On Tuesday this week, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology  (NIST) Patrick Gallagher was in Chicago to visit two manufacturing companies to learn more about the best practices and challenges confronting U.S. manufacturers.
“Having the opportunity to hear directly from manufacturers and see their operations firsthand is invaluable to those of us working to support and increase the competitiveness of American manufacturing,” said Gallagher.
The trip was coordinated by the Illinois Manufacturing Extension Center  (IMEC), the Illinois center for the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership  (MEP) program. “NIST is a critical resource for advanced manufacturing competitiveness,” said David Boulay, president of IMEC. “We were pleased to show the director the great prospects for American manufacturing success.”
Gallagher, along with representatives from the City of Chicago including Housing and Economic Development Commissioner Andrew Mooney, toured PortionPac Corporation . The company is a sustainability-focused manufacturer of highly concentrated, pre-measured cleaning products. President Burt Klein and other company leaders got the chance to showcase their manufacturing processes. With its commitment to workforce excellence, recognized by INC. magazine’s 2010 Winning Workplace, and its values of innovation, environmental leadership and social responsibility, the company highlights the keys to success for the next generation manufacturer.
The Chicago tour also included a luncheon at the Transco Products  world headquarters in downtown Chicago. Along with Ed Wolbert, president and CEO for Transco Products, Gallagher was joined by a state commerce representative and various small- and medium-sized manufacturing leaders from Illinois to discuss advanced manufacturing policy and future trends. The luncheon provided an opportunity for manufacturing leaders from diverse industries to discuss the importance of manufacturing innovation to the future of industrial production for Illinois and the United States.