As the manufacturing industry continues to expand throughout the state of Florida, so does the need for local leadership, support and resources. In response, the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA) is proud to welcome Rob Harris as its new Executive Director. This strategic move better aligns the organization with FloridaMakes and its many resources, as well as expands its manufacturing relationships and reach further north with the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association.
In his role as Executive Director, Harris will focus on the continued growth of the association, manufacturing and membership. He will work to connect regional manufacturers with the valued resources and tools necessary to succeed, and continue hosting monthly events that focus on education, plant tours, CEO roundtables and networking socials.
“Since early 2020, our SRMA board has been working on a strategic plan that would serve to optimize benefits and resources for regional manufacturers,” says SRMA Board Chair Jeff Poirier. “Harris and our board members will be reaching out to manufacturers individually to offer free assessments in the months ahead and offer support where it is needed most.”
Harris is no stranger to manufacturing. He has spent nearly his entire career working in various leadership, sales and marketing positions within the industry, most recently as the Director of Supply Chain and I.T. at Teakdecking Systems, Inc. in Sarasota. Prior to that he served as the Chief Operating Officer at Sun Graphic Technologies, Inc. and served as board member and director of the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association.
“I am excited about the future of manufacturing in Florida and look forward to connecting with existing and future SRMA members in the weeks and months ahead. The new formal relationship with FloridaMakes will bring a whole new basket of resources to the manufacturers of Southwest Florida,” says Harris.
SRMA’s summer event series kicked off in May with a plant tour at S4J, followed by an after-hours social at Riptide Brewing in June. On July 28, from 8 to 9:30, SRMA has lined up a powerhouse panel of speakers who will discuss international trade. Panelists include Elena Mendez of EXIM Bank, Dan Bierk at the Department of Commerce, Kevin Brady with FGCU FSBDC, and Gary McKinley of Craters and Freighters. International certifications, EXIM Bank, vetting international firms, quality standards and imports/exports will be discussed. This event is graciously sponsored by Craters and Freighters. Everyone is welcome.