Manufacturing DayBy Megan Tanel, AEM President —

It’s no secret manufacturing has a great story to tell.

It’s a story of progress, innovation and growth. It’s a story about men and women coming together, taking an idea and coming up with a way to make it tangible. It’s a story about impact, about making things for the benefit of all. More than anything else, though, the story of manufacturing is one that has yet to be fully written.

When I first joined AEM, I spent a lot of time traveling around the United States and the world to visit our member company facilities. I was aware of the perception of the manufacturing floor as being a dark, dirty and dangerous place. What I couldn’t have known then – and what I do know now – is manufacturers take such pride in the environment in which their products are designed, developed and made. Industry leaders also go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees, and they celebrate and encourage diversity among their respective workforces – and not only diversity of color or gender, but diversity of thought as well.

So, as we celebrate Manufacturing Month and commemorate the 2.8 million men and women of our industry by recognizing Manufacturing Day tomorrow, Oct. 7, I can’t help but feel excited about what’s ahead for AEM, our members, equipment manufacturers and the agriculture and construction customers they serve.

As President of AEM, I’m fortunate to be able to cross paths with new people within our industry every day. People who come from different places, who possess different backgrounds and skillsets, and who contribute to the betterment of our industry – and beyond – in so many ways. And I often find myself wondering if the next person I meet will be the one to develop a new and innovative product or service to benefit our environment or our world, or help manufacture something that will fundamentally transform the way we live.

I know it sounds grandiose. But when it comes down to it, without manufacturing, so many things we have already wouldn’t exist at all. And the only reason they do exist is someone possessed an idea, a willingness to not leave well enough alone and a gameplan for advancing change.

And if there’s one thing I know about our industry, it’s that change is always happening all around us. That change is reflected in the work we’ve done – and have yet to do – on behalf of our members at AEM. Our association staff and member leadership are steadfast in their commitment to come together and serve as one voice for our industry. We’re proud of all we’ve been able to accomplish as a result of making that voice heard – whether it’s advocating for the passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill, weighing in on proposed regulations, building a consensus viewpoint on the future of food production and future of building, or highlighting notable advancements in modern agriculture.

When I think about all we’ve done at AEM (and all the work that lies ahead), it’s clear to me there’s no better time than right now for all of us to consider the ways in which we can increase our appreciation for, and engagement with, manufacturing. Whether it’s broadening our circles of who we know, familiarizing ourselves with new and cutting-edge trends and technologies, or simply trying to learn more about all the ways in which manufacturing makes an impact, let’s commit to doing something more than we’re doing right now as we close out 2022 and look ahead to 2023. In making that commitment, let’s also work to serve as brand ambassadors for our industry – through conveying a sense of pride in what we do and articulating why we do it.

And, as we go about our efforts, let’s also be mindful of the old adage “Many hands make light work.” Because it’s only in coming together and working in concert with one another that we’ll be successful in not only sharing the story of manufacturing, but also affecting real, impactful change and ensuring a better, brighter future for our industry.

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