What is National Manufacturing Day and Why Does it Matter?
Each year, National Manufacturing Day is held on the first Friday in October, with events throughout the month to celebrate the manufacturers who make the products that keep us safe, enrich our lives, strengthen our economic and national security, and provide countless opportunities for our communities and workforce. It is also an opportunity to show students, parents, and the public what modern manufacturing is all about.
Why Is Manufacturing Important?
Manufacturing has always been the lifeblood of the United States. It allowed our country to emerge as a world power at the turn of the 20th century and continues to play a critical role in our economic strength and independence. This emergence would not have been possible without the efforts of a few brave pioneers who laid the foundation for American industry.
Today, as we observe National Manufacturing Day, we recognize this legacy and look at our brand's celebrated 100+ year history of manufacturing products that provide the backbone of vital water distribution and wastewater treatment systems across North America. We also review how our historic facilities are looking toward the future and establishing ourselves firmly at the forefront of businesses embodying modern and sustainable manufacturing.
A Spotlight on McWane Ductile New Jersey
Located in the western part of New Jersey, right along the border of Pennsylvania, sits one of McWane Ductile’s most historic facilities and an enduring emblem of American manufacturing prowess. Established in 1856, McWane Ductile - New Jersey was among the pioneer manufacturers to settle in the town of Phillipsburg four years after the completion of the Central Railroad of New Jersey (The Jersey Central) to the city in 1852.
Between 1900 and 1930, New Jersey's population more than doubled, and manufacturing became a $4 billion industry. However, over the years, the industrial complex of this region declined. While other companies like Ingersoll Rand and Bethlehem Steel have relocated or shut down, McWane Ductile's operations have been preserved. General Manager Keith Mallet encapsulates this spirit: "We are deeply invested in Phillipsburg's future, and beyond providing employment, we sponsor various initiatives, including scholarships. Our commitment to this community is unwavering."
Other McWane Ductile facilities are also historically rooted in the areas in which they operate. The McWane Ductile - Ohio facility in Coshocton and the McWane Ductile - Utah facility in Provo have operated continuously in their current locations since 1910 and 1926, employing generations of locals and contributing to the lasting vitality of their communities.
The Impact of Manufacturing on the Local Economy
Beyond its historical significance, manufacturers like McWane Ductile drive community growth, offering diverse, lucrative employment opportunities. Today, McWane Ductile - New Jersey has over 250 dedicated team members, producing over 90,000 tons of Ductile iron pipe in 2022 alone. The facility's contribution to the local economy is substantial, with an annual capital investment of $4.4 million and over $18 million in payroll.
The same is true of McWane Ductile facilities across the country.
- Our Coshocton, Ohio plant employs 600 people who, in 2022, produced and shipped more than 130,000 tons of Ductile iron pipe and poles.
- Our Provo, Utah facility employs 325 people and, in 2022, produced and shipped more than 96,000 tons of Ductile iron pipe and poles.
With a combined payroll of nearly $50 million and more than $160 million in average annual economic impact over the last five years, these foundries are indispensable engines for local growth and development. Investing in America and American workers is an essential piece of our history at McWane Ductile and something we are proud to remember this year on National Manufacturing Day.
The Family Business Coalition, an organization dedicated to protecting family businesses across the country, said, “Deep-rooted, family-owned businesses like McWane Ductile are the backbone of the American economy. Their impact stretches beyond economics, enriching the local social fabric.” In fact, all three facilities together distribute, on average, more than $130,000 annually to various charitable causes within their communities as another means of giving back and supporting the next generation of American workers.
The Future of U.S. Manufacturing
As global priorities have evolved, so has the manufacturing sector. With a heightened emphasis on sustainable practices due to growing environmental concerns, our foundries are at the forefront of environmental, health, and safety standards. Every member of the McWane Ductile team plays a part in this.
All three McWane Ductile facilities are among the top metal recyclers in their regions, utilizing up to 95% recycled materials for their Ductile iron pipe and poles. In addition, all have implemented environmental practices that, in many instances, exceed national standards. Supporting these efforts is a robust environmental management system that helps assure compliance with applicable environmental regulations, standards, permit conditions, and voluntary commitments.
We believe our responsibility goes beyond the products we make to include a strong commitment to protecting our planet, our team members, and the common good of our communities. Steve Hertkorn, Assistant Environmental Manager at McWane Ductile - New Jersey, emphasizes this commitment: “Our environmental responsibilities are paramount. We prioritize recycling and sustainability, ensuring that our community, our home, remains preserved for generations.”
Additionally, the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration has recognized all three foundries as Voluntary Protection Program Star Sites – the agency’s highest safety and health designation. These efforts and accolades are a testament to our deep commitment to the health and well-being of our communities and our team – the people who make American manufacturing possible.
As we celebrate the rich history of manufacturing, McWane Ductile knows firsthand that the role of industry in towns like Phillipsburg, Coshocton, and Provo is to be a driving economic force for good despite shifts that have made it more challenging to operate in the U.S. than ever before.
As we look to the future, we are excited for the next chapter of Made in America manufacturing and aspire to remain at the forefront of our industry.
Want to Learn More About Manufacturing?
If you have questions about manufacturing water/ wastewater and electrical infrastructure products, contact your local McWane Ductile representative. We have team members who've managed small and large water and electrical utility systems, served in engineering consulting firms, and bring decades of experience in solving field issues involving pipeline and electrical construction and operation. From design to submittal to installation, we strive to educate and assist professionals throughout the utilities industry.
McWane believes skilled trade workers are integral to the future of manufacturing. DID YOU KNOW that McWane offers the McWane Scholarship Program for Skilled Trades, an initiative to promote trade and technical education? Apply today at applyists.com.