On Friday, October 5th, the Arizona Manufacturers Council honored the manufacturing community at their annual Arizona Manufacturing Summit & Awards Luncheon.
During two panel-lead sessions, community leaders discussed the specific impact that trade, tariffs and FTZ (Foreign Trade Zones) have on manufacturing groups as well as their workforce needs.
Panelists of the Trade, Tariff, and FTZ session included Ron Jones from Sub Zero, Jason Bagley from Intel, John Brew from Crowell & Moring LLP, and Michael Dean from U.S. Customs & Border Protection. In this discussion, panelists touched on the benefits and extensive efforts that go into becoming a Foreign Trade Zone, how the new NAFTA agreement will affect trade, and the cost of raw materials as it relates to tariffs.
Discussing the current workforce environment in Arizona, representatives Ron Williams from Contacts & Contracts LLC, Tim Tucker from the Department of Economic Security, and Leah Palmer from Mesa Community College touched on what they are seeing in their communities, specifically. The panelist heavily emphasized seeking out veterans, individuals released from incarceration, and students when looking to add valuable employees to an organization’s workforce.
The spotlight on Arizona went beyond the manufacturing community to a discussion of the current election season. Cook Political Report Senior Editor Jennifer Duffy spoke during the luncheon to share her perspective on key state and national races and offer some insight into what it is saying about our current economy.
Duffy first noted this is one of the “most unusual elections I’ve ever watched in the 30 years I’ve been doing this.” She went on to explain that one of the key tell-all signs of whether or not the political party in office will maintain their control and presence in office is looking at the relationship between the President’s approval rate and the economy. Typically, if the economy is doing well, then the approval of the president is above 50 percent. In this current election season, however, Duffy is finding that may not be as accurate. Although the economy is up, the President’s approval rating is uncharacteristically low for a currently positive business climate.
In analyzing the U.S. Senate races, Duffy predicts the U.S. Senate will remain in Republican control due to the previous outcome of the state’s votes in the presidential election. Duffy put it frankly, “I think we will have a senate that looks exactly like it looks today.” The House, on the other hand, is proving to be more challenging to predict. Ultimately, though, Duffy expects that “at the end of the day, I do believe Democrats will take the majority of the house, the question is, by how much?”
In Arizona’s governor race, Duffy is confident Governor Doug Ducey will be re-elected to his position in November.
Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-4) and Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-1) also had the chance to share what they see for manufacturing in Arizona as well as what they think the impact of the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement will be on our state. Gosar stated that the 25-year old agreement did not benefit American manufacturers whereas the updated agreement “makes it more fair for us in incentivize keep manufacturing here.” O’Halleran emphasized the importance of the trilateral agreement, “Arizona needs it badly, and I think the country does.”
The event concluded with awards for standout individuals and groups within the Arizona manufacturing and political world. Boeing received the award for Large Manufacturer of the Year; TYR Tactical was recognized as Medium Manufacturer of the Year; and Novembal USA took home the award for Small Manufacturer of the Year. Moldworx and Intel Corporation were awarded for excellence in Innovation and in Sustainability, respectively. Representative T.J. Shope was recognized as Legislator of the Year and Sandra Watson, President and CEO of the Arizona Commerce Authority and Jaime Molera, Partner at Molera Alvarez, were awarded advocates of the year.