Made in Delaware

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The signs said it all: “Made in Delaware.”

The 2012 Spring Manufacturing Conference was a celebration of all things Delaware-made. Forty tabletop displays lined the walls of Sheraton Dover Hotel on Thursday, encompassing products as far-ranging as industrial steel and high-tech polymers to pale ale and Jell-O.

AstraZeneca’s Mike Crawford, chairman of the Delaware Manufacturing Association, greeted morning session attendees with a colorful welcome. The DMA, he said, is all about enhancing the competitiveness of Delaware manufacturers through government regulation, trade and tax policy.

Crawford then introduced Ned Monroe, the senior vice president of external relations for the National Association of Manufacturers. Monroe ran briefly through his career arc–which included stops at various political campaigns, PACs and associations–before launching into a 2012 national election picture. The race for the White House, Monroe said, along with tight margins in the House and Senate, could have a big impact on the national manufacturing scene. He then blazed through several issues that could have major implications for manufacturers, including conflict minerals, and the Keystone Pipeline.

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He ended his rousing talk with a plea to get involved with local government, particularly in an election year (and particularly in a state as small as Delaware), as face-to-face interactions with elected officials and candidates can spur change.

After a wonderful meal from the folks at Sheraton Dover Hotel, Gov. Jack Markell took to the podium to keynote the Spring Legislative Brunch. He shared his gratefulness for the DSCC, his cabinet, and Delaware’s congressional delegation (“The best in the country,” he said. “That may sound like hyperbole, but I believe it to be true.”) before stressing the importance of education reform. “If we don’t improve the schools, then nothing else matters,” he said. Exciting changes, like the DCAS assessment program, and investments in early childhood education, are already beginning the process, he said.

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And, just as Monroe said, attendees at the brunch were permitted some one-on-one Q&A time with the governor, before closing out the day.

Thanks to all who made it, especially our speakers, our government representatives and our great Made in Delaware exhibitors. Keep checking www.dscc.com for info on upcoming events.

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