Guest blog by Richard W. Bogert, President and CEO, The Bogert Group 
I grew up with the phrase “American Ingenuity” to describe the monumental accomplishments of our time. I grew up in a time that “Made in America” was the norm and made somewhere else meant inferior. We were proud to manufacture the best and supply the world. That was American Innovation and manufacturing might. We were the best at everything.
I started my company as a service business but soon realized that I was only trading hours for dollars. I had limited myself because there are only so many hours in a day. My income also fluctuated with the local economy. I turned to manufacturing because it was limitless and selling products on the global level insulated me from the ups and downs of my local economy. Starting with what I knew, Bogert Aviation became a FAA Certified parts manufacturer in 1986. My philosophy, “We are going to make the very best products – or we aren’t going to do it”. Over the years we started other companies that manufacture a wide range of products. We call it the Bogert Group.
I’ve got news for you. American Ingenuity and Innovation are alive and well. Most of the best new products and technologies have been created in the good old USA. Our young people are creative and inventive when encouraged. We just need to create an environment that fosters innovative thought.
I had never heard the phrase “Culture of Innovation” before I began working with the Manufacturing Extension Partnership  through their Washington state affiliate Impact Washington . Working with the MEP I came to understand that if innovation was going to come out of my company, I was going to lead that effort by creating a safe place for that to happen. They provided me the guidance, technical assistance, encouragement, perspective and most importantly a roadmap for our company to achieve an “innovation vision”. Watch this video to see more about our journey  with MEP.
It’s a little like preparing the soil for a garden. You wouldn’t expect seeds to grow well or even survive if we just threw them out on the hard ground and neglect them. Every employee (seed) has great potential if we only give them a fair chance to develop. As the saying goes, “Any fool can count the seeds in an apple, but who can count all the apples in a seed.”
The beauty of the United States is that we have people here that are from everywhere. All those life experiences and perspectives give us a leg up on any society that is closed or rigid in philosophy. People still yearn to be free and to do something great in the pursuit of their own happiness. If you need a push, contact your local MEP center  to borrow from their diverse knowledge. Let’s continue to have “Made in the USA” stand for the best.