Americans have a long history of being Makers. From the craftsmen in the colonial days, the iron and steel mills in Pennsylvania, cotton mills in the South all the way to aerospace in Southern California and electronics in Silicon Valley, we have a huge tradition of making things. This mighty manufacturing strength slowly eroded in the 1990s and 2000s as sourcing of goods and industrial production was offshored factory by factory all across America.
Making things in the US is awakening again. Reshoring has taken hold with 54% of US manufacturers over $1 billion in revenues say they are Reshoring now or considering it. It is time to make things again in America, but we are not going back to grandpa’s 1960s dirty, smelly, dangerous factories. Today’s manufacturing sites are more likely to be full of robots, 3D printers and advanced machinery in clean rooms and sustainable green buildings. Making things has become attractive, sophisticated and sexy again.
I spent the 2000s helping companies offshore production, expand Chinese operations and find sources for raw materials. China is a fascinating place with hard-working people and economy that lifted 150 million people out of poverty during their industrial rise. The Pearl River Delta, west of Hong Kong, is the “factory of the world.”
While helping companies move to China, I also helped create a gaping hole in US middle class. We devastated towns across America, and left laid-off workers and struggling families behind.
In 2013, we decided to see if it would be possible to bring manufacturing back….and it is.