February 24, 2014 - The 3rd Annual Summit of the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire (MCIE) offered a learning experience for the manufacturers and businesses people who attended the event held Friday, February 21, 2014 at the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario.
The Summit was both a celebration of local manufacturing and an opportunity for discussion of ongoing obstacles faced by the industry in the Inland Empire. “We have seen many manufacturers leave this area and the state. This is the group of survivor manufacturers who are willing to work hard to remain,” said Wallace Brithinee Ph.D., President of Brithinee Electric and Chair of the Summit.
The Summit, which sold out in the past two years, hosted over 500 attendees. “Due to past demand, we doubled our breakout session offerings this year allowing attendees to select two subject or attend one of the longer, focused sessions,” said Molly Burgess, President of RedFusion Media and Event Manager. “It’s learning opportunity for manufacturers and the business people who attend.” Additionally, the event featured several keynote speakers who addressed the current challenges faced by local manufacturing companies.
Dorothy Rothrock, vice president for government relations at California Manufacturing and Technology Association, implored manufacturers seeking improvements in the industry, to make personal contact with their state legislators, and to support the campaigns of elected officials. Rothrock pointed out the economic hardships faced by local manufacturing companies, stating that California only receives two percent of all business investments despite being home to 12 percent of the nation’s population.
Keynote speaker Kish Rajan, Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, shared several support programs available for local businesses that are facing economic challenges. Rajan concluded his speech by telling the audience that the challenges faced by California small business owners can be met and overcome. “The California dream is alive and well, and it will always be with the help of manufacturing,” said Rajan.
Three local manufacturers received special recognition as this years’ winners of the E=mc2 Innovation Awards. Awards were presented to Safariland for Innovation in Efficiency, Vista Metals for Innovation in Effectiveness, and Fresh and Easy for Innovation in Employment. The Summit also celebrated Inland Empire manufacturers with the “Made in the Inland Empire” Exhibits showing local products.
The Summit was sponsored by contributions of many local business entities and organizations, including the Riverside County Workforce Investment Board, the San Bernardino County Workforce Investment Board, Chaffey College, Brithinee Electric, California Steel Industries, Ventura Foods, San Bernardino Community College District, California Community Colleges and the Port of Long Beach.
The Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire created the event to help manufacturers find solutions for issues including: employment and training, research, regulatory compliance, import and export, and funding. Made up of manufacturers and supporters from both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the MCIE provides a strong, unified voice when communicating with regional, state and national entities on issues impacting the region. For more information on the annual Summit visit www.mfgsummit.com/summit.