#NN14: Netroots Nation

The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) flew to Detroit for the ninth annual Netroots Nation conference.

Check it out here.

via Storify http://sfy.co/ampl -- July 23, 2014 at 12:07PM


Drink Up With an American-made Tervis Tumbler

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Looking for a way to cool off during the hot summer months? A Tervis tumbler will keep your drink cold in the heat.
Founded in Detroit in 1946, the family-owned and operated company is famous for its insulated plastic cups for both cold and hot beverages. The brand’s unique name comes from its founders, engineers Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis, who combined the last three letters of their last names to create the word, “Tervis.”
The drinkware company’s products are now crafted by a team of more than 900 people in North Venice, FL, where the company is headquartered. Kathy Greif, vice president of Marketing, explains that the company's Made in the USA commitment is good for business:
Not everybody knows that we make our products in America. And when they hear that, they’re just so proud to hear that we’ve been making our products in America since 1946, since we were created.
The company first launched by offering customers a tall, cylindrical tumbler. Today, Tervis features a selection of eight sizes and an infinite array of customizable color and design selections, so anyone can find a tumbler to fit their personal style.

And when you buy a Tervis tumbler, not only are you making an investment in American production — the hand-assembled products also come guaranteed a lifetime warranty.
Tervis continues to grow. In 2011, the company opened nine stores and employed hundreds of new workers.  Tervis also debuted a new design in 2013 that features the phrase, “I Support ‘Made in America.” As Greif says:
We hear over and over how important it is to buy made in America. It has created jobs for us at Tervis. And with the economy… it’s extra important. It’s creating jobs in America.
Check out the Tervis line of products (or design your own!).
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this post.
Photo credit: Frankenmuth River Place Shops.


So Excellent, So Bodacious: Check Out Some American-made Smartphone Style

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

Bodacious Cases, the waterproof, protective, and customizable iPhone casemaker, wears its American-made heart on its sleeve. Founded on July 4, 2012, the company is headed by a partnership between CEO Arianna Russell, a young entrepreneur passionate about the Made In America cause; and Precise Mold and Engineering, which specializes in injection molding, thermo plastics, and thermoset plastics.
The partnership has gotten some press, too; the Precise plant in Missouri was visited in December 2012 by ABC News, which featured the company and the casemaker as a part of their Made in America series.
But why so American-made? Russell’s dedication to domestic manufacturing came from her father, a Vietnam war veteran. She explains that keeping it American-made is a way of thanking him and other veterans for their service.
I feel manufacturing overseas is a great idea if, as the owner, I want to make a few extra bucks,” Russell has explained. “But to me, it’s about more than just money. Those few extra dollars kill jobs, which is the next generation, and I do not want to see that happen. I would rather make less money and create more American jobs.”
Bodacious Cases turned two years old this past Independence DayIts birthday wish? To create 100 new American jobs by next year.
People were saying, ‘Just go to China. You can’t do it in the U.S. It’s going to be expensive,’” Russell said. “I found a way to do it here. I proved them all wrong. And it means a lot to me. Our packaging, our cases, our screens – every little thing, even our T-shirts – are 100 percent made here in the U.S.A.”
Shop Bodacious’ iPhone Cases or customize your own here.
Photo courtesy Bodacious Cases and the Made In America Store.

This post authored by AAM Intern Lauren Pak.


Let's Build a Bridge and Fix the Highway Trust Fund

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

The clock is ticking. We’re nearing the final months before the end of the 2014 fiscal year, and Washington still has some unfinished business: the Highway Trust Fund.

The fund is expected to go broke by the end of the summer. That’s bad news, since it finances vital infrastructure projects for the Interstate Highway System. If a fix isn’t put in place soon, hundreds of projects nationwide will be halted and 700,000 workers will be out of jobs.
A lasting solution demands bipartisan support, but it’s not a big secret that there is a lot of animosity between the President and Congressional Republicans right now, especially after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced plans to file a lawsuit against the President. When President Obama spoke about rebuilding infrastructure a few weeks back, his remarks were a little antagonistic:
Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.
Despite the animosity, there are signs of movement, as the White House has made the Highway Trust Fund a priority. On Monday, the administration published an interactive transportation map that displays local road and bridge conditions and asks constituents to submit photos and descriptions of roads, bridges, and traffic issues.
Meanwhile, the House is slated to vote on a temporary fix today that would extend highway funding through the middle of next year.
What's needed are not temporary bandages, but a lasting solution. There isn’t time to waste. More than 70,000 bridges and roads are structurally unsound, earning American infrastructure a D+ grade last year.
America needs repairs — and Buy America policies are a key part of that effort.
It’s time that Washington gets to work.
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this post. 


