AEM Chair John Patterson welcomed Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) and AEM staff to its facilities in Pooler, Georgia last Thursday for a successful I Make America event, the first of the 2015 "AEM members Make America" campaign.

The event resulted in over 260 new sign-ups for I Make America during a day of festivities celebrating JCB and its contribution to the local, state and national economy.

"Today, I'm thrilled to share with you the JCB story, and how we help 'Make America,'" Patterson told a crowd of JCB employees and guests in the company's on-site theater. Patterson is chairman, JCB USA Group and director, JCB Group, JCB Inc.

"Manufacturing jobs are the backbone of America," said Carter, a first-term congressman representing southeast Georgia. "This is vital to our country. The jobs that you provide, the work that you do ... that's what makes America great."

"The I Make America campaign is about to enter its fifth year, and I can’t think of any place better to launch this year’s initiative than at JCB, our 2015 AEM Chair’s company," said AEM President Dennis Slater.

The day started with a meet-and-greet between Patterson, Arjun Mirdha, president and CEO of JCB North America, JCB and AEM staff, and Rep. Carter before festivities moved to the JCB theater. There, JCB showed a video highlighting their contributions to the economy before revealing a backdrop featuring JCB machinery in action before a large American flag.

"One of the things we're proud of is, by creating jobs, we're able to improve the communities in which we do business," said Mirdha, chair of AEM's membership committee this year and a member of the inaugural I Make America advisory committee.

After the remarks, Mirdha and JCB leaders led Carter, AEM staff and other guests on a tour of JCB's sprawling facilities. I Make America logos were displayed prominently on the factory floor's walls.

JCB then hosted a lunch for employees, who then had a chance to sign up to support IMA, enter to win an iPad and win other prizes.

Of note, the JCB visit represented the second I Make America tour stop of the year. Events are meant to showcase for policy-makers, manufacturers, the media and the general public just how equipment manufacturers' work contributes to the economy and how important pro-manufacturing policies are in continuing growth.

A video telling the JCB story is set for release in the coming weeks, and I Make America staff are already at work targeting opportunities to tell other AEM members' stories throughout the year.