The head of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, John W. Kennedy, came from a family who tinkered and gave back. Kennedy is doing just that as he leads NJMEP, a not-for-profit that helps the state's manufacturers become more profitable:
“Manufacturing seems to be on an upswing in many ways, because people are talking about it. But it needs the support to exist and to grow.”
Kennedy and others headed to Washington this past week to speak with New Jersey's Congressional Delegation about the state of manufacturing in the Garden State. Kennedy was born and bred in Madison, New Jersey and has more than two decades of experience in the manufacturing and engineering arenas. Kennedy was recently voted one of the top 100 most powerful people in New Jersey:
“The fact is I’m an engineer, not a politician. But you need to have people understand things. One of the things that we do not understand about manufacturing, is that 77 percent of the manufacturers in New Jersey and across the country are 30 people and below… We need to support those smaller firms as they grow.”
NJMEP has been around for 21 years, and yet Kennedy says people might not realize how many manufacturers there are in New Jersey:
"By our listings, there's 10,552 manufacturers in New Jersey, the fact is we are all over the place and we're doing some great things. These are not starting jobs, these are not low paying jobs, the average manufacturing worker in New Jersey makes an average of $77,000 annually without overtime."
Kennedy would like to see New Jersey become more business friendly. He hopes this trip to Washington will jump start business climate.
Click above to hear the entire interview with John W. Kennedy.