West Virginia Executive Spring 2017 - Page 47

WVE: As a result of the 2016 elections, are you seeing an increase in optimism or continued uncertainty among your association members? RM: I think manufacturers are cautiously optimistic about the future of industry at both the state and national level. WVE: What is the greatest challenge you see facing your industry right now? RM: The skilled worker shortage is a challenge for manu- facturing right now. It is a widespread issue and not exclu- sive to West Virginia. This is a key factor in the West Virginia Manufacturers Association’s own efforts to promote educa- tional pathways to careers in manufacturing through our edu- cational fund. Of equal importance is West Virginia’s budget shortfall. While manufacturers are sympathetic to this issue and understand that West Virginia didn’t arrive in this situa- tion overnight, we are also aware that taxes imposed on the state’s manufacturers are out of step with virtually every other state. Taxes on inventory and machinery create a competitive disadvantage for West Virginia companies, particularly in a consumer society that has grown to expect the quick shipping of products at the click of a mouse, which means manufactur- ers can no longer simply produce to fill orders. WVE: What is the one law or one change that would have a major positive impact on your industry? RM: Adoption of House Bill 2506, the West Virginia Fair Labor Standards Act, is very important to manufacturing growth in West Virginia. Given the number of clusters of vacant industrial Myrtle Beach flights resume June 1st. properties around West Virginia, providing protective but appro- priate relief for overlapping discharges can encourage the develop- ment of already existing manufacturing infrastructure. Because the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection imposes Category A standards statewide, our surrounding states have a competitive advantage. Adoption of harmonic mean design flow for human health criteria doesn’t change the Category A applica- tion, but it does bring West Virginia closer to standards in other states and conforms with EPA recommendations. Bill Raney President, West Virginia Coal Association WVE: Give us a brief update on your industry. BR: The past eight years have been devastating, and our folks are doing everything possible to recover and keep their operations active and their people working. President Barack Obama’s war on coal was real and had far-reaching negative impacts on the coal-producing counties. There are positive signs now, though, and our production is improving with some operations restarting and people getting called back to work. Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex and North Central West Virginia Airport (CKB) congratulate Mr. Jim Estep on being named a 2017 Sharp Shooter! Keep soaring Jim! WWW.WVEXECUTIVE.COM S P R I N G 2 017 45