Cleveland Rocks (and so does this Clothing Manufacturer)

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

The GOP picked Cleveland, and now LeBron is heading back. While time will tell if Democrats will follow the leadwe’re happy in the meantime to shine the spotlight on one manufacturer helping to lead Cleveland’s manufacturing renaissance.

Forma Apparel Manufacturing launched at the end of 2013 when Amanda Cowsert, Minh Suster, and Foroozan Alaeddini could not find anyone who could stitch clothing to meet their high standards. So they decided to launch their own company, managing its marketing, operations and everything in between. 
And though it may be small now, they’re looking to expand to 15-20 people. Alaeddini recently told the Plain Dealer:
We really had a heart for bringing manufacturing back to Cleveland. We really feel that we are providing a service that’s needed and rarely offered to designers.”
The three women behind Forma Apparel first worked together in 2011 for Orgava, a European-inspired, eco-friendly girls’ clothing line. They designed the fashions and sewed some samples that were sent out to big factories for mass production. 
The imported Italian wool returned completely ruined; the final products were misshapen and not well made. This inspired Forma Apparel Manufacturing to create products that will last for generations.
“Manufacturing requires a lot of technical knowledge; knowing about sizing, pattern-making, fit, and what needs to be done,” Suster said.
Forma Apparel Manufacturing handles every step of the process, from materials assembling to ironing and labeling, until a finished product reaches its final destination.  Suster's family skill in working with garments — her mother worked as a seamstress for about 30 years at the former Joseph & Feiss co. garment factory in Cleveland — in addition to Forma Apparel’s high standards, have driven the brand to place an emphasis on getting the details right.  Suster has even put some pieces deemed sub-par back on the crafting table.
The project-based brand’s attention to detail and to commitment to quality has been made possible only through a direct relationship between designer and manufacturer. As Alaeddini said:
“The community we’re in at one point was huge in manufacturing. There’s a lot of women who are very creative and who want to bring manufacturing back to Cleveland. I kept saying, ‘Why put the most valuable end product of your business in someone else’s hands when you know you could do better?'" 
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this post.


White House's Manufacturing Policy Guru Acknowledges that all Manufacturing is Advanced

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Manufacturing job loss is the top concern among voters, according to research conducted for the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM). On Wednesday, the third John White, Jr. Forum on Public Policy was hosted by the Brookings Institution and focused on the policies and possibilities of expanding manufacturing in the US.

Jason Miller, Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing Policy at the White House, delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the importance and the broad scope of influence that the manufacturing industry has on the entire US economy. He advocated for research and innovation in all of manufacturing:
I actually don’t like the term ‘traditional manufacturing', because we generally think of advanced manufacturing as all of the manufacturing we do in the United States. All of this work operates as a part of a broader integrated system.
In a poll published earlier this year, AAM found that “favorability of American manufacturing drops 20 percent when the term ‘advanced’ is included.”  The consensus?  We need to focus on all of manufacturing.
Here at AAM, we’re also pretty excited about an announcement Miller made: A new manufacturing hub will be unveiled this fall. This fifth hub -- focused on digital manufacturing and design -- will join Chicago, Youngstown, Detroit, and most recently Raleigh as a part of President Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
Said Miller:
We’ve seen an overwhelming amount of support around the country, we’ve seen bipartisan support in Congress and enormous demand from industry. This work is still in early stages, but we’re proud of what’s been accomplished, but we recognize that this will be a big team effort and a big effort to make it last, to make it successful going forward.
There’s still plenty of room for progress. Manufacturing hubs are a good idea for America’s future industrial competitiveness, but as the last jobs report shows, we’ll need more than a few manufacturing hubs. We need strong public policy like infrastructure investment to seriously grow manufacturing employment.
You can watch the event online, and join the conversation at #USmfg on Twitter.
This post was written by AAM intern Lauren Pak.


Plan a Made-in-the-USA July Fourth Celebration

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.

The United States celebrates its independence on July 4, and chances are that many Americans will be celebrating the holiday with a festive cookout. To help make sure you and your fellow revelers have the most patriotic day possible, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) has put together a list of Made in the USA products to help make your celebration an all-American success.
Get fired up this July 4th with a grill made in the good ol’ USA!
The LazyMan brand was established more than 70 years ago, and the company has been making grills in the USA ever since. All of LazyMan’s stainless steel grills are handmade in their factory in Belvidere, New Jersey. Relax and cook your gourmet burgers, hot dogs, steaks and more on a Lazyman and shop here.
Portable Kitchen (PK) grills are “built for adventure” and are perfect for your backyard barbeque. The company uses recycled aluminum in its grill casts and assemble grills by hand in the USA. Check out PK’s popular “Grill & Smoker” here.

