One of the key tasks for Tom Kinisky, the new CEO of the North American arm of France’s Saint-Gobain, is to find a way to attract more Americans back to manufacturing, writes Joseph DiStefano for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The building-materials giant finished the $80 million rebuild of its headquarters in Malvern two years ago. The building now includes innovative features like adjustable electronic glass to darken or brighten the lobby windows and acoustic walls and ceilings.
Through these innovations, Kinisky wants to promote Saint-Gobain as a company looking to the future, from innovative office spaces to autonomous cars.
He suggested that now is the time to be in the manufacturing business, as it’s becoming a national priority again. However, Kinisky does not see the old mass-production factories making a comeback. Saint-Gobain has sold or closed several older processing plants in recent years, reducing its North American workforce from 19,000 in 2010 to 14,000 today.
For the future, Kinisky envisions an increase in local, specialized, and high-tech production done in smaller plants.
“The No. 1 challenge I have is people and talent,” he said. “We have to make young people understand that manufacturing is a good career.”