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An Open Letter to President-elect Trump on Behalf of U.S. Manufacturing

An Open Letter to President-elect Trump on Behalf of U.S. Manufacturing

After an eventful election cycle, the results are finally in. During the election season, manufacturing was a very hot topic. In an article with the witty title of “Why Are Politicians So Obsessed with Manufacturing” in the New York Times, the author writes:

“Manufacturing retains its powerful hold on the American imagination for good reason… the value of stuff made in America reached a record high in the first quarter of 2016, even after adjusting for inflation. The present moment, in other words, is the most productive in the nation’s history.”

This is why manufacturing is such a prominent talking point for politicians - it matters to the U.S. economy. The most recent data shows manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015 and accounted for 12.1 percent of gross domestic product in the economy. For Gray Construction specifically, more than 85 percent of our work is consistently made up of manufacturing projects. All this means that men, women and children are impacted by U.S. manufacturing on a daily basis.

It is for these reasons that I plead with you, President-elect Trump, to go beyond the manufacturing talking points and aggressively act on the following efforts to push U.S. manufacturing growth forward.

Tax Reform

According to a PwC survey, tax reform is a vital area that the U.S. cannot afford to ignore. Both sides of the aisle have incessantly talked about tax reform, but action is needed. The U.S. needs a comprehensive tax policy that is competitive and that entices companies to invest.


In order to ensure growth and expansion, the U.S. must improve its trade policies. Legislation has been introduced and debated, but has had no action. Trade that establishes the U.S. as a competitive player that acts wisely upon import and export opportunities must be a priority in this presidency.


Sadly, the U.S. infrastructure is an area that desperately needs attention. With all the advances in technology that society has made, it is very unfortunate that not only our transportation, but also much of our digital infrastructure is severely outdated or lacking. Infrastructure is an investment toward furthering growth for generations to come, and now is the time to make it happen so future generations can thrive.


Recent years have left the U.S. as a very rich destination for energy resources. The abundance of natural gas with the shale oil boom coupled with progress in renewable resources has opened many doors for the U.S. The work, however, has only just begun. A balance based on traditional and new resources is still needed along with more technological advancements to further tap into available U.S. energy.

Regulatory Barriers

A growing economy must be limber and proactive, instead of being reactive. While policies and regulation are necessary, way too often the wrong legislation can be a hindrance to economic progress. Long-term, this can lead to a detrimental impact on innovation and productivity. The U.S. needs to break down the regulatory barriers to allow for growth.

In closing, let’s please not put these issues on the back burner now that the election is over. The U.S. is on the fast track to becoming the most competitive manufacturing nation by 2020. To maintain this position, we need positive manufacturing support and action now, Mr. Trump.


Stephen Gray

President and CEO, Gray Construction