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By Latanyua Taylor Robinson
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to ...
Purposed Work
Latanyua Taylor Robinson describes herself as a minister for manufacturing. In 2010, she started Latrobe LLC, a manufacturing and engineering services company. Latrobe’s mission: to create jobs in industrial manufacturing, specifically in low to moderate income communities. Latanyua’s educational credentials include a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana Wesleyan University. She developed a passion for manufacturing while in college. Throughout her career, Latanyua has held a variety of increasing responsibilities in operations, engineering, quality and marketing management. These assignments created opportunities to travel domestically and around the world, including various countries throughout Europe, China, India, Israel and Mexico. At such companies as Cargill, Sony and Kennametal, Latanyua met the challenges that come with being the “first” and the “only” as an opportunity to demonstrate that with proper training, women can succeed in jobs and industries traditionally reserved for men. Latrobe began as a contract manufacturing company. Today the portfolio has expanded to include process engineering, strategic marketing and construction tools and services. In May 2011, Latanyua was selected and honored as a Finalist at the Greater Washington D.C.’s Annual Women in Technology Leadership Awards in the category of Entrepreneur. In September 2011, she opened a second office in Port Arthur, Texas, to support job creation in manufacturing in southeast Texas and along the Sabine River into Louisiana. Additionally in October 2011 and 2012, Latanyua was a featured panel speaker at the Women in Manufacturing Symposiums held in Cleveland, Ohio and Milwaukee, Wisc. In April 2013, Latanyua will become an inducted member of the Arkansas Academy of Industrial Engineers. Her next goal is to launch a non-profit organization focused toward getting more girls and women involved in manufacturing and technology. Girls Engaged in Manufacturing Studies (GEMS) mission and goals are to increase the numbers of females entering high tech, engineering and STEM related professions that are critical to our nation’s future growth and competitive edge in the global marketplace. Latanyua is married to James Robinson and they have a son named Quincy. The family currently resides in the Beaumont, Texas metro area. In her spare time, Latanyua shares her thoughts on economic diversity and the importance of manufacturing in sustaining the middle class economy in a blog titled, Purposed Work.
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…You have given him dominion over the good works of your hands…<>
(Psalm 8:6)<>
The job numbers were announced this week. In August 2013, 169,000 total jobs were added and unemployment fell to 7.3%. Specific to manufacturing, the Institute for Supply Management reported the fastest factory expansion index rate since June 2011. It sounded like positive news, until I saw this graph, illustrating that 6 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States between 2000 and 2009:
There is a lot of talk of a resurgence in manufacturing, but is it realistic to think that the US can return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing?<>
As I pondered about the return of manufacturing jobs, the first thought that came to mind: with man, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I thought of the story of Peter and his efforts to catch fish, resulting in literally nothing for hours. But with one touch, suddenly a divine intervention of time, place, and a mass of fish, allowed Peter to exercise his faith and obedience, by putting down his net, and receiving his reward for his service. If God performed that miracle for fishermen, He can do the same for manufacturing.<>
I live in the Energy Capital of the world. Pre-2000, one of primary deterrents of operating an industrial manufacturing factory was energy costs. Fast forward to 2012, and this region has started gear up its construction efforts to produce more shale gas, natural, gas, or heavy oil into usable products. The petrochemical industry in this area is booming and I can see the positive trends falling over into other areas of manufacturing: steelmakers, pipe and tube manufacturers, concrete accessories, and glass manufacturers. In fact, a recent IHS study confirms that manufacturing related to producing unconventional oil and gas will support over 500k jobs (or 4.2% of all manufacturing jobs) by 2025. To read the entire study, visit http://www.ihs.com/info/ecc/a/americas-new-energy-future-report-vol-3.aspx.<>
With the 500k jobs forecasted to produce oil and natural gas, there is still the matter of where will the remaining 5.5 million job derive. To be honest, many jobs will not come back. A significant portion of the jobs losses in the United States were due to productivity improvements in manufacturing. Larger companies who have invested in automation and robots are able to do more with less, freeing up resources to focus on more value-added activities like research and development. The goal is to innovate the next generation of industrial goods and services needed by the global economy. On the other hand, this effort to innovate is also in process locally, among smaller companies and communities.<>
I began this post questioning whether or not the United States could ever return to pre-2000 employment numbers in industrial manufacturing. Six million jobs is a large gap to close. As believers, we have to place our faith in The One who has dominion over the good works of our hands. We have to invest our efforts, time, and talent until we are commanded to cast down our nets to receive work that He has purposed for us to do. Feel free to comment about your thoughts on the return of manufacturing jobs, or, send me an email at latanyua.robinson@gmail.com. If you like this post and want to catch up on some of my previous discussions, please visit the full Purposed Work blog at http://ltr-latrobe-mfg.blogspot.com/.<>

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