Summit looks at ways to spur business growth?

By Angela Carter, Register Staff

NORTH HAVEN - Lex Products Corp. saw its revenue grow from $12 million to $32 million over three years by sticking to five rules, starting with "customers first."

"A lot of people forget about who keeps them employed. It's your customers," said Mike Scala, vice president of operations at Lex Products and a panelist Thursday at a summit sponsored by the New Haven Manufacturers Association at the Covidien, Surgical Devices Group.

Lex Products is consolidating operations from three facilities in Stamford to one larger building in Shelton. The company designs and manufactures electrical power distribution systems for commercial and military clients. It also has offices in Sun Valley, Calif.

As for the other four rules, Scala said members of an organization should "help each other out" and continue to learn new skills.

Ask questions in the course of duty and have fun. "An efficient operation is a profitable operation," he said.

In addition to tips from speakers on growth, the summit covered legislative advocacy, use of social media, developing a future work force, collaboration and provisions of the federal Manufacturing Reinvestment Act.

Harry Moser, chairman emeritus of AgieCharmilles and a leader in the industry's national "reshoring" initiative, spoke to the audience of more than 200 by a remote connection about the trend that has U.S. manufacturers bringing certain jobs back from overseas.

Jack Crane, director of enterprise growth services at CONNSTEP, told listeners they must know the markets they serve and meet the needs of those markets better than their competitors do.

Waterbury state Rep. Selim Noujaim, also executive vice president of Noujain Tool Co.; Eric Brown, associate counsel for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association; and Jack Traver Jr., president of Traver IDC, all encouraged the attendees to bring their needs to the attention of political representatives and to vote.

Among the speakers was Hugh F. McCann Jr., who is pushing for legislation that would allow manufacturers to save pre-tax dollars in a community bank that could be reinvested in equipment, facilities or their work force.

Other featured speakers were David Tuttle, department head for manufacturing at Platt Technical High School in Milford; and Valorie Luther, chief executive officer of Creative Concepts.

NHMA President Paul Hoffman, president of Orange Research Inc., emceed in a white cowboy hat, making it known that manufacturers are "the good guys," who employ 194,200 workers across 5,600 companies around the state.