I Make AmericaBy Wade Balkonis, AEM Director of Grassroots Advocacy  — 

As the director of AEM’s grassroots advocacy campaign, I Make America, I am always seeking new ways to get the 2.8 million men and women of the equipment manufacturing industry involved in supporting pro-manufacturing policies. While technology has made it easier than ever to get involved, the personal connection you can make in a facility face-to-face is still the hallmark of our program and is what sets us apart from similar campaigns. 

It is through these facility visits to member companies around the country that AEM’s advocacy team can connect with company leadership and employees to share the positive impact that the I Make America grassroots campaign makes. The visits also allow us the unique chance to show our members that we are only as strong as the companies and employees that support us. While the pandemic disrupted these visits until recently, in 2022 we have hit the ground running to reconnect with our I Make America supporters and build momentum for the equipment manufacturing industry and the markets it serves.

This year, as more facilities open their doors again, we have had the opportunity to reintroduce the I Make America campaign to member companies through an interactive presentation and a call to action that should mobilize our community. So far, we have been able to visit with employees at GS Global Resources, Vacuworx, PACCAR Winch, McElroy Manufacturing and Ditch Witch – with many more of these visits on the schedule.

During these educational visits, we rally support from the ground up – company by company, telling employees about the power of associations, grassroots organizations, and what we can accomplish together. At each facility, we are working to bolster our 40,000+ community of supporters and encourage them to help spread the word. Grassroots advocacy allows organizations to tap into the strength of their workforce and fight for policies that impact everyone. Through technology, there are new ways to connect with policymakers and influence the decisions being made by putting our issues on their radar. Not only that, but we are also encouraging more participation through our Action Hub, hub.imakeamerica.org, and looking to deliver more tweets, letters, emails and interactions to state and federal lawmakers.

I Make America will continue to advocate for the equipment manufacturing industry by bringing the most pressing industry issues directly to the attention of decisionmakers at the state and federal level. We are steadfast in our commitment to create and protect jobs, invest in rural America, support free and fair trade, and encourage more competition to grow our industry, but we cannot do it alone! 

If you interested in getting more engaged with I Make America or want information about hosting an educational visit in-person or digitally, learn more about the issues impacting the equipment manufacturing industry and join the tens of thousands of men and women across the country who fight for pro-manufacturing policies every day - please send me an email and let’s get started today! 

For more perspectives from AEM staff, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor.