4 Renowned CT Manufacturers to be Inducted into Hall of Fame; Timex, Cheney Brothers, Farrel, Handy & Harman to be Honored

Timex Group USA (Middlebury), Cheney Brothers (Manchester), Farrel Corporation (Ansonia), and Handy & Harman (Fairfield) will be inducted into the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame in Connecticut this fall, in the fifth annual ceremony. The American Manufacturing Hall of Fame (AMHoF) celebrates the innovative history of American manufacturing, raises funds for educational programs and promotes awareness of advanced manufacturing, which is critical to the economy.

The Hall of Fame is affiliated with the Housatonic Community College (HCC) Foundation in Bridgeport, which also serves as fiduciary.  BlumShapiro will serve as the Founding Platinum Sponsor of the ceremony for the fifth consecutive year. The 2018 AMHoF Induction Ceremony will take place on October 9 at the Trumbull Marriott.

The AMHoF has also announced that Robert Klancko is the recipient of its 2018 Leadership Award. Klancko has been a manufacturing leader in Connecticut’s manufacturing community for several decades. He has been a partner in his consulting firm of Klancko & Klancko LLC, and held key managerial positions for 20 years in the brass industry and another 15 years in the utility industry.

Timex began as the Waterbury Clock Company in 1854, and initially gained success with its dollar pocket watches. Renamed Timex in 1941, the renowned world-wide brand has its headquarters in Middlebury.  Cheney Brothers was a center of the silk industry in the late 19th and early 20th century in Manchester.  The 175-acre historic district in Manchester, includes over 275 mill buildings, workers houses, churches, schools and Cheney family mansions.

Founded in 1848, Farrel Corporation is based in Ansonia. During the American Civil War, they produced bayonets and cannon barrel.  Today, they manufacture process equipment for the plastics industry, and employ roughly 100 people.  Handy & Harman leveraged an early market advantage in silver bullion through acquisitions to provide not only bullion but alloys and prefabricated silver bands, wires, and moldings, as well as reclamation services to leading jewelers.

Klancko has contributed tirelessly to the field of technical education since 1972. He served as an educator at both the former Hartford Graduate Center and Waterbury State Technical College, and more recently at Mattatuck Community College. More recently, Klancko worked to educate educators in the Materials Manufacturing Summer Teachers' Institute at Southern Connecticut State University. He has also chaired and co-founded Environmental Studies and Materials Technology Advisory Committees at a number of state public and private colleges.

2017 inductees into the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame were Better Packages, MacDermid Performance Solutions, R.C Bigelow, Stanley Black & Decker and Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Specialty Metals. In 2016, the inductees were Bead Industries, The Benedict & Burnham Mfg. Co.; C. Cowles & Co., Chance Vought & Platt Brothers & Co.

The manufacturing firms added to the Hall in 2015 were Bridgeport Brass, Moore Tool, Inc. and Wheeler & Wilson/Singer, from Bridgeport, and A.C. Gilbert, Brewster Carriage and Auto and Sargent Co., from New Haven.  In the inaugural year of the Hall of Fame, the inductees were Bridgeport Machines, Bullard Machine Tool, Hubbell, Inc., Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Warner’s.

The American Manufacturing Hall of Fame is comprised of “a group of passionate citizens and manufacturers who believe it is important to appreciate and understand the proud history of American Manufacturing as a catalyst to take advantage of the distinct opportunities that advanced manufacturing can bring to American lives today and in the future.”  It was launched in Bridgeport at HCC, because the city was a “hub of manufacturing leadership and innovation in America for over a century, the organization’s website points out.

The site highlights that the first practical submarine, the first practical carbon electric light bulb filament, the modern automobile assembly line and the first robot all have their roots in, or were invented, in Bridgeport.

Any company engaged in manufacturing for at least ten years can be considered for induction. Companies considered have made “significant contributions to the field of manufacturing either by innovation, the improvement of a manufacturing process or by creating a product that has advanced humankind.”

Founding sponsor BlumShapiro is the largest regional accounting, tax and business advisory firm based in New England. The HCC Foundation was founded in 1990 to provide financial assistance to the College and its students beyond the fundamentals provided by the State of Connecticut.  Tickets to the induction ceremony event are now available.

CT’s Manufacturing Report Card Features Every Grade, From A to F

Connecticut’s report card on Manufacturing and Logistics is a mixed bag, according to data compiled by Indiana’s Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Data.  The state’s grades in nine categories range from an A in the Productivity and Innovation category to an F in Worker Benefit Costs. The other categories were Manufacturing Industry Health, Logistics Industry Health, Human Capital, Tax Climate, Expected Liability Gap, Global Reach and Sector Diversification. Overall the state received one A, one B+, one B, one C+, two C-, two D, and one F. manufac data

Connecticut’s manufacturing industry is 8.1 percent of the state economy, according to the report. The total personal income in Connecticut is $203,703,411,000 and earnings from manufacturing total $16,591,678,000, the report stated.

The state’s top grade was in Productivity and Innovation.  The researchers described that category as “the value of manufactured goods per worker – productivity – as well as firm access to inventions and innovations,” which “is critical to the long-term performance of a firm and the industry as a whole.”  To measure productivity and innovation, they used manufacturing productivity growth, industry research and development expenditures on a per capita basis, and the per capita number of patents issued annually.  Connecticut was one of five states to earn an A; the others were California, Michigan, Texas, and Washington State.

Compared with 2009, Connecticut’s grades improved in the categories of Productivity and Innovation, Manufacturing industry Health, and Logistics Industry Health, and declined in Tax Climate and Human Capital.  In Tax Climate, the state dropped from a D last year to a D- on 2015’s report card. Sector Diversification, which received an A in 2011, dropped to a C the following year, and has been mired at a D in each succeeding year.report card logo

The report authors note that “states that concentrate their manufacturing activity in a single sector typically suffer higher volatility in employment and incomes over a business cycle and are also more likely to experience greater effects of structural changes to the economy involving a single sector.

Connecticut’s Tax Climate grade has been a steady D or D- since 2010, after earning a C in 2009.

In the Global Reach category, in which Connecticut received a B+, only South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Delaware received a higher grade.  Connecticut’s grade matched New Hampshire, placing Connecticut in the top six in that category.  The Ball State researchers indicated that “the level of international trade (in both imports and exports) is a robust measure of competitiveness in the production, movement and distribution of consumer durable and non-durable goods.”global reach

The university’s national report provided report cards to all fifty states in each of the categories.

The Center for Business and Economic Research is an economic policy and forecasting research center at Ball State University.  CBER research includes public finance, regional economics, manufacturing, transportation, and energy sector studies.

productivity and innovation

Manufacturing Businesses, Not Only GE, Being Courted to Move As Fewer Praise CT's Quality of Life

Connecticut’s state government has been working diligently to boost manufacturing and manufacturers in the state, but the latest statewide survey suggests there remain significant obstacles on the road to realizing the goal of growing and sustaining a vibrant manufacturing sector. Among manufacturers, 94 percent handle their production in Connecticut, according to the just-released 2015 Survey of Connecticut Businesses by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and BlumShapiro. While the survey analysis describes that number as encouraging, it also notes that 28% have production facilities in other parts of the U.S., and 24% in other countries—“which means they may be more likely to consider expanding or shifting more of their production elsewhere.”cover

The report indicates that the “factors that drive site location include access to key inputs; proximity to suppliers and customers; access to skilled labor; cost of labor; occupancy costs; affordable energy; and where companies are in their life cycle (e.g., mature companies are often likely to disperse geographically to reduce costs).

Although the courting by Governors from across the nation of General Electric’s corporate management has garnered much media and political attention, it is certainly not the only company that is the subject of someone else’s attention.  The CBIA-BlumShapiro report said that one in three businesses surveyed have been approached about moving or expanding their operations to another state.

Of those, the analysis continued, “nearly one in four are planning on moving to that state, 29 percent are considering shifting significant production to another state within five years, and 31 percent are weighing expansion in another state within five years.aother state

Although the report shows that 63 percent of businesses surveyed showed a profit this past year—the best this survey has seen since 2006 - the report indicated that “a primary area of concern” is the expansion of businesses over the next five years, and whether that expansion will take place in Connecticut or elsewhere.

quoteWhether perception drives reality or reality is drives perception, the opinions stated by business surveyed are less than encouraging, according to the report.  Primary reasons cited for moving or expanding outside Connecticut are the state’s high costs (including taxes) and its “anti-competitive business environment,” reflecting an oft-stated CBIA viewpoint.  More than three-quarters say Connecticut’s business climate is subpar compared with other states in the Northeast, and the nation.

The report also noted the significant number of state companies that depend on other Connecticut businesses.  “The vast majority of companies surveyed (70 percent) are somewhat or highly dependent on larger Connecticut companies or businesses,” the analysis highlighted, “which raises concerns when tax hikes threaten to push large companies out of state.”

CBIA’s surveys consistently find that personal reasons also factor significantly in location decisions.  “Many business leaders point to Connecticut’s quality of life and the desire to work close to where they live as the main reason for locating and/or staying in-state. However, we are slipping here,” the report said.dependant

In a survey of Hartford-New Haven-Springfield businesses conducted earlier this year, quality of life—traditionally the number-one benefit to operating a business in this region— surprisingly emerged as less of a competitive advantage today.  In fact, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of company leaders citing quality of life as the greatest benefit of operating a business here: 47 percent in 2009, 43 percent in 2011, 40 percent in 2013, and just over a third (35 percent) in 2015.


Innovation and Impact of Manufacturing Companies in CT Is Focus of New CPTV Documentary

With Election Day less than two weeks away amid intensifying discussion of job growth in Connecticut, CPTV zeroes in on modern manufacturing and the role of innovation in companies. The CPTV Original documentary Made in Connecticut premieres Thursday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. on CPTV. Twelve businesses that exemplify the diversity of successful manufacturing “located and thriving right here in Connecticut” are featured in the program.made in CT

The documentary is part of a three-year, multi-platform initiative by Connecticut Public Broadcasting that celebrates Connecticut’s manufacturing future, from high-tech to hand-made.  The initiative includes additional special programming airing on CPTV and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio.

Against the backdrop of such timely issues as outsourcing and a global economy, the Made in Connecticut documentary explores topics including:

  • the value that manufacturing provides to the state’s economy;
  • how the manufacturing sector is contributing to the creation of jobs in Connecticut;
  • how advances in technology have changed the nature of manufacturing and the skills needed to work successfully in the manufacturing environment; and
  • how science, technology and innovation are transforming manufacturing endeavors around the world, the nation and the state.

Featured in the documentary are:

  • Barnes Group headquartered  in Bristol, which started as a spring company in 1857 to supply the clock industry and has now exploded into a global leader in industrial and aerospace manufacturing;
  • Curtis Packaging in Sandy Hook, a nearly 170-year-old family-owned company that has reinvented itself as a world leader in luxury packaging and environmental stewardship;
  • Ola! Granola in Norwalk, where a mother of three produces hand-made granola in mouth-watering flavors such as vanilla almond, cranberry orange pecan and chocolate banana-chip;
  • Oxford Performance Materials in South Windsor, a plastics company on the edge of science fiction-like technology, using 3-D printing to create cranial implants for people who have suffered traumatic brain injury;
  • Pratt &Whitney in East Hartford, the industry leader in aerospace, creating breakthrough technology with its PurePower jet engine that will revolutionize air travel;
  • Protein Sciences in Meriden, which has a game-changing flu vaccine that takes just weeks to mass produce to fight pandemics worldwide;
  • Severance Foods in Hartford, a snack food company founded by three friends who invested in a tortilla-making machine in the 1980s, and now employs more than 85 people to produce 40,000 pounds of tortilla chips a day;
  • Tucci Lumber, which makes baseball bats in South Norwalk and was founded by a former Major leaguer.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent last month as nonfarm jobs reached a new recovery high point. The unemployment rate last month was the lowest it has been in the state since November 2008, according to a state Department of Labor report.  The employment gain of 11,500 jobs in September is the largest since April 1994, the seventh monthly nonfarm employment gain this year and a "vigorous bounce-back" from the revised decline of 1,200 jobs in August, the Department of Labor said.  As the state takes proactive steps to ensure people are trained for manufacturing jobs, employment numbers are simultaneously rising. In the most recent data, manufacturing jobs increased from 163,500 last year to 164,100 this year, Fairfield County Business Journal reported.  The manufacturing industry plays a crucial role throughout Connecticut communities, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's office pointed out recently, noting that Connecticut’s 4,602 manufacturers account for 10.2% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports.

To prepare future workers, Manchester Community College will lead the state's 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College in a federally funded effort to expand manufacturing education in the state as part of a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, announced this month.  The grant  will support an expansion of the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, which trains students for jobs in the field. The grant will pay for equipment to provide hands-on training, new teachers and educational assistants and the development of registered apprenticeship programs for high-demand manufacturing occupations, among other investments.


“In recent years, technological advances, as well as human innovation and creativity, have put Connecticut on the forefront of a manufacturing revolution. This revolution is not only exciting, it’s important to the local economy, as it’s helping to create jobs. Manufacturing has always been an important part of Connecticut’s culture and economy,” said Jerry Franklin, President and CEO of CPBN, who is to be honored next week by Hartford Business Journal with the publication’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership in the broadcast industry.

The documentary Made in Connecticut is produced and hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Christina DeFranco. Funding was made possible by Founding Sponsor, KBE Building Corporation. KBE Building Corporation is a full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic, with offices in Connecticut and Maryland.

“We’re passionate about fostering innovation in Connecticut’s manufacturing and technology spaces, and we just happen to have built more technical high schools around the state than anyone else.  We’re thrilled to shine light on this critical aspect of the state’s current and future economy,” said Mike Kolakowski, KBE Building Corporation’s President and Principal Owner.

