We had the chance to sit down and talk with Drew Greenblatt, CEO of Marlin Steel and Head of the Small to Mid Sized Business Council of the National Association of Manufacturers, when he was speaking at the San Antonio Manufacturers Association‘s South Central Texas Manufacturing Trade Show and Conference in San Antonio. We talked manufacturing in the United States and how on-shoring is increasing.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. 844-814-8144 is our 24 hour answer line. We’re talking manufacturing. I’ll tell you what, we have a great guest for you. Really smart guy on national level manufacturing policies and everything. You’re going to enjoy it a whole lot. I’m your host Matt Register, Jay Curry had to step out for just a second. I’m joined with my business partner George Walden. George talk to me.
George Walden: Well, I’m very excited to be a part of this segment. The reality is manufacturing is returning in this country. I am so pro manufacturing. And to have a chance to talk to the chairman of the small and medium sized National Association of Manufacturers is just amazing to me. It’s like crack for a junkie. This is exciting to be talking to you and to hear what you are doing and what you’re doing with this administration.
Matt Register: Well, no doubt. Drew Greenblatt is the president of Marlin Steel. Not only that, it’s like you just said the chairman of the small and medium sized manufacturers. That’s a part of the National Association of Manufacturers. Is that correct?
Drew Greenblatt: Perfect. You nailed it.
Matt Register: Drew welcome to the show.
Drew Greenblatt: Thank you. Thank you for the invite. Having a lot of fun in Texas.
Matt Register: Certainly are. And now your company Marlin Steele is out of Baltimore, right? But you’re down here in Texas as a national level expert on manufacturing. Tell us a little bit about Marlin’s Steel, what it is you guys do?
Drew Greenblatt: So, Marlin Steel is a 49 year old fabricator of wire baskets and sheet metal fabrications. We shipped to 39 countries. Our niches quality engineered quick. We’re focused in on making high quality baskets and racks for factories. We hold the parts that go down the production line. We hold components at a Toyota plant.
Matt Register: Sure.
Drew Greenblatt: Or at a Caterpillar plant, as it moves through the factory.
Matt Register: Now, I would imagine most of the stuff is fairly custom. They need exactly what they need, they need it quick. Correct?
Drew Greenblatt: Exactly. So, what we use is innovation. 20 percent of our employees are degreed mechanical engineers. And they get the components from the engineer at these auto companies or the pharmaceutical company and they design components and racks. So that the client can have a factory that runs real smooth.
Matt Register: No, makes a whole lot of sense. And that Web site is Marlanwire.com. But we’re going to talk about something else. We’re going to talk about your free job. Right? We’re going to talk about how you have chosen to give back and the leadership you’re showing in the manufacturing industry. Talk to me a little bit about your extracurricular activities as it pertains to that.
Drew Greenblatt: Well I’m passionate about USA manufacturing. I think it’s critical to the success of middle class. The way to grow the middle class is to have a prospering, thriving, manufacturing economy.
Matt Register: Amen, yes.
Drew Greenblatt: We pay on average $83000 a year on average in pay and benefits for our employees. That’s a staggering amount of money. And these are the kinds of jobs we need as a nation. Ninety seven percent of us pay health insurance. So these are the kinds of jobs that we need to coddle and we need to grow more of. So I believe, very passionately, that we have to increase manufacturing in America. And if we do it, we’re going to bootstrap up poor people. We’re going to end poverty. We’re going to bring them into the middle class. We’re going to give them dignity in good jobs.
Matt Register: No, I couldn’t agree more. Right? The question is there are varying opinions on how to best do that. The current administration of which you have met with, right? Certainly believes that reduce regulation, get government out of the way, let’s let the private industry do it themselves. Talk to me a little bit about what it is you are working towards as you’re as you’re working in these administrations.
Drew Greenblatt: So I had the privilege of meeting President Trump on March 31 a couple of weeks ago and a little over a month ago. And a couple weeks before that I spent an hour with Vice President Pence and we talked about their prescriptions, their policy prescriptions, on how to grow a middle class. How to get manufacturing rocking and rolling again. And I think they have a program that will increase jobs in America by millions and millions of jobs. They have a multi step approach. One of them is tax reform. Right now we’re paying small businesses and factories are paying thirty nine point six percent in taxes. In Canada they pay 15 percent. In Germany they pay less than us. That’s not a fair situation. We can’t compete under that circumstance. So one thing President Trump’s talking about doing is driving down the tax rate, so we can be more competitive. And you know the winner is going to be? It’s going to be an unemployed person that’s going to get a job. Right now that unemployed person has no shot.
