Molnar: “We need an innovation policy”

New NIST Chief Manufacturing Officer speaks at imX event on ways to grow manufacturing


Mike Molnar noted that in his first week in Washington as the new Chief Manufacturing Officer for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the area suffered an earthquake and a hurricane. Comparatively speaking, his appearance as the keynote at the first imX conference in Las Vegas was a breeze.

It helped he was speaking to an audience eager to help manufacturing grow. “A lot of people don’t understand the importance of manufacturing. You do,” Molar told the audience at the Las Vegas Convention Center. “In my family, there was no more noble thing than being in manufacturing. I’m a manufacturing guy.”

Molnar noted that the myths of U.S. manufacturing – that the U.S. is no longer a manufacturing leader and that manufacturing is still a dark and dangerous job – are not supported by any facts. He did challenge manufacturers to do a better job of embracing the modern realities of manufacturing.

“The concern isn’t about who is number 1. The concern is about advanced manufacturing, about growing jobs in the U.S. Manufacturing these days is global.

“Other nations are involved with an industrial policy,” he added. “We need an innovation policy.” That feeling was reflected in a recent report to President Obama, which said the U.S. is losing manufacturing leadership “in the production of high-tech products, including those resulting from U.S. innovation and inventions, and in manufacturing-related R+D.”

The federal Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, one of the key areas of responsibility for Molnar in his new post, has four basic goals:

  • Improve tax policies
  • Support research and development
  • Strengthen the existing and emerging workforce
  • Create partnerships with industry and education.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership “brings industry, universities and the federal government together to invest in emerging technologies,” and demonstrates the President’s commitment to “building domestic manufacturing capabilities to create the new products, new industries and new jobs of the future.”

“A healthy domestic manufacturing industry is vital to our nation’s economic recovery,” said Peter Borden, president of imX, partner with the American Machine Tool Distributors’ Association. “Our leaders in Washington know it, and the industry knows it. At imX, we’re coming together to determine how to work collaboratively to strengthen a manufacturing base that will continue creating jobs for American workers and provide a solid foundation for sustained economic growth.”

- Edited by Chris Vavra, Plant Engineering, 

No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Salary survey: How much are you worth?; Dedicated outdoor air systems; Energy models and lighting
Fire, life safety in schools; Fire protection codes; Detection, suppression, and notification; 2015 Commissioning Giants; Emergency and standby power in hospitals
HVAC and building envelope: Efficient, effective systems; Designing fire sprinkler systems; Wireless controls in buildings; 2015 Product of the Year winners
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Implementing microgrids: Controlling campus power generation; Understanding cogeneration systems; Evaluating UPS system efficiency; Driving data center PUE, efficiency
Optimizing genset sizing; How the Internet of Things affects the data center; Increasing transformer efficiency; Standby vs. emergency power in mission critical facilities
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.