See preview on You Tube.   

Small Manufacturers Association Relocates to Naugatuck Valley Community College

The Small Manufacturers Association (SMA) relocated its headquarters this month to Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC). The Association's executive director, Cyndi Zoldy, who joined the organization last November, now operates from NVCC Technology Hall, which also houses the newly built Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and the College's engineering programs and labs. The SMA, which meets monthly from September to May, has about 130 members in the state. Membership is open to all manufacturers in Connecticut who have 500 or fewer employees and who manufacture a product with a SIC code between 2000-3999.  The organization:

  • Promotes the best interest of manufacturers in Connecticut
  • Addresses problems common to all manufacturers
  • Helps manufacturers improve productivity
  • Assists manufacturers in evaluating new markets for their products
  • Stimulates cooperative actions among manufacturers
  • Provides access to resources aimed to assisting manufacturers

"This is a win-win for both organizations," said Zoldy. "Having a home base here and engaging with students regularly will reinforce the connection between employers and job training, which is a critical undertaking of the SMA right now."logo-smact

Per the agreement, the College will supply SMA with a furnished, technologically-equipped office and access to conference rooms and other campus resources during college hours. SMA will in turn help inform manufacturing and engineering programs, and the executive director will assist with internship and job placement for students.

Coming off of the success of its inaugural semester, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center will particularly benefit from the presence of the SMA on campus, according to NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.

"We are pleased with student outcomes to date," said President De Filippis, "and this opportunity to partner with the SMA will ensure that our programs continue to respond to industry needs and that our students are given job shadowing and employment opportunities. This is a good thing for our students and for the communities we serve."

Zoldy took the helm at the SMA after selling her Watertown business after 12 years.  Her manufacturing experience includes accountant positions at ABS Pumps, Inc. of Meriden and B/E Aerospace, Inc. formally of Litchfield.  She holds a BS in Finance from Post University.

In November 2011, President De Filippis convened a group of community and industry leaders to advocate funding for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. At the same time, a Manufacturing Advisory Council (MAC) was established to advise curriculum and reinforce connections between training and local workforce needs.

As a result of this partnership, the idea to relocate SMA to NVCC was brought forward in November 2012 by MAC member Douglas Johnson, secretary/treasurer of SMA and VP of Operations at The Marion Manufacturing Company, as a way to close the circle between the College, SMA and local manufacturers.

"Preparing a manufacturing workforce is central to all of our institutional missions," said Johnson. "In a way this has been the year of education for SMA. We envision the best and brightest coming out of Naugatuck Valley. Having SMA on campus makes sense for everyone."



Manufacturing Goes High Tech; Key Segment of CT Economy

Factory jobs in Connecticut slumped from 477,000 in 1969 – accounting for about one-third of total employment in the state – to just 174,000, about 10 percent of jobs statewide, in 2011, according to U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis data. In the new issue of The Connecticut Economy however, UConn economist Steven Lanza issues a “report card” on manufacturing that presents the sector as among the most dynamic in the state’s economy, transformed by advanced technologies linked to research and development that are providing a catalyst for economic growth.  The analysis notes that during the past two years, Connecticut manufacturing employment has remained steady at about 165,000 workers.

The manufacturing sector contributed 20 percent of the growth in the state’s economic output in the decade ending in 2010, Lanza estimates, while boosting productivity – the value of manufactured goods per worker – by more than 50 percent from 1990 to 2007, with 35 percent fewer workers.

“Expanding output and falling employment [over that timeframe] combined to raise productivity per worker from $57,900 to $135,800, an impressive 134 percent increase,” Lanza says. Enhanced productivity, in turn, also led to higher wages: in 2011, Connecticut factory workers – who are now more likely to have a graduate degree and wear a suit or lab coat to work – earned an average salary of $76,900, or 26 percent above the state’s all-industry average of $61,100.

Connecticut’s manufacturing profile has also changed drastically; high-tech firms now produce more than 70 percent of the state’s output with computer/electronic products and chemicals accounting for more than 13 percent and 30 percent, respectively, of the total output in 2010.

Lanza also details how the state is now a leader in the aerospace and defense-related transportation equipment field – largely in the production of aircraft engines, helicopters, and nuclear submarines – totaling 23 percent of the state’s manufacturing output in 2010, compared with 20 percent in 1997.

Lanza is executive editor of The Connecticut Economy, a quarterly journal published by the University of Connecticut’s Department of Economics that offers data, forecasts, and substantive, data-driven analyses of current events, longer-term trends, and public policies affecting Connecticut’s economy.