MAGNET hosts climate change session featuring White House advisor
White House advisor Dr. Robert Simon visited MAGNET on Friday, Jan. 28 to discuss the effects of climate change on manufacturing in Northeast Ohio.
Sponsored by Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Business Forward, the session featured an array of topics on climate change, including the state’s role in the Clean Power Plan, which was announced last year by President Obama.
According to this plan, the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and other organizations must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21 to 30 percent by 2030.
“Manufacturing is a big part of Ohio,” Simon said. “The state accounts for a lot of [gross domestic product] and up to $40 million in economic activity. … It is vital to global supply chains.”
Cleveland Whiskey founder and CEO Tom Lix also contributed to the discussion, citing a need for related resources for small and mid-size manufacturers who are unlikely to afford an energy consultant.
“I remember 40 years ago when an electrician would come to your house and tell you what to prioritize so you could save money and avoid wasting electricity,” Lix said. “There needs to be that sort of help and advocacy on reduction of emissions for small business owners so we can take the necessary steps to do so.”
Also in attendance were MAGNET’s President and CEO Ethan Karp, Vice President of External Affairs Matthew Fieldman, and board members Felix Brueck (McKinsey) and Para Jones (Stark State College).
Robert Simon serves as Principal Advisor to the Director for Energy, Transportation, and Resources and provides advice and insights on energy, transportation, and natural resources to the Executive Office of Science and Technology Policy. He previously served as a senior consultant for the U.S. Department of Energy and earned his Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
HEADLINE The survey definitively shows that product innovation leads to more growth, while “grow your own workforce” strategies will be needed to fill the major labor shortages hampering small manufacturer growth. Emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and digital manufacturing are beginning to enhance innovation and productivity, but still have significant room for adoption amongst Ohio’s small manufacturing businesses. ABOUT THE SURVEY Under the direction of the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Ohio MEP), MAGNET: The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network conducted a thorough survey of Ohio’s manufacturing base. Contributing approximately 20% of Ohio’s jobs (and driving in some regions up to 50% of Ohio’s economy), and generating a disproportionate amount of export revenues and Gross Regional Product, manufacturing is critical to Ohio. Greater than 95% of Ohio’s manufacturers are small (under 500 employees), and these manufacturers need to remain competitive both nationally and internationally to ensure our economy’s health. Ohio’s Development Services Agency and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which runs the MEP, recognizes the importance of this sector and fuels MAGNET and the Ohio MEP program to directly serve and support innovation, efficiency, and growth in small and medium manufacturers. What manufacturers need
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