Sabrina Beck – 65th President of the Smaller Manufacturer Association BOD


SMA Annual Meeting ~ May 10, 2021 ~ President’s Remarks


“The Future Looks Bright”

A special thank you to Ron Turmel for continuing to serve as President during the Pandemic.  With so many things changing, it was nice to have some continuity.

Thanks also to Cyndi Zoldy for continuing to work with us through the transition to a new Executive Director.

Welcome Heather—you’ve hit the ground running and we know you’ll do a terrific job as the SMA’s new Executive Director.

While last year brought many of us unique challenges, from a decline in business to new safety measures and work procedures; as a group, we manufacturers demonstrated ingenuity, perseverance, and adaptability.  From auto makers manufacturing ventilators to distilleries making hand sanitizer, and medical manufacturers producing millions of doses of vaccine, bottles, and syringes, our industry solved crucial problems in record speed.  There are so many reasons to believe…to know…our future looks bright.

The pandemic and other current events exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains, underscoring the economic and national security benefits of a strong US-based manufacturing sector.

A strong domestic manufacturing base can help drive innovation and growth, creating higher paying jobs.

The digital-industrial revolution is changing the way we conduct business, eroding the financial advantages of outsourcing to low wage countries.  As companies adopt AI, harnessing data to increase efficiencies, customers will enjoy the advantages of working with local suppliers at competitive prices.

For these reasons, our future looks bright.

How can our member companies take advantage of these new opportunities?  What are the obstacles we must overcome and how can the SMA help?

1) Let’s talk about Workforce

a.  35% of CT’s workforce is 55 and older.  When the waves of the Silver Tsunami subside, decades of experience and tribal knowledge will have been washed out to sea (on cruise ships), leaving some companies struggling to stay afloat.

b.  As manufacturing still has the negative connotation of a dark and dirty place to work, public relations campaigns are needed to attract our youth into this sector.

c.  Adults who are struggling to make ends meet on part-time service-sector wages, and those who are looking to start a second career, need training and education to fill the jobs in our factories.

The SMA will build upon the excellent work Cyndi Zoldy and past Presidents and board members have done to facilitate collaboration with local trade schools, community colleges, and post-secondary educational institutions, such as the Manufacturing Alliance Training Center, or MASC, to provide a pipeline of skilled workers to our doors.

2) Another crucial topic is Legislative Issues

a.  During last week’s legislative session in Hartford, the Apprenticeship Tax Credit didn’t make it out of the finance committee.

b.  There is momentum building to increase the Capital Gains tax rate on a State and Federal basis.

c.  Legalization of recreational use of marijuana has a 50% chance of passing.

d.  4.6 million manufacturing jobs are at risk of going unfilled nationally in the next 10 years.

For these reasons and many others, it’s imperative for manufacturers to have a strong voice in Hartford and Washington.  The SMA will maintain its membership with CT’s Manufacturing Collaborative which provides our members with a lobbyist and a coalition of other manufacturing organizations who together represent our interests with one loud voice.

3) What the SMA does best, is bring value to members

a.  Networking with SMA members provides opportunities to make new business connections, gain knowledge, and solve business problems.

b.  SMA scholarships help students of member companies achieve their educational goals.

c.  Awards and recognitions support teachers and their students.

d.  Lobbying in Hartford promotes the interests of members companies.

e.  Collaborating with other manufacturing organizations provides broader access to knowledge, ideas, best practices, and political leverage.

f.  Increasing membership will enhance the value for all members.

For these reasons and many others, I’m excited and honored to serve in the capacity of President of the SMA and will work closely with Heather and the board of directors to continue the good things that the SMA has been doing for our community since 1949.  Working together, our future will be bright!