It’s National Manufacturing Day! What Does Manufacturing Mean to YOU?

Today, October 7th, is National Manufacturing Day, a day to celebrate modern manufacturing and the people and companies who make it possible. In Massachusetts, Governor Baker has named all of October Manufacturing Month because that’s how important manufacturing is in the Commonwealth. And as it should be – manufacturing has a long and rich history in the Bay State, where we saw the birth of the American Industrial Revolution thanks to the textile industry across the Commonwealth. Over the next 300+ years, Massachusetts would become home to the “Shoe capital of the world” in Lynn, lead the world in plastics production, and pioneer manufacturing in aerospace, defense, and precision machining, all which continue to lead the global market with their quality and ability.


And that’s pretty wild. Two years ago, I knew little-to-nothing of the state of manufacturing in the United States except that we didn’t have any and everything was made in China. Which it turns out was very incorrect.


In the past two years since I have been working to connect startups and manufacturers across Massachusetts, manufacturing has come to represent many meanings based on what I’ve seen and the people I have met.


For the startups I work with, introducing them to manufacturers has in multiple occasions changed their company entirely – launching them into new markets, and helped them transition from prototype to product at a much faster (and better) rate. For them, manufacturing means products and sales – plain and simple.


“Transitioning from a prototype to a manufactured product is a challenging process … Our process was made easier by working with Peter Russo from MassMEP and Micaelah Morrill from Greentown Labs.  Peter introduced our company to a local SMT manufacturing company, Lightspeed MFG, to build our PCBs and assemble our product.  Rich Breault and his team from Lightspeed MFG were extremely helpful in guiding us through the process.  He made our product quickly and helped us find areas to reduce costs— all while keeping quality at the highest standard. “–Nick Mashburn, CTO and Co-founder, Tank Utility


For manufacturers, manufacturing means their livelihood and in almost every case, the artistic vehicle through which they get to showcase their expertise. I have learned SO MUCH about the business of manufacturing, the incredible detail and engineering required to execute some projects, what manufacturers need to survive and what benefits startups can bring to them.


Based on results from our Manufacturing Survey, we know that two of the main reasons manufacturers want to work with startups is, 1) because they are excited at the prospect of getting in at the beginning of a young company’s journey and helping them grow into a larger customer; and 2) the exposure they get to cutting edge new markets. Working with area manufacturers and the experts at MassMEP (Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership) has been a tremendous education for me, particularly when I hear from manufacturers that we are helping them.


“Having Micaelah & Peter is helpful in working with startups. They are an established relationship and they help with communication.” Eddie Freitas, Algonquin Industries


And while manufacturing may be alive and well in Massachusetts,  there are some serious challenges ahead. The need to ensure there is a next wave of talented and trained machinists ready to keep the tradition of manufacturing excellence alive is never far from any conversation about manufacturing. Today, in celebration of Manufacturing Day, Greentown Labs hosted 24 students from West Springfield’s “Pathways to Prosperity” program.










For these students, manufacturing means a good job to kickstart a great career. A job that pays far above the minimum wage and can open the door to other business and educational opportunities.

And for me? Well to me, manufacturing really represents problem solving. Manufacturing is about finding solutions to problems from the basic to the extremely complex, to groundbreaking discoveries. Manufacturing IS innovation – I don’t see how there can be one without the other. I feel so lucky that everyday I get to sit at the intersection of manufacturers and startups and help them figure out how to solve problems together. Because if you have a great idea in Massachusetts, I know who can help you build it in Massachusetts. And it will be awesome.