It is hard to believe that it has been a little over a year since we first interviewed documentary filmmaker and managing partner of Made in USA films, Josh Miller. Josh and his team, who made the amazing documentary, “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey“, in that time frame, have been busy promoting the film and of course continuing to support and champion not only the “Made In USA” movement but American manufacturers and manufacturing in general.
I and Cerasis have been following Josh and his journey with the film over the last year on social media on their Facebook page and on Twitter, and there is no sign that this film was just a launch and have the excitement and passion wane over time. In fact, I would say that Josh and the film came out at a time when we didn’t have the amazing coverage and growth of American Manufacturing that we are currently seeing with the current growth of the economy, the release of the Digital Manufacturing Hubs, and the general increase of articles or mentions of manufacturing in the media. Essentially, before it was “cool” again to talk about manufacturing and when manufacturing needed a voice to remind us all of the importance of manufacturing to our economy and society, Josh and the “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey” documentary stepped up to the plate and did just that: speak for the Industry.
If you haven’t seen the film, I encourage you to purchase a copy on DVD right now, but if you are more digital savvy, then the Made In USA Films team has a treat for you! This coming September 30th, you can purchase a digital copy of the film on iTunes! (We will update this post with the iTunes store link once live, but mark your calendars!).
For a a little taste, watch the “Made in USA: The 30 Day Journey” trailer below. Below that trailer, we also wanted to treat you with some thoughts about the state of American Manufacturing today from the film’s creator himself, Josh Miller.
We caught up with Josh yesterday via phone and we had a great conversation. He had some things on his mind and he wanted to share with everyone what he was thinking and that he is committed more than ever to championing the “Made in USA” movement, the manufacturing industry and some of his future plans. The theme that really came out of our conversation was a simple one: it comes down to choice. We both agreed at the end of the conversation, that the most impact we can all have is making the choices towards supporting “Made in USA” and American Manufacturing. It’s the aggregate, as a country and society, of these choices that make the difference.
Adam Robinson (AR): So, Josh, what have you been up to over the last year and what’s on your mind after embarking on this “Made in the USA” film journey?
Josh Miller (JM): The last year has been amazing, exciting, and eye opening. I and the team have made the rounds promoting the film and getting in touch with those in Washington to let them know that the American people demand not only more “Made in the USA” but also demand a focus back on what can allow American Manufacturers thrive and sustain. I am excited to announce that my wife and I found out we are expecting our first child in February. This reality of knowing that I not only have to raise a child, but instill great values in my kid, and a passion for the success of our country, has reinvigorated me and reminded me of where my heart and passion lies: as a voice for American Manufacturing. I want to not only teach my child and local community about how important manufacturing is, but to encourage and remind others that we need to value making things again as a country. We need to do everything in our power to let Washington know that it is a huge issue, not only due to direct contribution to the GDP, but as a multiplier effect to the rest of the economy. Frankly, I am disappointed by Washington, both Democrat and Republicans, who aren’t supporting Made in USA in general. These politicians seem to be driven by lobbyist and elections rather than taking a bi-partisan approach to a sustainable long term manufacturing prowess.
AR: I agree with that notion of politics trumping common sense. What can the average American do though to make a difference on a political level?
JM: It’s all about choice, definitely. We have to make the choice in our actions that show politicians what we want. We all need to be great citizens of the democracy set up for all of us and step up. Step up in the voting booth and stay active in contacting local and national politicians to demand a focus on American Manufacturing. Manufacturing is the lifeblood of this country. It gives us things to export, it gives us pride, it has the multiplier effect, it makes a difference in your local economy.
AR: Josh, I agree with you, it’s a great and improtant message. It’s one the champions have been saying a long time, and I am sure you get this, but, when do people get tired of hearing the words and stop listening?
JM: You know you are right. I know people in my circle must be tired of hearing from me all the time, “Buy American Made! Support manufacturing! Write your Congresswoman or man!” But, in the end, just like with me, it’s about putting words into action. We can all make a difference with our personal choices, and that little bit, combined with everyone’s little bit, it adds up to a lot of difference. So, to put my money where my mouth is, I am continuing to act, like I did with this film, and next I am going to write a book about my story and how I can teach others to act to make Manufacturing more prosperous.