Nothing’s cooler than being American-made!

The Outdoor Recreational Company of America (ORCA) produces a line of coolers that are proudly Made in the USA using “100 percent American-made components.”  Along with supporting American workers, when you buy an ORCA cooler you also help a worthy cause, as a portion of every purchase goes toward conservation groups, wounded warrior programs, breast cancer research and women’s outdoor groups. Check out the company’s variety of cooler colors and sizes here.

With these Made-in-America products, it’s hard to contain your excitement!

Ball is committed to its effort to “Preserve America for the next 125 years” and manufactures its line of jars in Muncie, Indiana. Pick up some Ball Mason Jars here for your outdoor barbeque this July 4th – use them to store utensils, snacks, tealights or even for décor.
Apple Pie offers a wide range of American-made products that are perfect for your Fourth of July party, from dishware to water bottles and even apparel and furniture for your home and garden. Show your stars and stripes with tableware (and more!) made right here in the USA.

Baking and Décor
Rise up to the challenge of baking, decorating, and celebrating the all-American way!

Make your cake and eat it too with bakeware that is Made in America. Williams-Sonoma’s “Made in the USA” selection includes interior and exterior décor, cutlery and food in addition to their bakeware.
Martha Stewart also has a wide array of American-made goods and tools to keep you stocked this July 4th holiday. Check out her bakeware, linen napkins (also eco-friendly!), tableware, coasters, and more.

Fly to new heights on July 4 by raising an American-made flag!

Display your stars and stripes with a Made in the USA flag (you’d be surprised – not all flags are!). Annin Flagmakers is the oldest and largest flag manufacturer in the USA. Check out their variety of shapes, sizes and styles, perfect for decorating your barbeque this July 4th!  
Be sure to check out AAM’s All American July 4th Holiday Pinterest board for more outdoor barbeque ideas!
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this post. 


Jolie & Elizabeth: Light, Flirty Styles Perfect for Summer

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing

In French, Jolie means “pretty” and Elizabeth translates to “promise.” In 2010, when Jodie Bensen and Sarah Elizabeth Dewey established their women’s fashion company, Jolie & Elizabeth, in New Orleans, they used their own names as inspiration. 

Their “pretty promise?” was to manufacture a fashion line in New Orleans, ensuring that all their clothing would be American-made.
The company states on its website: “Jolie & Elizabeth prides itself in contributing to the rebuilding, revitalizing and redevelopment of the city of New Orleans, our great country and it delicate yet determined economy.  From our country's recession, two young business owners emerged. These two twenty somethings dedicated their efforts to creating a vertical company that proudly exercises the privilege of designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping American made fashion.”                        
From party dresses to formal wear, Jolie & Elizabeth features two tags on every article of clothing: a “Made in Louisiana” tag and a “Made in America” tag. Jolie & Elizabeth prides itself on “exercising the privilege of designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping American made fashion":
“Unlike purchasing a product that was manufactured overseas, 100% of a JE purchase stays in America, stays at home – a country we’re proud to call home.  We challenge consumers to educate themselves on thoughtful purchases and begin to demand locally produced material, which redirects the profit back to the United States and will in turn assist the United States’ quest for economic sustainability.”
Since the company launched four years ago, it has been frequently featured in media and pop culture.  Five months following after their initial launch, the designers were named among the “Top 30 People to Watch 2010” by New Orleans Magazine. They have also been featured in the Top 100 Entrepreneurs List by the White House, the prestigious Empact 100 List, Southern Living Magazine and Forbes.
Actress Zooey Deschanel even donned a Jolie & Elizabeth dress on the FOX comedy New Girl. That particular "white with navy seersucker detail strapless dress" was promptly renamed “The Zooey Dress.”
Jolie & Elizabeth aims to maintain quality and timelessness in its American-made apparel.
“Trends come and go, but a true Southern girl knows good style and good attitude go hand in hand,” the company explains on its website. “And there’s nothing more charmingly irresistible than that.”
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this report.


Capitol Hill Looks Long and Hard at Dog Treats and Processed Chicken in China

Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Feeding the family dog a biscuit may not turn out to be such a treat after all.
1,000 dogs have died, 10 percent of America’s pig population is gone, 5,600 more pets are sick, and three people are ill. And poor safety measures in China may be the cause.

