MAGNET brings manufacturing trends, thought leadership into the spotlight

On Thursday, April 14, MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network and the University of Akron’s Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing hosted the inaugural [M]anufacturing Matters session in conjunction with the Ashland Small Manufacturers Council.

The event encouraged business owners, educators, and economic development leaders from across North Central Ohio “follow the trend lines, not the headlines” when it comes to understanding the present and future of the U.S. economy.

Led by MAGNET Senior Growth and Innovation Advisor Bob Schmidt and University of Akron Associate Professor Andrew R. Thomas, the meeting in Ashland County addressed an array of manufacturing concerns, including the current state of the economy, patterns in domestic manufacturing, and what companies can expect in the future.

“The presentation was eye-opening and very interesting,” said Tyler Shinaberry of EPIK. “We need to be creative and think creatively … The session presented challenges for the future, and we must look outward and get creative for the future.”

“I thought I knew a lot about our economy, but this proved I did not,” said Gary Funkhouser, President and CEO of Certified Labs. “It was informative and interesting. It was worth the time investment, and we should do more of these learning events.”

A collaborative effort between MAGNET and the University of Akron, [M]anufacturing Matters: Trend Lines vs. Headlines is a new thought leadership series focused on major topics and patterns that influence manufacturers and manufacturing markets in Northeast Ohio. These events are also designed to facilitate lively discussions between different industries and forge new partnerships that propel manufacturing and expand the regional landscape.

“These sessions build on a lot of topics that not only matter to manufacturers, but affect them as well,” said Schmidt. “We believe it’s important to be educated on these matters and remain focused on what’s to come for businesses not just in the area, but on a national level as well.”

The next [M]anufacturing Matters event is scheduled for May 12 and will be hosted by the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, On Friday, June 24, the Regional Manufacturers Coalition will host the series in Mansfield, Ohio.

To learn more about [M]anufacturing Matters and register for future events, log on to

MAGNET is a part of Ohio MEP, part of the NIST-MEP program.

Posted by Liz Fox in Events, News, Thought Leadership

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