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Hello, this is Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority,
Have you ever stopped to consider the origins of the items we use every day. From the alarm clock you love to hate in the morning, to the last lamp you turn off at night. As we work our way through the day, it’s likely we don’t think about the fact that the things we rely on to make life easier and more productive need to be produced in a manufacturing facility.
October is National Manufacturing Month, and while we celebrate our strong manufacturing base in Iowa every day, this gives us a special reason to recognize those organizations that help keep our state’s economy strong and competitive. As I travel across Iowa, I’m continually impressed by the innovative technologies utilized by so many of our state’s manufacturing sector – and this pertains to companies both large and small. Many times when we think of a manufacturing company, we may visualize a large organization employing hundreds of people. Iowa certainly is home to numerous companies such as these, but did you know that almost half of the state’s manufacturing firms are small proprietorships, many with under 20 employees, multi-generations and located all across our great state?
Advanced manufacturing is Iowa’s largest industry, contributing over $31 billion dollars to Iowa’s economy last year alone. We consistently rank among the top ten producing states in the nation, and in fact, even with being the nation’s largest producer of corn, soybeans, pigs and eggs, Iowa actually brings in more from its manufacturing sector than from farming – three times more. In 2014, Iowa exported a record $15.1 billion worth of manufactured and value-added goods.
During October’s National Manufacturing Month, there will be special events held all across Iowa to help recognize and celebrate Iowa’s 6,000-plus manufacturing companies. Ranging from facility tours, training opportunities, and even S.T.E.M activities for our younger manufacturers-in-the-making, there is sure to be something of interest for everyone.
If you’ve not had an opportunity to visit a manufacturing facility recently, I would encourage you to take advantage of the many tours and demonstrations being offered and to see first-hand how the product creation process works. Most importantly, join me in thanking these companies for the investment and jobs they bring to our local communities across Iowa. As always, until next quarter, may you keep imagining, keep innovating, and keep doing it right here in Iowa.