news-Jim-Kepplerby Jim Keppler, VP Integrated Supply Chain & Quality, Whirlpool Corporation

On Friday, October 2, the U.S. will celebrate National Manufacturing Day — a day set aside to provide visibility to the importance of manufacturing in our local communities and at a national level, and to address common misperceptions about manufacturing.  On this day, manufacturers will have the opportunity to open their doors and show what manufacturing is, and what it is not. Since 2012, National Manufacturing Day has grown from several companies hosting 200 events, to last year when more than 100 companies held nearly 1,700 events.

This year, for the first time all of Whirlpool Corporation’s U.S. manufacturing plants are participating in National Manufacturing Day. We’ll be hosting or sponsoring events in our plant-communities targeted to students and teachers as well as community and government leaders.

Participation in National Manufacturing Day is aimed at dispelling the myth that jobs in manufacturing are dirty, dark and dangerous — the last resort for those who can’t cut it in anywhere else. Nothing could be further from the truth. Manufacturing jobs are innovative, advanced and secure — and vital to a strong U.S. economy. More than 17.6 million U.S. jobs are tied directly to manufacturing; and for every dollar spent in manufacturing, an additional $1.37 is returned to our economy.

For Whirlpool Corporation specifically, our nine U.S. manufacturing plants employ more than 15,000 men and women, who build high-quality home appliances that make life easier for all who use them. Our plants have incorporated much of the latest technology and are exploring opportunities to add more. In fact, since 2010 we’ve invested more than $1 billion in our U.S. manufacturing operations on new facilities and plant upgrades to ensure we have the processes and technology in place to produce great appliances for our consumers.

In several of our plant communities, we are the largest employer, and in all of them, we play a key role in supplying good jobs, which fuel economic growth and prosperity. Whirlpool employees, their spouses and families are highly involved in our communities, volunteering thousands of hours and raising tens of thousands of dollars to support important organizations that help our communities thrive.

For me, manufacturing is more than a job — it’s my passion. I’ve either worked in a manufacturing facility, managed a plant or managed multiple manufacturing facilities, for more than 25 years. Manufacturing energizes me because it’s where the rubber meets the road and great concepts are brought to life as tangible products, proudly built by dedicated men and women.

Throughout October, you’ll see and hear a number of stories as we highlight manufacturing — and showcase why Manufacturing Matters today and every day.