manufacturers.” Houston area manufacturers
who are a part of the group work to help each
other be successful and support the manufacturing community. “We help each other out,”
Applegate explains, “and share referrals to
the friends we know can help get a project
done.” Blackwell Plastics is a member of
GHMA, and “participates in all of the events
and benefits of being involved in the local
community,” he adds.
GHMA also works with educational partners
to support the educational and training interests of manufacturers. “We provide a voice
to the local education institutions and have
access to the leadership so that they can hear
directly from our membership,” he explains.
Some of the local educational institutions
GHMA works with include the University of
Houston, TMAC, Lone Star College, Houston
Community College, and Rice University.
And part of giving a voice to local manu-
facturers includes also working with city,
county, and state representatives. “Most of
our members, as small to mid-sized manu-
facturing companies, don’t have the time
to get their voice out to the city and state
government,” says Applegate. “We have a
committee that can provide a manufacturer’s
perspective to issues considered for city,
county, and regional government.”
Applegate’s position as GHMA chair-
man gives him an opportunity to help with
the vision, direction, and communication in
Houston-area manufacturing. His position as
president at Blackwell Plastics allows him
to help shape the future of a leading custom
plastics organization. And as he says, “Do
what you love, love what you do.” From these
viewpoints, he sees a shift in the future of
American manufacturing — a shift that will
change manufacturing’s image, foster team-
work, and strengthen American innovation.
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Made In America
“I see a push to bring manufacturing back
to the U.S. This is good for our country and
provides good jobs for our people,” he says.
Major companies are beginning ‘Made in
the USA’ initiatives that include selling a
certain percentage of products made in the
U.S. by a specified date. And other market
shifts are also bringing some manufacturing
back to the U.S. as well – the resurgence
of manufacturing related to natural gas is
offering low feedstock prices for the plastics
industry. The drive for lighter weight and
more fuel efficient vehicles is continuing to
create opportunities for American makers of
plastics and composite materials.
“Innovation, product development, and
invention continue to be the strength of our
nation and will continue to provide opportunities for growth for Blackwell Plastics
and the industry,” Applegate says. “For our
nation to continue to lead the world and
prosper, it must originate from new products
and technology. This innovation and ideas
come from seeing opportunities and solving
problems encountered in manufacturing of
a product. The act of creation is the highest level activity that we as humans can
participate in, and manufacturing should be
celebrated for the great value that it creates
and the good things that it requires of those
that endeavor to pursue the art and science
of making thing that improve our world.
“Manufacturing brings out the best in