January 18, 2023 – On a cool Wednesday night in Springfield, more than 100 people filled the White Lion Brewing Company for the State of Manufacturing in Western Massachusetts 2023. Manufacturers, local representatives and other state and local support agencies gathered to discuss coming challenges and opportunities for Western MA’s economy.
The evening began with networking and complimentary craft beer from White Lion Brewing. Scott Longley, FORGE’s Western MA Manufacturing Expert-In-Residence, opened the event by introducing the guest speakers to an eager crowd.
Welcomed by an excited audience, MA State Rep. Carlos González praised Western MA’s manufacturing community, commenting on the economic strength it brings to the area. “FORGE plays a vital role in growing the manufacturing base in Springfield and throughout the region.”
State Rep. Orlando Ramos reflected on Springfield’s history as a city of historic firsts, saying “It’s with the help of FORGE that we’re going to shape the future of manufacturing in Springfield.”
The event sponsors were:
Additional speakers and table topic leaders included:
FORGE executive director Laura Teicher said FORGE is glad to be working with Western MA innovators and manufacturers to collaborate and create jobs. “We’re here to celebrate manufacturing in Pioneer Valley and across Western MA tonight,” she said, raising a round of applause.
Xiomara Albán DeLobato, chief of staff for the Western Mass Economic Development Council, said “Western MA has that manufacturing identity. FORGE has done a tremendous job scaling and growing so many of our companies. We’re so proud of this partnership.”
Chris Sims, a partner at Springfield, MA’s Alchemy Group , said Alchemy has found success investing in innovative companies in the region. He said, “We were told there were no innovators in Western Mass. Thirteen projects later, clearly that was wrong.”
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s program manager for workforce development, Jessi Duston, said she was excited to see so many manufacturers and hoped she would meet more employers looking for interns.Kristy Grignon, director of sales and marketing at Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, said her organization served companies looking to grow, improve their operational excellence, and develop their workforces.
The crowd, encouraged by the speakers’ remarks, moved into the lounge area for table discussions and refreshments. Attendees enjoyed savory hors d’oeuvres and salads as they broke into groups led by the event partners. They discussed everything from localizing manufacturing to MA-based grants and workforce training.
Attendees ended the night by picking up gifts of complimentary 4-packs of White Lion small-batch IPA with custom labels by local artist Christopher Seabrooks – a delicious end to a night with some of our favorite minds in the Western MA manufacturing ecosystem!
If you’re a Western Massachusetts manufacturer looking to engage with FORGE, our innovative companies, or any of our partners, contact us today.