The Council of Industry, a nonprofit, 116-year-old Hudson Valley manufacturers association, recently honored the owner of a Poughkeepsie electronics factory, a Rockland County community college president, a metal trades teacher in Ulster County, and a regional planning organization in Newburgh with its 2016 Manufacturing Champions awards.
The awards, presented at the Powelton Club in Newburgh, recognize people “who through vision, dedication, hard work and tireless involvement have helped to overcome some of the many obstacles faced by manufacturers in the Hudson Valley community and have made it possible for manufacturers and their employees to prosper,” according to the association.
Michael Ratliff, president of Marco Manufacturing Inc., an electronics contract manufacturer, was named private-sector champion. Ratliff opened the business in 1996 when Atlantic Design Corp. closed its Poughkeepsie facility, where he was general manager. His company employs more than 30 people, most of whom are former Atlantic Design employees, and services more than 25 customers, according to the Council of Industry.
Cliff Wood, president of SUNY Rockland Community College, was honored as public-sector champion by Council of Industry directors, who cited his leading efforts to meet the workforce development needs of Hudson Valley manufacturers through the creation of a manufacturing center at the college’s Haverstraw campus and the expansion of its 3D printing center. In partnership with the Council of Industry, the college has also begun a certificate in manufacturing leadership program. Wood also serves on the state Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council.
Council directors chose Mark Harris, a metal trades teacher and leader of innovative high-tech student projects at Ulster Board of Cooperative Educational Services, as the association first educator champion. Harris has led BOCES students in a solar car project, the design and building of a robotic exoskeleton arm for the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize competition, and a NASA prototype project. The teacher also has worked to build a Computer Numerical Control classroom and has encouraged numerous young people to pursue careers in machining, according to the Council for Industry.
The association also honored Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, the 50-year-old nonprofit regional planning and policy organization. The council noted that Pattern recently completed a project mapping all workforce and economic development resources in the region that support manufacturing. The asset map will be used to develop regional economic and workforce development strategy.
The awards event’s major sponsor was Ulster Savings Bank, with additional support from The Chazen Cos., PKF O’Connor Davies, Allendale Machinery, Central Hudson, and Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress.