Manufacturers are underappreciated

BY Brad Kane


In 2016, the manufacturing industry in Greater Worcester contributed more to the region’s economy than health care, education, hospitality, finance, real estate, insurance and government. It’s $7.2 billion in gross domestic product makes it the metropolitan area’s No. 1 contributor in economic impact.
Yet, largely, people don’t care. Sure, the growing craft brewing subsector gets some attention and bakers get some buzz (who doesn’t like pie and cupcakes?), but companies making small parts for medical devices or abrasives for other manufacturers to use don’t get much attention. Manufacturers still struggle to attract employees, and the public image remains stubbornly stuck on the 1970s stereotype of dirty factory floors endangering the lives of their workers.
Manufacturers, on the whole, tend not to be great at promoting themselves, but they don’t have to be. Restaurants need to create a following in order to get diners coming in the door consistently, and even lawyers need a certain level of public recognition to build a solid referral network. Manufacturers, on the other hand, are focused on creating products to exact specifications, finding efficiencies, training their workforces, and hitting the production and time goals set forth by their small group of customers, which are typically other businesses.
This is why Worcester Business Journal has honored Central Massachusetts manufacturers for the last three years at our annual Manufacturing Summit & Excellence Awards. These companies are the unsung heroes of the region’s economy, dutifully creating more wealth and economic impact than any other industry by constantly innovating and hitting their production marks, typically with little fanfare or need for it (unless it’s Wormtown Brewery).
If you care to take a moment to reflect on what a handful of this industry’s companies means to Central Massachusetts, we invite you to join us at the summit April 26 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester.
- Brad Kane, editor
Read more about this year's Excellence in Manufacturing Awards winners
Green Manufacturing Award: Fourstar Connections
Product Design and Innovation Award: Curtis Industries
Workforce Development and Productivity Award: IPAC
Rising Star Award: ThinkLite 
Collaboration in Manufacturing Award: Wormtown Brewery
Manufacturing Excellence Award, Small Company: Optim
Manufacturing Excellence Award, Large Company: Jeffco Fibres