Is American Manufacturing on Track for a Comeback?

Is American Manufacturing on Track for a Comeback?

We recently came across this article from Rich Smith of the Motley Fool posted at and wanted to share it with our readers.

The article points out that “there are signs far up the supply chain that suggest an emerging renaissance in U.S. manufacturing.” Give it a read when you can.




Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 2

Industries that Love Winston-Salem, and Why: Part 2

Advanced Manufacturing is building in Winston-Salem.

In economic development, individual regions tend to focus their efforts on specific industries. In this series of posts, we’ll examine why several individual industries have focused their expansion efforts, ultimately, in Winston-Salem, Forsyth County.

Advanced Manufacturing

Is it fair to say that manufacturing in the U.S. is making a huge comeback? Perhaps, especially when you look at the kinds of manufacturing facilities that are developing. The key word in all of this is “advanced.” And Winston-Salem, Forsyth County is drawing more attention lately from companies in this sector. What makes this area appealing to the Caterpillar’s of the world? Here are three ideas.

Access to Markets

Location almost always comes first. In advanced manufacturing, this is particularly important. The Southeast U.S. is experiencing a bit of a manufacturing Renaissance as companies realize the value of expanding in this region. Standing out within the Southeast can present a bit of a challenge. But here’s where Winston-Salem, Forsyth County scores high marks. It’s more than location. It’s the relatively easy access to other markets that puts the city on so many short lists. With excellent options for transportation and shipping, including a FedEx hub close by, much of the world’s markets are within reach. In fact, more than half the U.S. population lives within 600 miles of Winston-Salem.

Workforce Quality

Like much of the South, manufacturing runs deep in the area. The difference for many is the level of quality associated with our manufacturing tradition. Textiles and furniture industries may not be the staples they once were, but the skilled workforce that characterized those industries remains. Companies that choose Winston-Salem develop a quick appreciation for the dedication to craftsmanship that permeates the workforce.

Less Haste. More Speed.

Frenetic could never describe life in Winston-Salem. The easy-going nature of people here is disarming, to be sure, but make no mistake: business here moves with purpose and pace. As manufacturing processes continue to become more innovative and technical, company leaders continue to marvel at how quickly their operations can get up to speed in Winston-Salem. One executive visiting Forsyth Technical Community College (FTCC) was shocked (and delighted) to find that the framework for training their workers was mapped out before he had finished his campus tour.

Other qualities come into play, of course, for individual companies. But when you combine workforce quality with easy access to major markets, then get operations up and running to a high standard on time or ahead of schedule — you end up with a formula for attracting the attention of advanced manufacturing companies around the world.

What other industries are looking our way? We’ll continue in Part 3.

Caterpillar Opens In Forsyth County

Caterpillar Opens In Forsyth County

On November 16, the new $426 million Caterpillar advanced manufacturing facility opened in Forsyth County, North Carolina.

From WFMY2 Winston-Salem

WFMY News2

We’ve collected some of the news stories of the grand opening event in the links below:


Why Big Business and Industry Are Heading South

Gray Construction, the firm that is building the Caterpillar plant in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County recently published an article in its newsletter entitled Why Big Business and Industry are Heading South that we think is worth reading. Winston-Salem, the new Caterpillar facility and our particular strength in Workforce Development are discussed (on pages 5 and 7).

To access the article (which we recommend) please visit this link and click on the first link for a PDF of the newsletter.

Update: Cat effect building momentum

Supplier summit a key milestone

Much has been made about the effect that the Caterpillar advanced manufacturing facility could have on the local economy. One of the most important benefits resides in Caterpillar’s selection of area suppliers and vendors.

As construction moves along on the new facility, the Cat Supplier Summit (scheduled for June 3) is a critical milestone in realizing the deal’s full economic potential. The event is proof, not just of the company’s commitment, but of the broad-reaching benefits that are the result of close collaboration between business and community.

Education and training programs are coming together quickly via Forsyth Technical Community College, and we are close to seeing the first round of jobs coming into the area from Illinois. However, the expansion of related businesses around Caterpillar could turn the Cat win into an even bigger success story.

The Summit is a chance for local suppliers and vendors in a range of categories to learn what Caterpillar expects, what they look for in partners, and how local companies can rise to the top of the list.

The Summit also seems to be the beginning of an important phase for job seekers. According to an article in the  the Winston-Salem Journal, no jobs have been posted for the new facility in Winston-Salem. However, the article quotes Forsyth Technical Community College president, Gary Green, as saying that the college will begin assessing job seekers in June, with most initial openings at the facility being contract jobs.

More information about the Summit is available via the Winston-Salem Journal website.