September '18

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142 • RV PRO • September 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S T he Indiana Manufacturers Asso- ciation's roots date back to 1901, when a group of Indianapolis business leaders came together to pro- mote increased railroad traffic in cen- tral Indiana and to express their con- cern about property taxes. The railroad problem has been solved, while property taxes remain an ongoing issue. Today, IMA membership includes more than 1,000 companies (including several RV-related businesses) spread across 2,000 locations in the Hoosier state. The nonprofit group advocates for a business climate that creates, protects and promotes quality manufacturing jobs in Indiana. IMA President and CEO Brian Burton began his career with the orga- nization in June 1999 and was promoted to his current role July 1, 2015. In his role with IMA, Burton has lob- bied the Indiana General Assembly and Congress on a variety of issues including human resources, labor, energy and eco- nomic development. With 29 years of legislative experience, he is a recognized leader in advocating for a positive busi- ness climate that expands opportunities for Indiana's dominant business sector: Manufacturing. Recently, RV PRO spoke with Burton to get his take on the Hoosier state's manufacturing prowess and to get some insights into what he believes is needed to keep the state thriving. RV PRO: Many Americans picture Indiana as a farm state rather than a manufacturing powerhouse. What makes Indiana such a manufactur- ing-centric state? Burton: It is our location, our trans- portation infrastructure, the history of our workforce, and investment in this state. It is the public policy of the state of Indiana that has created certainty, which encourages investment. Many other states – some of those around us, such as Illinois – have very uncertain political environments. Our investments in manufacturing are long- term and represent a huge investment in capital equipment and facilities. To make those decisions to invest mil- lions, hundreds of millions and some- times billions of dollars, you want to understand you will not have huge polit- ical swings and changes to the business climate. That encourages those invest- ments. (In Indiana), 29 percent of our GDP, or $98.4 billion, is in manufac- turing. Ag production is about $4 billion and accounts for 1 percent of Indiana's economy. RV PRO: IMA's slogan is "What Indiana makes … makes Indiana." How old is this slogan? Burton: I don't know the origin of that, but it's been our longtime motto and it's truer today than it ever has been. Manufacturers make daily and weekly announcements of investments in this state, what is manufactured in this state – whether it be RVs or medical devices or … I could on and on and on. Some of the largest steel-producing opera- tions, aluminum and different fabricated metals are located in Indiana. You can look at manufacturing in Indiana in a couple of different ways. One is by the number of establishments. In Indiana, we are a fabricated metals The president and CEO of the Indiana Manufacturers Association talks about the importance of manufacturing to the state, details how the IMA attempts to create a good environment for manufacturing, and discusses the group's priorities moving forward. By Steve Bibler Q & A with IMA's Brian Burton

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