Miller Center Commission, Symposium to Focus on Creating New Manufacturing Jobs


Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh will co-chair a new University of Virginia Miller Center commission focused on job creation for small- and medium-sized manufacturers. The effort is part of the “Milstein Symposium: Ideas for a New American Century,” a new Miller Center initiative that is addressing challenges facing America’s middle class.

The symposium is bringing together policymakers, business leaders, scholars and journalists to define and advance innovative, nonpartisan and action-oriented ideas and policies to help rebuild the American Dream. The first year will focus on renewing middle-class jobs, and three commissions will examine topics in manufacturing, entrepreneurship and self-employment, and infrastructure investment.

Besides Barbour, a Republican, and Bayh, a Democrat, other members of the commission on manufacturing include:

  • Rebecca O. Bagley, president and chief executive officer, NorTech, a technology-based economic development organization focusing on Northeast Ohio
  • Aaron Bagshaw, president, WH Bagshaw Co., the oldest pin manufacturer in the United States
  • Matthew Burnett, founder, Maker’s Row, a company endeavoring to simplify the manufacturing process by connecting designers to domestic manufacturers
  • W. Bernard Carlson, chair, U.Va. Department of Engineering and Society; professor of science, technology and history, and the commission’s lead scholar
  • Jennifer Clark, associate professor at the School of Public Policy and director of the Center for Urban Innovation in the Ivan Allen College, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Former Michigan Gov. John Engler, president, Business Roundtable
  • James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic
  • James Manyika, director, McKinsey Global Institute; senior partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Kate Sofis, executive director, SFMade, a non-profit corporation working to bolster San Francisco’s economic base through local manufacturing
  • Howard Wial, director, Center for Urban Economic Development, University of Illinois, Chicago

“For generations, small- and medium-sized manufacturers have provided stable, good-paying jobs for middle-class Americans,” Bayh said. “As we move rapidly into the 21st-century global economy, we need fresh thinking to ensure that these companies can continue to grow and put people to work.”

Barbour said, “The public has understandably lost confidence in Washington’s ability to generate common-sense, bipartisan solutions to our nation’s challenges. This commission will bring together policymakers, scholars, industry leaders and other stakeholders to craft those solutions – the type of people that can achieve broad consensus and develop actionable ideas, not just more rhetoric.”

Barbour and Bayh have strong histories in advancing new ideas to benefit manufacturing and small business. As governor, Barbour expanded the number of high-skilled jobs in Mississippi’s manufacturing sector and helped launch the University of Mississippi’s Center for Manufacturing Excellence. In the Senate, Bayh – also a former governor of Indiana – was active on the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee and introduced legislation to expand Small Business Administration loans to small manufacturers, which was enacted a year later.

The commission is expected to release recommendations in February.

Funding for this initiative was provided by philanthropist, business and civic leader Howard P. Milstein.

More information on the Milstein Symposium is available here.

Media Contact

Kim Curtis

Miller Center