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| 1 minute read

Manufacturing: The Engine That Drives The Wisconsin Economy

Today marks the last episode of the Wisconsin Made. The Podcast. 

For those that are unfamiliar, in lieu of the annual black-tie gala for the Manufacturer of the Year (MOTY) Awards Program, Michael Best, Baker Tilly, and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce partnered together on this podcast to recognize Wisconsin manufacturers and all of the strength and resilience they have demonstrated during the pandemic. Over the past several weeks, I have tuned in to hear CEOs and executives from our local manufacturers share their stories of challenges, opportunities, and successes over the last year. I am genuinely in awe of each and every one of the guests that have been featured on the episodes.

One of the stories I continue to think about is the one featured in episode 7 with the guest Jim Kerlin, CEO of Beyond Vision. Beyond Vision is a non-profit social enterprise with the mission of providing gainful employment to people who have vision loss and blindness. Jim and this organization are creating job opportunities and career paths for those that are visually impaired, currently employing 120 people in the Milwaukee-area. Throughout the episode, Jim discusses how he was able to keep the essential workers safe, create additional emergency PTO for employees, and even as restrictions lift now, encouraging workers to take precautions still to keep each other safe. Like so many other guests on the podcast, Jim is doing great things for the Wisconsin community within the manufacturing industry and beyond.

I hope this podcast helps shine a light on the hardworking and adaptable manufacturing industry in Wisconsin. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to the series, you can find all the Wisconsin Made. The Podcast. episodes here: Wisconsin Made. The Podcast. | Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year (

We remain committed to our mission of recognizing excellence in manufacturing, and as part of that continued commitment, we want to showcase the strength and resilience of Wisconsin’s manufacturing community – even during a global pandemic. This podcast features stories of how traditional operations, processes and procedures may have shifted, re-envisioning manufacturing today. Now more than ever, it is crucial to come together as one community to remember that manufacturing is not only the backbone, but the engine that drives this great state’s economy.


l&e, manufacturing, wisconsin, beyond vision, moty