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A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with Andrew Crowe

In the face of adversity, remarkable stories of positive and powerful change often emerge. IMTS+ presents the inspiring journey of Andrew Crowe, the founder of The New American Manufacturing Renaissance, in Season Three of “Profiles in Manufacturing,” ...
Jul 05, 2023

In the face of adversity, remarkable stories of positive and powerful change often emerge. IMTS+ is thrilled to present the inspiring journey of Andrew Crowe, the founder of 

The New American Manufacturing Renaissance (NAMR) and an industry motivational speaker, in Season Three of “Profiles in Manufacturing,” an IMTS+ Original Series. Brace yourself for a powerful surge of motivation as we dive into how Crowe turned his challenges into opportunities. The IMTS+ premier aired on May 25 on IMTS.com, followed by his full episode.  

“We are committed to creating an inclusive and diverse manufacturing landscape by actively engaging and empowering women, minorities, and underserved communities,” says Crowe. “We seek to address historical disparities, promote economic mobility, and forge pathways to success in the manufacturing industry. We firmly believe that by providing equal access and opportunity, we can unleash the untapped potential and talent that resides within these communities, leading to a more prosperous and resilient nation.”  

In 2022, Crowe took that message on tour, making nine stops across the country. Each stop was incredibly different than the last. “That was the beauty of it,” says Crowe. “And it looked like America with each one of these people in a different way. I watched the audience go from hoodies and Jordans to cowboy hats and Wranglers and boots.” 

The tour had two main objectives:  

1) Get communities and people excited and involved in manufacturing.  

2) Provide access by showing industry the pockets of people in communities that want jobs and help them plug into those communities.  

“We touched over 3,000 people,” says Crowe. “In Wichita, the aerospace capital, which no one even knows, what I heard was, ‘At our school, we have all these great programs but no way to connect to the community, and the community doesn’t look like the people running these programs.’” 

Crowe found key players in economic development boards and mayors’ offices. “They want kids to be educated about things that matter and to keep their manufacturing base there and profitable in order to attract more manufacturers,” says Crowe. “The manufacturers want skilled workers.” 

Crowe grew up in St. Louis, and while he was a fair student and good at football, he followed the flash of drugs and paid for it with time served. With a desire to be better and be there for his son — coupled with incredible persistence and an opportunity to run a CNC — Crowe changed the arc of his life.    

Now, as a full-time public speaker for the tour, Crowe is spreading a message of a growing manufacturing industry that needs all Americans that are willing and capable to participate in the industry.  

“It’s a global competition, where other nations are bringing all possible minds, creativity, and experiences to the manufacturing table. We need to start there, because there are groups of Americans that have not been at the table, but that doesn’t mean someone has to give up their seat.”  

In fact, the table is growing because of automation and robotics. Also, where there may be executives leaving other industries, manufacturing may benefit from their expertise in areas of diversification and community relations, for example. “We need to start going after that expertise,” says Crowe. 

The field itself is in a place where business models will shift. “A machinist is not necessarily a person who went through training for one task,” says Crowe. “They may know welding programming and G code, so why put them through manual first and then be hazed. It’s not a rite of passage thing anymore. We can build their skills and knowledge to fit these careers and jobs.” 

In addition to the tour, Crowe was heavily involved in Project MFG, a collaborative effort with communities, educators, and industry leaders to elevate the next generation of highly skilled trade professionals. Clash of Trades, presented by Project MFG, is a national integrated manufacturing competition that showcases careers in trades by putting students’ skills to the test in a television reality competition worth $100,000. 

“Community colleges and high schools in the U.S. put four-person teams together to showcase their skills in areas of manufacturing,” says Crowe. “At the end, we give away $100,000 to the winning school and team.” 

Crowe became involved when he had the opportunity to address Congress, the secretary of defense, joint chiefs of staff, and the White House on the day Russia invaded Ukraine. The discussion centered on the U.S. industrial base, defense, and manufacturing.  

“If we need to get into a conflict, do we have the base to support it,” asks Crowe. “The show is sponsored by the Department of Defense, so they understand that we need the representation. They saw a fire in me and thought it was a great match for the show.” 

Crowe is quick to dismiss any manufacturing rockstar persona: “It's never been about me; it's always been about the community in our industry. How do I make our industry better and keep it here for a long time and pay it back for what it did for me? And then how do I also connect a community that really needs these careers and these jobs that elevate?” 

He’s just as humble when it comes to the tour and his mission. “I don't want to be the guy, and that's why I didn't name it the Drew Crowe tour and it’s The New American Manufacturing Renaissance Tour,” says Crowe. “But who else is going to get out there and connect with these communities in a way that they're going to understand it? Right now, it’s me.”  Risk Takers and Goal Makers 

Grit. Resolve. Mettle. No matter how you describe it, there are plenty of people in the manufacturing industry who have the courage and audacity to dream big and do bigger. These are the individuals featured in Profiles in Manufacturing, an IMTS+ original series: Be sure to watch Season Three of this documentary-style series, which follows a diverse set of leaders, visionaries, and influencers who have shaped the future of the modern manufacturing industry. Watch them at IMTS.com/Profiles3

Kathy Keyes Webster
Managing Editor – Content
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