From The Editor's Desk - Made On Long Island
Published For The Corridor
Made On Long Island
Until the mid-80’s, my mom was a dress manufacturer with factories in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Today most clothing is made in Cambodia, Viet Nam, China, the Czech Republic, even Lithuania. Seventh Avenue didn’t die though--it became “Fashion Avenue” and remains the Mecca of the industry, although very little clothing is actually manufactured here. What remains here, are the brains.
The current commotion is a concerted effort to bring manufacturing back to Long Island because it’s good for the economy. It offers high-paying jobs and also lures government dollars for training and education.
Heavy manufacturing, like aerospace and defense, which put this Island on the map, abandoned us 30 years ago for areas with lower taxes, cheaper and more plentiful housing and a less pricey workforce. The local economy plunged to an abysmal low and thousands of engineers migrated to jobs in the Deep South - Huntsville, Alabama or the Great Northwest - Everett, Washington.
Unemployment and underemployment raged wildly... when the smoke cleared and we were ready to rebuild, we learned that left in its’ wake were brownfields. Massive tracts of polluted, unusable, unsalable land ravaged by an era of irresponsible toxic chemical disposal. It took decades and millions to clean up the mess. The cost was met by private industry, which now had to include remediation in the sale price.
While heavy manufacturing left, Aerospace and Defense never really left. Jamie Moore, president of ADDAPT, the “Aerospace and Defense Diversification Alliance in Peacetime Transition” (founded in 1991) said “We estimate there are about 400-450 companies on Long Island who are partially to fully in the Aerospace & Defense sector.” He clarified, “... the regional A&D sector includes processing houses, mechanical assembly, machine shops (tool/die, milling, grinding, sheet metal), electronic/circuit board/harness shops, composite facilities, programming, optics, seating, lighting and a number of other products.” All ancillary manufacturers, not solely dependent on aerospace or defense. New technologies. New materials. New methods. New industries.
This issue’s cover story is the Composites Prototyping Center, a world-class facility located in Plainview that shatters all previously held notions of manufacturing. The Cornerstone Interview is with Executive Director, Leonard Poveromo, a Northrup Grumman veteran.
We’ve invited “makers” to share their stories in this issue. Paul Lipsky offers us the Millennialist approach in “The Maker Movement”. In VOICES we ask why manufacturers remain on long Island. We’ve also included industries not generally associated with “manufacturing”, which is more a political issue (Read Peter Goldsmith’s article “Wake Up NY State!”) than it is semantic. We have stretched the definition of “manufacturing” to suit our purposes--any item that is produced is “manufactured.” Software is a manufactured product. So are music, food, intellectual property, wine, art, film and beer. LI’s largest sector is Bio-tech, which will be covered in our next issue. ”Manufacturing” never left. It just transformed became sustainable, switched gears into higher production, became more land friendly and introduced unique Long Island products with a global market.
What remains here, are the brains. They continue to multiply with the collaboration of our Universities. You’ll find them in the Education section.
Congratulations to Dr. Christine Riordan, newly appointed President of Adelphi Univeristy.
Congratulations also to Dr. Hubert Keene, Formerly President of Farmingdale State College, and recently appointed President of Nassau Community College.