Chris Ulbrich, Chairman and CEO of Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. recently served as one of the panelists for the Professional Women in Construction (PWC) Connecticut Chapter “The Re-Emergence of Manufacturing in Southern New England” virtual program held on October 26, 2021. He was joined by other experienced individuals who have been instrumental in the resurgence of the manufacturing firms throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The purpose of this event was to learn by sharing knowledge amongst those who have been active in the revival of this sector in our region and hear their thoughts on what they think the future of manufacturing will look like.
“Strong manufacturing growth is a bell weather for overall economic health. Generating between 10-12% of Southern New England’s gross domestic output, this sector plays a crucial role in our region’s ability to complete and succeed regionally, nationally, and globally.” - PWC CT
It’s clear that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the manufacturing industry: everything from demand for products to access of supplies to loss of America’s labor force. The majority of the questions asked to the panel were centered around the changes brought on by the global pandemic, with focus on automation, supply chain issues, access to skilled labor, the aging workforce, and investments in the future.
To start the discussion, Chris Ulbrich was asked his thoughts on how automation trends within the industry have transformed and how they will have an effect on productivity and products in the future. Chris explained that COVID-19 has greatly facilitated the need for automation, stating that, “I think automation is going to really flourish. Short term and long-term inflation are here.” Chris continued to list some of the issues that automation can overcome, such as technical issues with machinery. When asked to reflect on how the work model has changed and whether there will be changes in the ways the company supports its workers, Chris stated that, “Those who work in the field must possess the right skills, knowledge, and abilities in order to be successful…Our people really stepped up. Our supply is strong.”
This webinar offered the opportunity for industry experts like Chris to share ideas and insights with one another and offer different perspectives on what’s to come. Chris was honored to be a panelist for this event and enjoyed his time discussing the industry with the PWC CT Chapter community. Watch the full recording of the virtual program here: 2021 PWC CT The Re-Emergence of Manufacturing in Southern New England
In 2005, the Professional Women in Construction Connecticut Chapter was chartered as PWC’s first chapter, comprising of individuals who represent all major disciplines within the industry. Since the inception, the number of PWC Chapters has continued to grow. The CT Chapter members embarked on this venture with Professional Women in Construction due to their strong belief that creating and strengthening ties with industry peers from other regions creates unique value – both for their firms, and for them as individual professionals in Architecture, Engineering, Construction and related industries. To learn more about PWC, visit https://connecticut.pwcusa.org/.