The White House Comes to Pittsburgh

Schneider Downs

By Raymond Buehler

On October 11, I was thrilled to be a participant in the Manufacturing Listening and Action Session, hosted by the White House at the Seegrid headquarters in Pittsburgh.

Members of the Jobs Council, and other senior Administration officials, visited Pittsburgh to meet with local business leaders for a dynamic discussion regarding how the public and private sectors can help kick-start the economy and support job creation in our market. The event was part of President Obama’s initiative to promote the Jobs Bill, and preceded his visit later in the day.

As President and CEO of Schneider Downs, I’m proud to have been included in the session, and equally proud to report that concept of this roundtable discussion was productive and relevant to the region. Our local business leaders were vocal in sharing their concerns, ideas and solutions on a variety of topics, including:

• Regulation burden
• Reforming trade agreements with certain countries, including China and South Korea
• Access to capital
• Creating a more favorable environment for IPOs
• Examining the potential of cluster manufacturing for our region

I would love to report that we reached a consensus or agreed on a best course of action. In truth, there were many different opinions in the room, and it is apparent that progressive solutions will be challenging to identify and execute. There is much to consider, and the problem is truly very large.

What I did enjoy most, however, was witnessing the energy and conviction of the business leaders in the room. The Pittsburgh region represented itself well through a provocative and productive discourse with our national leaders. I sense that the Committee and Administration officials left Pittsburgh with new ideas and information…and a healthy respect for those who they met in the session.

I’m not sure yet what the final solutions will be, but I do know that we’ll reach them through discourse, debate and compromise. And, judging from what witnessed at this panel discussion, our region has the strategists – and the energy – to make it happen.

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