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Interview with James Griffith, CEO of The Timken Company.

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"New industries are needed along with reform in government, politics, and education. All are interrelated. That’s why MAGNET is what it is: a Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network."

The Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network has arrived on the scene just as manufacturing in Northeast Ohio is undergoing a cataclysmic change. A transformation is under way that has its roots in a global economic environment and is beginning to alter our business landscape forever.

The facts can be jarring. Recent research by Cleveland State University’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs found that in Northeast Ohio, 73,300 manufacturing jobs
disappeared between the years 2000 and 2003 alone. The losses more than offset creation of new jobs in health care, social service, finance, and insurance.

But a key industrial leader in the region contends that manufacturing will continue to be a core part of Northeast Ohio for years to come. He sees a sector that is far healthier than reports of job losses indicate. “Manufacturing is in our DNA (in Northeast Ohio).We just have to do it differently,” says James W. Griffith, chairman of MAGNET, the organization he was instrumental in founding, and President and CEO of The Timken Company in Canton. Griffith acknowledges the job loss, but contends the spirit of innovation that powered the region to unparalleled industrial leadership can be harnessed to reshape Northeast Ohio’s infrastructure.

For a century or more the region topped the world in heavy industry: steel, automobiles, tires, and bearings. Manufacturing still accounts for more than 300,000 jobs in the region. And many of those jobs are with high-performing companies. “More than 60 percent of those employed in manufacturing industries in Northeast Ohio work in sectors that outperform the nation,” Griffith says. NEXT PAGE