A Woodstock business owner was part of a contingent of manufacturing industry representatives who met with President Donald Trump and other White House officials to discuss issues facing American manufacturers.

Patricia Miller, owner and chief executive officer of Matrix 4, a Woodstock plastics manufacturer, took part in the meeting with the president March 31. The meeting was part of a visit to the White House arranged by the National Association of Manufacturers, on whose board Miller sits.

“I was completely honored to be asked to represent small to mid-sized manufacturers,” Miller said. More than 80 percent of all American manufacturing companies fall into that category, she added.

At the meeting, Trump and his staff discussed with NAM representatives topics ranging from federal regulations and infrastructure spending to workforce development and tax policy, according to Miller.

“Manufacturing has always been such a strong backbone of our economy,” Miller said. “… A lot of that has been impacted over the last decade.” 

Miller said she was encouraged by the attention paid by the president and his staff to manufacturers, particularly small and family-owned operations that make up the bulk of the American manufacturing industry. In contrast to the prevailing narrative that domestic manufacturing is dwindling, Matrix 4 has added new employees over the past few years. 

“We’ve started to create a much stronger ecosystem,” said Miller, who described American manufacturers as “optimistic” about the future of their industry and the economy, especially with promises from Trump to reduce regulations on businesses.

As for domestic trends, Miller said she believes manufacturing will always exist, but the ways in which American industry works will continue to change and diversify. She cited co-working in shared spaces, manufacturing in home garages and business incubators as examples.

“I think there’s always going to be a need to produce physical products,” Miller said. “What we’re still looking at is, how does that look and how is it defined? … There’s still a lot from that traditional legacy to embrace, but there’s a ton happening in terms of digitization and automation and removing some of the barriers to entry on the physical side.”

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