Local organizations and businesses are celebrating Manufacturing Day by inviting people to tour facilities in Laramie, Manufacturing Works Project Manager Gustave Anderson said.
Assembly lines are one of the most common images associated with manufacturing, but the industry as a whole is a diverse collection of various production models, Anderson said.
“Today, manufacturing varies greatly,” he explained. “Here in Laramie, we have manufacturers that range from breweries to modern printing facilities.”
Created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, International, in 2012, Manufacturing Day addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and educate people about what manufacturing is — and what it isn’t, according the National Association of Manufacturers.
In a report created for U.S. Congress, the National Institute of Standards and Technology defined manufacturing as the “process of physically transforming goods,” which encompasses an array of production methods.
“The bulk of manufacturers in Wyoming are very small businesses, most of them have less than 10 employees,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of businesses people wouldn’t normally associate with manufacturing, such as Atmosphere Mountainworks and Star Awards & Promos.”
By allowing the public to tour manufacturing facilities around the city, Manufacturing Day provides an opportunity for education and recruitment, he said.
“Manufacturing Day events can be whatever the community and organizers would like to put together,” Anderson said. “All of these events are tours, it’s really up to the manufacturers what they want to do. Tours and open houses are the easiest way to give the public an idea of what they do and what type of people they hire.”
Who: Electrichlor, LLC — Hypochlorite Generators
When: 10 a.m. Thursday
Where: 115 E. Lyons St.
What: Tours of the manufacturing facility and production of Hypochlorite Generators for the maritime industry. Staff will discuss, metals, fabrication, painting, coating, control panels, welding, forming, titanium and other topics.
Who: Metrohm Raman — spectrometers, software, and accessories
When: Noon Thursday
Where: 407 S. Second St.
What: Facility tour highlighting modern manufacturing in action every half hour from noon-3 p.m.
Who: HIVIZ Shooting Systems -
When: 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10
Where: 620 S. Adams St.
What: Video presentation showcasing the manufacturing process, followed by question-and-answer session with employees.
American manufacturing is working to rebound after decades of deterioration largely caused by labor costs, Anderson said.
“Its an area the U.S. has struggled in since the ’80s,” he explained. “Today, it’s struggling for some of the same reasons it struggled in the ’80s — labor wages. If you’re competing on a global market, U.S. manufacturers struggle to compete with cheaper labor forces like India and Taiwan.”
With 126 manufacturers in the Laramie area, educating the public about the benefits of local manufacturing is important to helping the businesses thrive.
Laramie Chamber Business Alliance Vice President of Economic Development Josh Boudreau said the nationally recognized event provides businesses and communities a chance to interact.
“From a local level, (Manufacturing Day) brings more awareness to the community about the manufacturers we have in Laramie and the diversity of manufacturing,” Boudreau said. “This is a significant industry most people know little about.”
Manufacturing directly employs 1,400 people in Albany County, according to information collected Manufacturing Works, a manufacturing extension partnership based out of the University of Wyoming.
Additionally, manufacturing boosts local economies and for every $1 spent in manufacturing, another $1.89 is added to the economy, The Manufacturing Institute reported.
In 2016, the average American manufacturing worker earned $82,023 annually, including pay and benefits, the institute reported.
Understanding modern manufacturing could be a key to helping Albany County diversify the economy and keep young Wyomingites employed close to home, Anderson said.
“The importance of this event is understanding how diverse manufacturing is, the variety of great careers in the field and showing how many manufacturers we have in Laramie,” he said. “Manufacturers help the community by bringing in outside funding through exports. There’s great and amazing careers in these manufacturing companies.”