By James Gardner, AMBayArea Executive Director

Welcome to this the inaugural blog for AMBayArea. This is an opportunity to share a little more in depth about the world of Bay Area manufacturing. It’s a big place, actually. With over 8,000 manufacturing firms of every stripe and size, from cupcakes to jet fuel, Bay Area manufacturers contribute some $50B to the local economy and constitute around a quarter of all manufacturing activity in the state (which is still number 1 in manufacturing output in the US, by the way). And with the 4th largest container port in the country, our logistics capabilities are a key contributor the region’s manufacturing success.

This blog will endeavor to shine a light on the advantages and challenges which Bay Area manufacturers either possess or struggle to overcome in their daily work. There will be original pieces, reposts, and guest bloggers to offer insights into the people and companies in the Bay Area, who use their ingenuity, their tools, and their processes to turn raw materials & component parts into higher value output. The blog will touch on issues reflected in our pillars of activity, namely workforce development, connectivity, member education, purchasing power, and grassroots advocacy.

Wildfires are one such issue. Among many other serious concerns surrounding these disasters, are the far reaching affects which wildfires have over the cost of doing business, particularly as legislators grapple with the question of liability.

The July 26 airing of KQED’s Forum with Michael Krasny addressed this issue head on, bringing point, counterpoint, and lawmaker input to the discussion.

The fact is that manufacturers require reliable power to make their products, and quite often, lots of it. With many players, culpable parties, and competing interests in the mix, a group of California’s manufacturers banded together with other organizations to add their voice to the list of ratepayers who want to see a fair approach to assuming the costs and responsibilities for preventing wildfires or dealing with the aftermath. There is a high risk that those costs would transfer directly to the end-user without industry and residents ensuring they are part of the conversation.