Factory owners have established a new group, Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island, to lobby government and to help its members prosper here.
The initiative is the brainchild of Anne Shybunko-Moore, president of defense contractor GSE Dynamics Inc. in Hauppauge, who serves as the new group’s board chairwoman.
Early members include guitar-string maker, D’Addario & Co. in East Farmingdale, and A&Z Pharmaceutical Inc. in Hauppauge.
Shybunko-Moore said the consortium aims to put business executives back into the driver’s seat of the local economy. “Business people know what we need to do to create jobs — support us in doing it,” she said, referring to local universities, governments and other business groups.
The consortium, unlike the Long Island Association, Hauppauge Industrial Association of Long Island and other business groups, will be devoted solely to manufacturers. They will make up at least 70 percent of the members.
“Long Island in essence stalled when Grumman left and no one was taking the lead to redefine the manufacturing community, despite continued success that was occurring under the radar,” said Shybunko-Moore, a member of the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Since Northrop Grumman Corp. and other defense contractors began downsizing in the 1990s, factory jobs in Nassau and Suffolk counties, on average, have dropped by more than half, from 147,637 in 1991 to 69,514 in 2013, according to the most recent available Census data.
Aircraft parts are still made here, but manufacturers of drugs, vitamins and food employ more people, several economists said.
The consortium plans to create a database to encourage local factories to do business with each other and to show Boeing and other large companies that Long Island can meet their need for products.
The consortium will publicize the Island as a manufacturing center, provide information about economic development programs, organize events and lobby government officials.
Membership dues for plants range from $350 to $2,500 per year, based on workforce size.
More information is available at LongIslandMFG.com or by contacting consortium executive director Jamie Moore at jmoore@LongIslandMFG.com.
The consortium held its first event last week with presentations by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, County Comptroller John Kennedy Jr. and other county officials.
D’Addario is a founding member of the consortium and has a seat on its board of directors.
“We felt there was a need for one voice for the manufacturing community,” said John J. Burke Jr., the company’s general counsel. “There is a perception that manufacturing has left Long Island and that’s not true.”
He also said by assisting smaller factories D’Addario may identify new local suppliers such as the plastic injection molding company on the East End that produces components for D’Addario’s musical instrument accessories.
Burke said, “We want the public to know that manufacturing is a piston in Long Island’s economic engine.”