For Immediate Release - March 07, 2008

MANUFACTURING IS ALIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS

The Patrick-Murray Administration Builds Bridges With the Manufacturing Industry Sector Across the State During March

WORCESTER - Friday, March 7, 2008 - Today Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and Undersecretary for Business Development Gregory Bialecki met with a group of industry representatives to discuss the manufacturing environment in Massachusetts and continue to forge strong relationships with this key industry.

Launching a month long focus on the manufacturing sector, the Patrick-Murray Administration held the first in a series of forums across the state designed to hear directly from manufacturers about ways to meet market challenges and stimulate growth and retention for this important industry sector. The manufacturing sector continues to employ just under 300,000 people statewide - making it the 4 th largest employment industry sector in the state. With average wages around $65,000 annually, the manufacturing industry continues to be offer good jobs at good wages.

"We want the business community to know that this administration is committed to working with them and seeing the manufacturing industry grow and succeed in the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray who spoke at the first manufacturing industry roundtable forum today in Worcester. "Massachusetts companies are using an innovative and well-educated workforce to meet the challenges of the growing offshore production markets by creatively transforming their own product line to not only survive, but to grow in an entirely new direction."

Companies like BTU International located in Billerica have successfully used their core technologies to reach into expanded marketplaces. BTU is known for providing equipment to the electronics industry. They are a key supplier for global leaders like Motorola, Nokia, and Solectron. One of BTU's strategies for continued growth has been to look for complementary, but separate products and markets. They now also manufacture equipment for the solar and alternative energy industries. In 2006 and 2007, this business made up 7% and 15% of their total revenue respectively. The company expects to double their revenues to 30% for products related to the alternative energy markets in 2008. BTU will significantly expand its Billerica-based workforce to meet this market need in 2008-2009.

"BTU has risen to the challenge and has successfully prevailed," said Douglas Lawson, Vice President Alternative Energy. "We have used our core technologies to expand our business into the renewable energy market. Our presence in Massachusetts puts us in close proximity to some of the leading researchers in this field and we are excited that government is reaching out to us to explore ways to help us grow and remain highly competitive in our business," said Mr. Lawson.

Industry groups like Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) have been leading the way to ensure that the characteristics and needs of the manufacturing sector continue to be on the agenda of all policy makers. Brian Gilmore, Executive Vice President of AIM, was part of the roundtable discussion today in Worcester. "It is essential that AIM and its member companies work to keep the lines of communication open with the Patrick-Murray Administration," said Gilmore. "We share mutual goals and welcome these types of open discussions with the Administration about the needs of the manufacturing sector." Later in March, Secretary Dan O'Connell, Governor Patrick's chief housing and economic development advisor, will speak at the AIM Executive Forum.

Several forums are being organized statewide to speak directly with business leaders in various manufacturing subsector industries. The Administration is continuing to schedule meetings in Merrimack Valley, Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires, and on the South Coast. A meeting with the plastics industry leaders is also being arranged as part of the March Manufacturing month series. "Looking at the needs of our key industries is part of our overall strategy," said Greg Bialecki, the administration's Undersecretary for Business Development. "We recognize that our strategy for job growth in Massachusetts needs to include nurturing our existing industries - like Manufacturing, IT/Communications and others while looking for new opportunities such as Life Sciences, Renewable Energy and other emerging technologies." "Massachusetts has a proud history of innovation and we will do whatever is necessary to safeguard our competitive edge."

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The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development is one of seven Secretariats that make up the Governors Cabinet. Under the leadership of Secretary Dan O'Connell, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development oversees the following undersecretariates and Departments Business Development, Housing and Community Development, and Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.