Matt Register: Sure.
Drew Greenblatt: You know. And our employees are going to get an opportunity to get a lot of overtime because we’re going to win more business. Another thing President Trump is pursuing is reducing regulation 75 percent. Right now, we have two hundred ninety six thousand regulations on factories in America.
Matt Register: That sounds actually low. Yeah I got it. It’s a tremendous amount.
Drew Greenblatt: It’s overwhelming. And it.. and the average small factory, their employee it’s like a $34000 burden on each employee per year just complying with all these regulations. Now I think we need many regulations because we need clean air. We need clean water. That’s a given. We need workers rights protected. Those are all lay ups. That’s obvious. We don’t want air that’s as clean as China. We want American clean air.
Matt Register: Sure.
Drew Greenblatt: So but that being said you could still have 75 percent less regulations. I believe…
Matt Register: On a sliding scale between where we are now in anarchy, right? It doesn’t… It’s not a binary choice, right? It’s a sliding scale and it certainly needs to go, go further that direction. Right? And reducing some of the burden.
Drew Greenblatt: Absolutely. Another thing that President Trump is pressing for is energy, a rebirth in our energy. A renaissance in our energy and he’s showing it is demonstrating it real quick. Right out of the gate, Keystone, Dakota, offshore oil drilling, freeing up coal regulations. Bang! That’s going to be big jobs, fast. And these are great jobs. I mean a welder in Texas on one of these pipelines, he’s be making 80 grand a year, 100 grand a year.
Matt Register: Sure.
Drew Greenblatt: We need these jobs desperately in our country right now.
Matt Register: Yep. No doubt. Talk to me a little bit about the long term competition. You know for years now China has been coming online. And has, has done quite a number on American manufacturing. Those jobs are starting to come back. Why is that? What is changed that is allowing some of those jobs to come back?
Drew Greenblatt: Well, America’s greatest country in the world. We have the rule of law. You know, we don’t have a perfect legal system but you don’t have to pay off a Communist Party leader to get something done in our country. You know, we have fairly established rules and regulations and that’s net… that makes for a good place to put a business. Number two intellectual property rights. We protect intellectual property in America. It’s very important to our country and to our innovation. In other countries they’ll pilfer it. They’ll steal it left, left and right. That’s just not right. So these are some reasons that are always good to be building in America. But we have a huge market. We have a rich market. We have an infrastructure system that needs to be fixed. But at least it’s a solid infrastructure system. It’s got to be improved. We have great schools. Our university system is very strong. We’re teaching great talent. People all over the world are killing themselves to learn in our schools.
Matt Register: Sure.
Drew Greenblatt: There’s a lot of benefits to building in America. And you know, if we can get these tax reforms done right. We can get this regulation reform done right. We can get health insurance reform done right. You’re going to see such an American manufacturing renaissance. It will be amazing. It’s… we’re poised for great things. Our country is like a coiled spring. It’s such an exciting time. We’re at an inflection point right now.
Matt Register: Well and hey, God Bless America. I’m on your team. I hope it happens and I’m looking forward to it. There’s always a downside. Right? When, when, when China first started coming online and the opportunity for cheap, you know, parts was there. The downsides were certainly the intellectual property rights. And the fact that they have very, very little protection of that and you can almost guarantee that, that’s going to go away. You’re right. There is a whole lot to like about American manufacturing and it’s growing. We see it here, we see it all over the state. So, Drew Greenblatt is a president Marlin Steel. He is also the chairman of the small and medium sized manufacturers Council at the National Association of Manufacturers. Is that close?
Drew Greenblatt: Yeah, you’ve got it.
Matt Register: It’s a mouthful. Yes. So, bottom line thank you very much for joining us.
Drew Greenblatt: My pleasure. I had a lot of fun. I’m so glad you guys are supporting manufacturing. These are critical jobs that our nation needs desperately.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt, no doubt at all. If you want to learn more MarlinSteel.com, Marlinwire.com, marlinwire.com is the website. We’re going to have a link right there from Texasbusinessradio.com. We’re going to have to pay a couple of bills, take a quick break. We’re going to be back right after this. Don’t go away.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.