CONNSTEP Leads Effort for New Chief Manufacturing Officer

November 22, 2019

by Connstep Team

(Hartford, CT, Nov. 15, 2019) For a small state, Connecticut has a large number of manufacturers serving commercial, industrial, and defense business sectors. As is common across the country, many manufacturing companies in the state need help with workforce recruitment and retention, education and training, environmental and regulatory issues along with strategies to get their business to the next level.

In an effort to advocate for its manufacturing base, CONNSTEP, in conjunction with its affiliate Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), worked with the newly elected governor and state legislature to establish a manufacturing “czar” position in the state government.

Thanks to like-minded people inside the Connecticut legislature and a new governor who is eager to see manufacturing resume its role as an engine of growth in the state, a newly appointed Chief Manufacturing Officer (CMO) was announced on October 21, 2019.

Colin Cooper, the former CEO of the Whitcraft Group and a well-respected manufacturing leader in Connecticut, started as the state’s first CMO on November 1. He will coordinate state and private-sector efforts to promote growth in the manufacturing sector and will collaborate with all government agencies including its education system.

A major concern, according to Cooper, is “the need to fill the education pipeline in order to fill the estimated 30,000 manufacturing job openings expected in the new few years. We must communicate that manufacturing is an excellent opportunity to have a career to both kids and their parents. Most facilities are bright, clean, and organized which is opposite of the old perception of manufacturing.”

Governor Ned Lamont added, “Colin will be focused like a laser beam on the needs of manufacturers and advancing manufacturing in the state. He’ll be making sure to help businesses navigate the complexities of state government while leveraging our extensively trained workforce.”

CONNSTEP’s president and CEO, Bonnie Del Conte, commented, “Colin is a wise choice for the new CMO position. He is an experienced Connecticut-based aerospace parts manufacturer who grew his business from $20 million in revenues to over $250 million during the 20 years he owned it. He’s been in a manufacturer’s shoes and knows the challenges they face in a competitive economic climate. He’s the right person for the job at the right time in our state.”

Two key goals of the MEP national network strategic plan are to empower manufacturers and champion manufacturing. CONNSTEP’s efforts in advocating for this new CMO role works towards achieving these two goals. Mr. Cooper will work with manufacturers on advanced technology solutions and workforce development initiatives. He will also champion manufacturing in the state by promoting its innovations and products, contributions to our economy and national security, highlighting its sophisticated work environments, and ensuring regulations are clear, consistent, and less burdensome.

CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

AGRussell logo

Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

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