Rockwell Automation Inc.: CEO Pushes for Manufacturing Czar

Sept. 4, 2009
Chief executive says federal office dedicated to industry key to revitalizing U.S. production

Rockwell Automation Inc. CEO Keith Nosbusch offered his support on Sept. 1 for President Obama to create a position that would oversee U.S. manufacturing policy and hasten the creation of a "smart grid."

"American industry needs a transformation unlike any other in its history," Nosbusch said in a prepared statement. "Innovation must be a high priority to maintain our nation's current but very vulnerable leadership as the world's largest manufacturer."

Rockwell and other industrial automation providers would likely benefit from the administration's energy plans, including the proposed smart grid.

In early August Rockwell Automation introduced a new product portfolio that includes a series of energy optimization tools that manufacturing plants can use to create an integrated industrial energy management system that's connected to the smart grid.

"The manufacturing sector is responsible for almost a third of U.S. energy consumption, primarily by driving loads with electric motors," said Rockwell Chief Technology Officer Sujeet Chand when the solutions were announced on Aug. 10. "While recent smart-grid demonstrations have focused on benefits to homes and commercial buildings, we look forward to working with manufacturers and electric power companies to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as industrial processes consume less electricity."

Nosbusch said federal policy is critical to encourage U.S. manufacturers to utilize the type of automation technology his company provides for the creation of more energy-efficient plants and to remain competitve.

"If the U.S. government does not support a comprehensive U.S. industrial strategy for competitiveness that encourages U.S. factories to invest and innovate, then American manufacturers will find themselves squeezed between low costs in developing countries and highly-efficient manufacturing in other developed countries," he said.

Rockwell Automation Inc.
At A Glance

Rockwell Automation Inc.
Milwaukee, Wis.
Primary Industry: Electrical Equipment & Appliances
Number of Employees: 21,000
2008 In Review
Revenue: $5.7 billion
Profit Margin: 10.14%
Sales Turnover: 1.24
Inventory Turnover: 6.22
Revenue Growth: 13.87%
Return On Assets: 12.71%
Return On Equity: 33.14%
Nosbusch echoed similar statements he made in June while speaking at the National Summit economic forum in Detroit. He called on the Obama administration to double research and development for manufacturing innovation to bring it back to 1970s funding levels.

"If you really want to invest in long-term, high-quality job creation, you have to invest in innovation," he said in a statement released during the Summit.

Nosbusch cited a study by business-labor coalition the Apollo Group that shows a $50 billion investment in retooling factories would create 250,000 direct manufacturing jobs in the United States, support an additional 725,000 indirect jobs and generate up to $120 billion in revenue from increased demand for products.

"We also need an education system that will train workers to operate these smart factories and produce engineers who develop innovative manufacturing solutions for the future," he said. "This needs to start with a better pre-school to college STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) talent development pipeline."

Interested in information related to this topic? Subscribe to our weekly Leadership Insights From The IW 50 eNewsletter.

Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!