By Jill Jusko He was short on specifics, but Arthur "Don" Wainwright told an audience of manufacturers May 19 that he would be "your voice in Washington" in his new role as chairman of the Commerce Department's Manufacturing Council. Wainwright, who is chairman and CEO of Wainwright Industries Inc. in St. Peters, Mo., was named to the new Manufacturing Council April 8. His task in his new role, he said, is "to drive understanding about what we put up with when we try to compete in the global marketplace." Wainwright made his comments in Cleveland as a guest speaker at a Best Plants conference jointly presented by IndustryWeek and the Association of Manufacturing Excellence. The current manufacturing climate in the United States is the worst he has ever experienced, Wainwright said. Wainwright outlined the numerous challenges faced by U.S. manufacturers before applauding the audience members for their efforts to improve their factories' productivity and performance. Innovation, he said, was key to competing in the new manufacturing reality. And, he added, "Our greatest resource is the creativity of our workforce."