Thursday, Jun 22, 2017
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Dana exec tapped for President’s jobs council

President Trump has selected the chief executive officer of Dana Inc. to join an advisory council that will focus on boosting jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Jim Kamsickas, who runs the global automotive parts firm based in Maumee, was one of 28 business and labor leaders the White House named Friday for the newly announced Manufacturing Jobs Initiative. Administration officials said the President would look to the group for insight in the coming months as part of his broader job creation agenda.

RELATED CONTENT: White House press release on Manufacturing Jobs Initiative

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Jim Kamsickas, CEO of Dana Holding Corp., has been named to a business advisory council by President Donald Trump.

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“President Trump plans to continually seek information and perspectives from a diverse range of business leaders ... on how best to promote job growth and get Americans back to work again,” the White House said.

Mr. Kamsickas, who took over as Dana’s president and CEO in mid 2015, will join leaders from some of the United States’ best-known firms.

The White House said early efforts have been led by Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical. The list also included CEOs from Ford, Whirlpool, General Electric, U.S. Steel, and Boeing. 

Also joining the initiative are two officials from the AFL-CIO, including President Richard Trumka — a frequent critic of Mr. Trump during the election.

Mr. Kamsickas was traveling Friday and was not available for an interview. However, he did provide a statement to The Blade.

“I look forward to be working with some of the nation’s most innovative and successful business leaders as we explore opportunities to promote job growth,” he said. “It is a true honor to serve our country as we work together to develop strategic initiatives for expanding American manufacturing.”

Bringing back manufacturing jobs was a constant campaign promise for Mr. Trump, and he’s shown no change in focus since winning the election.

However, significantly increasing the number of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a tall task.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, manufacturing employment peaked in 1979 at 19.6 million. 

While the number remained relatively stable for the next two decades, manufacturing employment has decreased significantly since 2000.

The agency’s data show manufacturing employment fell from 17.2 million at the end of 2000 to 12.3 million at the end of last year. That represents a decrease of more than 28 percent.

Still, many are hopeful that progress can be made.

Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing and one of the members of the advisory council, said industry is looking forward to an opportunity to share thoughts on what can be done to strengthen manufacturing.

“There’s a lot of policy work that needs to be done,” he told The Blade. “Rebuilding American infrastructure, reforming trade policies, having a made in America-friendly tax code, those are some of the things at the top of my list, along with a workforce training system that recognizes the value of manufacturing.”

Mr. Paul noted that these types of blue-ribbon panels aren’t new — most recent administrations have had some manufacturing focus group — though he’s hopeful the new initiative can help shape policy.

One of the first things to come up may be U.S. policy on import tariffs. 

The Trump Administration has, for example, floated the idea of a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports.

“I imagine that each of the companies and labor leaders and myself will be giving candid advice to the administration about what we think will work and what we think may be a challenge,” Mr. Paul said.

The White House did not detail how frequently the group may meet. 

Officials said they would not seek policy reports from the group, but mostly individual opinions and knowledge.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.

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