event sponsors include Nebraska Public Power District, Ash Grove, and Behlen.
“Nebraska’s manufacturers are on the cutting edge of innovation that meets both typical demand and that of a pandemic-stricken nation,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “MetalQuest and CLAAS are cases in point. Their innovative cultures offer resilience and stability in uncertain times. We are grateful they’ve chosen Nebraska to build and grow.”
Small Manufacturer of the Year
Headquartered in Hebron, MetalQuest produces tight-tolerance, precision, machined component parts for customers. Now with 56 employees and customers in 27 states who often ship internationally, the company was founded in 1996 in Deshler. It moved to its current location in Hebron in 1999 and has expanded twice since then.
“Innovation happens daily,” said Scott Harms, president. “One of our core values is the ‘third idea’. If you have an idea and I have an idea, we put those together and get the third idea, which is hopefully better than each individual idea.”
According to Harms and Scott Volk, vice president and COO, MetalQuest’s strength is in its employees who continue to adopt and implement the latest automation and technology. This keeps MetalQuest competitive in the marketplace. Two recent examples are a fully automated machining cell that makes oil field retainer segments and a multi-spindle CNC lathe that allows parts to be machined in seconds rather than minutes. Automation and technology help MetalQuest stand out among competitors and international suppliers.
Large Manufacturer of the Year
Introducing the latest series of LEXION combines into the Omaha production line is one of the company’s more significant achievements, according to Matthias Ristow, president and managing director of business administration for CLASS Omaha Inc. The process can often be very disruptive to a production process that relies on accuracy through consistency, but it went relatively smoothly in Omaha.
Now with 138 employees and customers throughout the U.S. and Canada, CLAAS Omaha Inc. came to Nebraska in 2001 and has been expanding ever since.
“CLAAS is a large, global leader in agricultural equipment, but it’s still small enough that we value the input of each of our employees,” said Ristow. Quoting the former Chair of the Supervisory Board, Helmut Claas, he added, “There’s no secret to our success. We just have good ideas and motivated people.”
CLASS Omaha recently developed a dual-education apprenticeship program that includes both theoretical learning offered in typical schooling and formal training in the company and on projects. The program starts later this year.
Nebraska is home to more than 1,500 manufacturers employing 100,000 workers. One in 10 jobs is in manufacturing. The industry contributed more than $14 billion annually to Nebraska’s Gross State Product. Average annual wages in manufacturing exceeded $66,300 in 2018, the most recent year data is available.
The Nebraska Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community since 1912.
Award videos available at https://www.nechamber.com/manufacturers-of-the-year.html
Webinar format fosters local dialogue on workforce, economic development and state elections
LINCOLN – The NE Chamber, community colleges and several local chambers invite business manufacturing leaders across the state to attend the NE Chamber’s Fall Forums held virtually this year from the campuses of Nebraska’s six community colleges.
There is no cost to attend. Featured speakers include NE Chamber President Bryan Slone, Blueprint Nebraska President Jim Smith, and the community college president, state legislators and legislative candidates associated with each region. Register at web.nechamber.com/events. Media representatives are asked to RSVP in advance to accommodate interviews and ensure health protocols are met in each location.
Named “Straight Talk with State Leaders”, this year’s fall forums are designed to inspire community dialogue on economic development and workforce needs unique to each region. They also provide a forum for state and local chamber members to engage directly with local state legislators and legislative candidates as the 2020 General Election approaches.
“The NE Chamber Fall Forums have been a time-honored tradition among state and local chamber members for years. In addition to offering valuable time with state leaders and candidates in an election year, they offer a chance for frank, two-way communication between Chamber members and leadership on the issues affecting business,” said Bryan Slone, NE Chamber president. “We just could not forego the Fall Forums due to the pandemic, so we reworked them into a model that is arguably even more compelling as we march toward economic recovery.”
The Nebraska Chamber is the largest, statewide business association and has proudly served as the voice of Nebraska’s business community to state leaders since 1912.
NE Chamber Regional Fall Forums
Western Nebraska Community College
Wednesday, October 7, 8 – 9:30 a.m. MDT
Mid Plains Community College
Thursday, October 8; 8 – 9:30 a.m. CDT
Metro Community College
Tuesday, October 13, noon – 1:30 p.m. CDT
Southeast Community College
Thursday, October 22, 8 – 9:30 a.m. CDT
Northeast Community College
Friday, October 23, 8 – 9:30 a.m. CDT
Central Community College
Wednesday, November 4, 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. CDT