Gearing Up for Manufacturing Month


Kevin Gehrke

This is an exciting time of year for the manufacturing industry.  October is designated, nationally, as Manufacturing Month.  Here in the Big Bend area, we have an additional reason to celebrate.  The Office of Economic Vitality is pleased to announce the launch of the Big Bend Manufacturers Association.

In September, the Intergovernmental Agency (IA) Commission approved the continued development of the association which will be part of the statewide network of associations in conjunction with FloridaMakes.  This local association will encompass the 7 counties in the big bend area (Madison, Taylor, Jefferson, Leon, Wakulla, Gadsden, and Franklin) allowing local organizations, once they become members, to access the resources available from Florida Makes and the other associations.  Previously, there were 14 associations covering the state, everywhere but the big bend.  The creation of the BBMA will fill this gap. 

The objective of FloridaMakes is to strengthen Florida’s manufacturing industry by providing services designed to help your organization grow.  Starting with Enterprise Assessments performed by a Business Advisor, a tool which can identify your business’s strengths and areas for possible improvement.  This assessment can be followed by assistance establishing plans and strategies to grow your business in segments selected by the business management.  This includes export and international market development with the ExplorTech service designed to expand your international market opportunities. 

If the growth area is the use or development of technology, FloridaMakes is part of the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership with access to federal labs, centers of excellence, and other MEP national partners.  Supply chain improvements can be made through the use of the Connex Florida database, a tool with in-depth information on many Florida manufacturers providing a way for your organization to better connect with others, be discovered, and increase business opportunities.  While you are growing your business, with the RMA’s help, you can also be improving your manufacturing efficiencies through the implementation of lean manufacturing and Industry 4.0 techniques, all while working to be a steward for the environment. In addition, there are many training opportunities at your disposal to strengthen your company’s most important asset, your workforce. 

So, keep an eye on the OEV website.  More information pertaining to the Big Bend Manufacturing Association will be posted soon including the official launch and plans for Manufacturing Month. If you would like more detailed information, please see the FloridaMakes website ( or you can contact Kevin Gehrke at the OEV office (

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