Add to that, even though I am not really that political, I am going to most likely act even further beyond words and at the urging of friends, possibly run for office in the next few years. Perhaps it’s the baby on the way, but I feel a duty to be a voice for this industry, because it is so important. If people believe in you as a leader and your message, they will vote for you. My focus will be on creating more manufacturing jobs and of course how I can help others take action to increase more awareness about American Manufacturing and the importance to the economy and society as a whole.
AR: There has been a lot of great news around US Manufacturing and the outlook on the industry. You mentioned that the Administration and Congress though are not doing enough. Where can we focus as the average citizen when we are ready to urge politicians to step up even more?
JM: I’ve heard that the Transpacific partnership is like NAFTA on steroids and that our trade balance needs improvement. I am no expert in trade matters, per se, so I encourage more to find out about this new trade agreement and judge for themselves. However, on a national level, I would first focus on the corporate tax amount that is currently around 35%. Recently, you may have heard of Burger King moving to Canada to avoid such high taxes after purchasing Tim Horton’s, the coffee chain. It may not be a ton of jobs lost in that example, except at a corporate level, but it’s one sign of the root issue of offshoring and other ways manufacturers leave the country.
Why can’t we commit to cutting corporate taxes to those who are supporting growth in American Manufacturing?
AR: I really like the idea of personal choices by us, the American People. It’s more palatable if you feel like your fellow citizens are working all together to make companies and politicians hear our voices. It does seem like the purchasing power is now in the hands of the consumer. So why not make policies that require stores to carry only “Made in the USA” or something to that effect?
JM: Well, as pro-“Made in the USA” as I am, we still live in a country where choice is valued. That is really what makes this country the best: our freedom. Although I focus on and make a strong effort of buying mostly Made in America, this is not a score tallying game of buying “Made in the USA” versus “Made in somewhere else.” Buy what you like, buy what you think is quality. If you love French Wine, buy French Wine! It’s all about purchasing balance between contributing to your own economy. It’s more about the awareness and consideration of making a larger percentage of your purchases as “Made in the USA.” If everyone just bought one more thing that was “Made in the USA” each year, it makes a huge impact on the economy. Remember, small choices, added up all together, can create change!
AR: It’s funny you say that. That’s exactly how I described my weight loss. I had this goal of losing “X” pounds, but knew that it didn’t just happen. I had to make those small eating and exercising choices each and every day. That sounds a lot like how we can all, in the aggregate, make a difference for American Manufacturing. Would you agree with that metaphor?
JM: You know that is a really great metaphor. We have more power than ever before as a consumer, and we should use that power. It’s all about personal choice, and if want to create a sustainable environment for manufacturing, we should be free to make the choices, but understand the implications of those choices. That is what makes being in this country great, we have that choice. It’s in our hands.
With this movement, there is no perfect answer, but if you go by simple economics, make the right choices, your choice, dollar, effort, and vote is ammunition to make that change effective.
AR: With the advent of the release of the August PMI being the highest in the last 3 years, do you think the movement of Made in America and the focus on the importance of American Manufacturing is on the rise?
JM: I think so, yes. When people start understanding that simple economics (supply and demand) are affected, such as an interest and increase in purchasing of American made goods, it is a rising tide lifts all boats scenario.
That is very evident in Wal-Mart’s recent “Made in the USA” push over the last year. Not many people love Wal-Mart anymore because they feel it hurt American Manufacturing, and the small town store in general, losing American jobs. Some would be surprised, that I am an actual fan of what Wal-Mart is doing. Even though I try and support the local economy with local purchases, you can’t argue with a company that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans and is now pushing to put their action into place over lip service. So why did Wal-Mart make this push? Because the American people demanded it. Wal-Mart didn’t want the slide of their business to happen because they were not viewed as “Pro-American,” so they did something about it. Is it a marketing/sales ploy? Most likely. But if the result is a focus on “Made in the USA,” and it helps, I can’t NOT support that! That is the kind of impact we can make by making more American friendly decisions. Think about your local grocer, think about your local economy, and make an impact where you can. It’s not hard, it’s just about the small things adding up.
AR: Any last words as you anticipate the launch of “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey” hits iTunes on September 30th?
JM: Yes, another call to the administration and politicians. For businesses to function properly we need consistency and long term plans from administration. If I was a business, I want to think long term, and that is how Democrats and Republicans should think. But they think more about their party line than the long term. Stop worrying about your party line and do what is best for American Manufacturing. And finally, remember, YOU have a choice….choose for American Manufacturing.
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