A hearing on “Pet Treats and Processed Chicken from China: And Concerns for American Consumers and Pets,” chaired by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, was held earlier this week in an attempt to clarify the issue.
Labels and a lack of transparency may be the reason health safety has gotten lost in the back-and-forth between China and the US. Last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed processed chicken to be exported from China; but this has spiraled into confusion over where food is made, and regulation has become lost in the process.
"The word of the Chinese government is usually not trustworthy," Smith said. "There's always laced in there a whole deal of misinformation, lying and deceit. It's not a stretch to say if we rely on them for documentation, that's an Achilles heel that is huge."
Brown, for his part, questioned the accuracy of “Made in the USA” labels pet food and processed chicken, and the safety of those products that had no label at all. 
“Americans want and require better answers, clearer labels, and the peace of mind that the foods we import from China are safe,” he said.
"I'll have to get back to you on that."
The first two panel witnesses were Tracey Forfa of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Dr. Daniel Engeljohn of the USDA.
Dr. Engeljohn explained the mandate of the Office of Field Operations, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) under the USDA. The FSIS has a three-part process to examine and inspect all slaughtered and processed livestock and poultry before human consumption.
“The agency doesn’t have any information about how much processed product it expects China to ship once certification is up and running,” he said.
Forfa was asked if chicken from China might potentially infiltrate school lunches.
“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” she replied.
According to the FDA’s May report specifically addressing jerky pet treats, they have been aware of the growing number of pets that have become ill from eating the treats for the past seven years. The report even prompted Petco and Petsmart to issue statements saying they would no longer retail pet treats manufactured in China. 
But the lack of confidence and hesitation to give definitive answers from some of the witnesses reinforces the need for clarity on edible Chinese exports.
Brown announces amendment
Following the hearing Sen. Brown announced he is introducing an amendment to the 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill to address the safety of exports from China’s food-processing facilities.  The amendment would require the FDA and USDA to update Congress on their efforts to obtain Chinese work visas for U.S. food safety inspectors, as well as on the adequacy of their investigations into processing facilities. 
The reasoning behind that amendment is pretty simple: We need to know the food we eat and which we feed to our pets won’t kill us or make us sick. Is that too much to ask?  


University of Virginia Miller Center has Interesting Ideas on Building a Nation of Makers

'Last Friday, the University of Virginia’s Miller Center was at the Press Club of America in Washington, DC to release “Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovated Capacity of America’s Manufacturing SMEs.” The report was prepared by the Milstein Symposium, a five-year initiative launched in 2013 by the Miller Center to bring together policymakers, business and industry leaders, scholars, and journalists in bipartisan, innovative collaboration to rebuild the American Dream.  Its first symposium centers on a “Creating the Jobs of the Future” theme.

The first commission for this symposium was co-chaired by former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, and focuses on how to facilitate sustainable growth of America’s SMEs -- small and medium enterprises. It presented its ideas as six policy suggestions:
  1. Talent Investment Loans to expand human capital
  2. Upside-Down Degrees to connect classroom learning with on-the-job learning
  3. A Skills Census to build a more efficient skilled labor force
  4. A National Supply Chain Initiative to fully map America’s manufacturing ecosystems
  5. Expanded Technology and Engineering Certification Programs for up-skilling high school students
  6. A “Big Trends-Small Firms” Initiative to diffuse the latest technologies to manufacturing SMEs
The second of three total commissions will be discussing entrepreneurship and self-employment: how we can “ensure that the latest innovations in information technology, collaborative networking, and advanced manufacturing are more widely available to help reverse this great “startup slowdown” and generate new jobs for the middle class.” We’ll be keeping an eye out for it. Until then, the entire “Buiding a Nation of Makers” report is available here.
AAM intern Lauren Pak authored this blog post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. 


Need a Last-Minute Father's Day Gift? Check Out Frank Clegg Leatherworks

For more than 40 years, Frank Clegg has honed and perfected his skill of working with leather in his Massachusetts workshop. His company, Frank Clegg Leatherworks, designs and crafts a variety of products, including briefcases, luggage, backpacks, wallets, electronic cases, and belts.
The company’s website explains their pride in purely American-made design and production: “As a proud maker of heirloom-quality goods, we have always avoided outsourcing production from our workshop and never allowed overseas production to enter our mind.”
Clegg's craftsmanship and handiwork are family tradition. As Clegg writes on the company’s website: "'To be better, you have to be different.'" It's a lesson he learned from his father, who taught him trade standards. Meanwhile, his mother was a talented seamstress and his great grandfather was a tanner.
The small business been featured in numerous publications over the years, including Esquire Magazine, Boston Magazine, and GQ. The company produces leather goods that are enjoyed both domestically and internationally, from Hawaii to Hong Kong to Norway to Seoul.
More recently, another proudly-made American brand has established a partnership with Clegg Leatherworks: Kiel James Patrick. These two New England couture connoisseurs have teamed up to produce specially designed goods for leather featured in KJP’s products, such as their trademark bracelets. The KJP brand also supports Clegg’s brand by endorsing the quality leather products alongside their fellow American-made crafts.
Frank Clegg Leatherworks products are available for purchase online.
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this blog post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. 


