By Kevin Kane, President – Southeast Wisconsin Market, First Business Bank
Coming away from the 25th Annual Manufacturing Matters Conference, there are many things to reflect on. To start, First Business Bank was grateful for the opportunity to again support WMEP Manufacturing Solutions as a Platinum sponsor. This year’s event saw record attendance of well over 500 people; it was clear participants were energized to gather in person for the second year in a row, eager to catch up with each other, to learn, and to share their perspectives on both the challenges and opportunities for manufacturers throughout the state.
I was impressed with the quality of the various educational tracks, including operational excellence, growth strategies, supply chain management, automation and technology, and talent. The business leaders and subject matter experts presenting brought forward new ideas as well as practical advice that participants can bring back to their organizations to drive success. For the sessions I joined, it was evident by the questions and conversations that participants were actively engaged.
The afternoon Keynote Presentation by John Koskinen, Chief Economist for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, was an affirmation of the importance of the manufacturing sector to the state’s economy. And Mr. Koskinen’s statistics around low unemployment, high workforce participation rates, educational levels, sound fiscal policies, and the contribution of manufacturing to overall GDP, confirmed Wisconsin’s leadership position in the U.S. Without dismissing some of the current uncertainty within the economy, we are well-positioned to weather a storm and continue to thrive.
A final thought. The important role WMEP Manufacturing Solutions plays in supporting manufacturers throughout Wisconsin cannot be overstated. While Manufacturing Matters appropriately receives a lot of attention, it is the work done by WMEP Manufacturing Solutions and other partners throughout the year to help companies succeed that is the best measure of value delivered. As our state motto proclaims: Forward!