SOURCE: Southern Governors' Association

August 29, 2013 16:47 ET

American South's Governors to Convene on Advanced Manufacturing Strategy for Jobs, Economic Growth

Important Manufacturing Report to Be Released at Meeting

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Aug 29, 2013) - Governors from the nation's largest region will convene in Louisville the weekend of September 7 - 9 to talk about the job-creating manufacturing sector, and how to support its continued growth throughout the American South.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear will host his gubernatorial colleagues from the nation's largest region, industry leaders and subject matter experts for the 2013 annual meeting of the Southern Governors' Association (SGA). Beshear has served as SGA's chairman for the past year and has led the organization in an examination of the current viability and future growth of advanced manufacturing in the region. During this time, SGA commissioned the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) to conduct an economical analysis of advanced manufacturing in the American South, and a subsequent report will be released at the close of the meeting.

"As Chair of the Southern Governors' Association, I felt it important to zero in on a subject that can really move the entire South forward," said Beshear. "The South has been an epicenter of manufacturing over many, many years. We're now moving into an advanced manufacturing age, and the South can still be that epicenter. I want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to ensure that the South is the leader in advanced manufacturing for many years to come. This meeting will explore everything from taxes and regulation, energy, and workforce skills, to infrastructure, and innovation."

The meeting will open on September 7 with a private sector perspective on what governors should consider when making policy decisions aimed at maintaining and growing the region's manufacturing sector. Charles "Chip" Blankenship, President and CEO of GE Home & Business Solutions, will discuss "Understanding the Manufacturing Resurgence," and will key in on what is really driving the revival of US manufacturing, particularly throughout the American South.

Later that day, governors will explore how current energy trends and policies may affect their efforts to grow and strengthen manufacturing in the American South with panelists Karen Alderman Harbert, President and CEO of the U.S. Chamber Institute for 21st Century Energy; James A. Slutz, President and Managing Director with Global Energy Strategies, LLC; and Michael A. Levi, Director, Program on Energy Security and Climate Change, Council on Foreign Relations.

Concluding the day's business sessions, governors will explore how state government can help maximize exports, connect small businesses to the supply chain of larger manufacturers and further develop the region's innovation ecosystem with panelists Suzanne Berger Co-Chair, Production in the Innovation Economy Project, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Phillip Singerman, Associate Director for Innovation and Industry Services, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Page Siplon, Executive Director, Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics.

On September 8, governors will explore state strategies for improving career readiness, increasing interest in manufacturing careers, and developing effective partnerships between government, employers and the educational community build the talent pipeline among all age groups. Subject matter experts discussing this topic with the region's governors include Mike Price, Vice President of Administration & Secretary, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc.; Gardner Carrick, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Manufacturing Institute; Stefanie Sanford, Chief, Global Policy & Advocacy, The College Board; and Laura Greene Knapp, Director, National Center for Innovation in Career and Technical Education, RTI International.

Also related to workforce, governors will discuss policy approaches that can support efforts to address the region's diabetes epidemic and ensure the availability of a ready labor force. Panelists will include Audrey Tayse Haynes, Secretary of Health and Family Services, Commonwealth of Kentucky; Marti Macchi, MEd., MPH, Senior Consultant for Diabetes, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors; and Tara Dall, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Health Diagnostic Laboratory, Inc.

The day's business will conclude with a discussion on maintaining the competitiveness of the region's infrastructure assets. Governors will explore key issues impacting these assets that determine manufacturers' ability to reach both domestic and international markets, including surface transportation, airports and shipping ports, and broadband. Panelists for this session will include Major General Michael J. Walsh, Deputy Commanding General for Civil and Emergency Operations, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Sean T. Connaughton, Secretary of Transportation, Commonwealth of Virginia; and Tom Ferree, President and COO, Connected Nation.

On September 9, the meeting will conclude with a session aimed at creating a regional manufacturing action plan, followed by the transfer of leadership from Governor Beshear to Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, SGA's 2013-2014 Chairman.

Representatives of the region's manufacturing councils will participate with governors in a moderated dialog about the value of a regional approach to supporting the manufacturing renaissance in the American South. During the session, Governor Beshear and MAPI President and CEO Stephen V. Gold will release a report, Advanced Manufacturing in the American South: An Economic Analysis Supporting Regional Development, authored by Cliff Waldman, MAPI Senior Economist and Matthew M. Murray, Ph.D., Director, Howard H. Baker Center for Public Policy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

"This report provides a wide range of assets," said Gold. "From the in-depth research to the insightful analysis to the recommendations we are confident the report offers the Southern Governors Association, and indeed the American South, a vision and roadmap as to the mutual benefits that regional cooperation can bear. The American South has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of innovative execution for the entire United States." 

"For years the states in the American South have competed with each other, but we have moved into a new era where we not only compete with each other and other states in our United States, we're competing with the world," said Beshear. "We can compete better if the region comes together on advanced manufacturing and presents a united front. This report provides us with an important tool to begin the process."

Assuming leadership for the organization, incoming SGA Chairman Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe will introduce his initiative - "Southern R&D: Turning Great Ideas into Great Products." SGA's 2014 meeting will be held August 15 - 17 in Little Rock.

Additional information can be found at

Founded in 1934, Southern Governors' Association (SGA) is the oldest and historically the largest of the regional governors' associations. SGA uses the power of connection, collaboration and communications in a bipartisan manner to solve regional problems, improve quality of life and secure an economically vibrant and prosperous American South.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Charlotte Cole
    Director, Communications
    Southern Governors' Association
    Phone: (202) 624-5897