Manufacturers on the Homefront Helped Allies Achieve Victory on D-Day

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. The lives of more than 100,000 soldiers from both the Allied and the Axis powers were lost, and this day in 1944 is considered the turning point for the Allies in World War II. 
About 300,000 allied soldiers launched a semi-amphibious attack with a giant armada of 54,000 warships. Flying above were aircraft equipped with bombs and other weaponry. And the soldiers who came ashore were armed with the valor and bravery needed to change the course of history.
The 16 million men and women called for duty trusted that their fellow Americans back home would be there to support them.  The citizens on the home front assumed this responsibility, manufacturing supplies and weaponry that would set records and help the Allied powers achieve victory. 
“We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line,” said Sergeant John Ellery, a D-Day veteran who served with the 16th Infantry Regiment of the US 1st Division, in Stephen Ambrose's book D-Day.

Support from the Home Front
As the fate of the world changed with this and every battle in World War II, the American home front also underwent a dramatic transformation. With the war raging on across the Atlantic, there was not one American citizen whose lifestyle was not affected. 
About 16 million men and women had been called to war, leaving behind a demand for people to assume manufacturing jobs that were needed to support troops fighting overseas. In response to these drastic changes, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the War Production Board in 1942 and the Office of War Mobilization in 1943. 
The War Production Board was an emergency response that converted peacetime industries and expanded them to serve war needs, allocated essential materials, and oversaw production of non-essentials.
“Powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced,” Roosevelt told Congress. “It is not enough to turn out just a few more planes, a few more tanks, a few more guns, a few more ships than can be turned out by our enemies. We must out-produce them overwhelmingly, so that there can be no question of our availability to provide a crushing superiority of equipment in any theatre of the world war.”
An industrial revolution took place on a massive scale, as car manufacturers shifted gears to produce machine parts and vehicles of war, clothing factories churned out camouflage netting, lipstick tubes were converted to ammunition cases, and vacuum cleaners were converted into gas masks.
Companies tasked with this wartime production included Chrysler, which manufactured fuselages; and General Motors, which made airplane engines, guns, trucks and tanks. Meanwhile, Ford, Boeing, and the Lockheed Aircraft Company helped with aircraft; General Motors, General Electric, and Colt Firearms helped with small arms; Buick, Ford, and General Motors helped with vehicles; and Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, and Read machinery helped with artillery.  
According to statistics from the National World War II Museum, 2,000 aircraft were manufactured in 1939 in the United States. By 1945, the number had quadrupled to 16,000 aircraft annually.
Turning Point for the Economy, Too
Economics-wise, things also began to improve as the war progressed, as wartime production boomed, helping to lift the economy out of the shadows of the Great Depression.
By the end of the war in 1945, over half of all industrial production in the world would be American-made. 
The remarkable economic and social transformation that took place during World War II has been a source of curiosity for historians, economists, and politicians. It was World War II that broke America from the latency and stagnancy of the Great Depression, yielding a victory in war and on the home front. 
Economists classify economic activity into agricultural, service, and industrial sectors.  Through the 19th century, the United States was primary agricultural.  But the late 19th century through the early 20th century, America saw a rise in industry that propelled the nation to be the industrial powerhouse of the world by 1950. 
Normandy remembered.
As tradition dictates, leaders from around the world united in Normandy today to honor the bravery and sacrifice made by the troops who fought on D-Day.  Also invited were veterans who have this day ingrained in their memories. 
This year is exceptionally notable: many of the veterans who once stood alongside each other in sharing this memory have passed and those who will be returning to Normandy this year are aware of the significance of what could be their final visit. 
“I know very well that for the 80th anniversary, I might not be there, and I am afraid people might forget the war, and the misery that it brought,” said Bernard Dargols, a 94-year-old veteran of the United States Army, told Time magazine.
But for at least today, D-Day is remembered.
AAM Intern Lauren Pak authored this post.
Originally published by the Alliance for American Manufacturing.