A new effort to influence technology policy in the nation’s capital is underway, spearheaded by the largest manufacturing association in the U.S.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently launched the new D.A.T.A. (Driving the Agenda for Technology Advancement) Policy Center, a group geared toward better educating policymakers, legislators, and the general public about manufacturers’ role in driving technology forward.

In particular, the campaign will help the lobbying group win critical policy battles in regards to better safeguarding companies’ information infrastructures, patents, and intellectual property from hackers, spies, and various other cybersecurity threats.

The D.A.T.A. Center will also promote policies and strategies that improve connectivity and foster an environment that pushes innovation via surveys, corporate events, and a variety of other promotional materials, says Jay Timmons, president and CEO of NAM.

“The innovation that drives manufacturing and improves the lives of all Americans needs a national technology policy that will allow it to flourish,” Timmons says. “Manufacturers are global technology leaders, and the D.A.T.A. Center will be an important tool in educating audiences about pro-growth technology policies.”

Timmons adds: “Manufacturers invest more in research and development and hold more patents than all other domestic industrial sectors combined. Their expertise and experience are critical to any technology debate.”

The initiative already had 23 participants from an assortment of industries at the start of November. For instance, there was Boeing and Lockheed Martin from aerospace; AT&T and Verizon from telecommunications; and General Motors, Honda North America, Harley-Davidson, and Toyota Motor North America from automotive.

Other participants, according to NAM, include:

  • Alcoa Inc.
  • Applied Materials, Inc.
  • Boston Scientific Corporation
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • Cummins Allison Corporation
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Procter & Gamble
  • PTC
  • SAP America, Inc.
  • Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.
  • Smiths Group
  • Teradata Corporation
  • Texas Instruments Incorporated
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.

Tim Keating, senior vice president of government operations at Boeing, supports the effort “because innovation and continuous product improvement is the key” to success in today’s global markets.

“It is vitally important that our government leaders and the public at large fully appreciate the links between research and development, innovation, U.S. manufacturing jobs, and our nation’s future economic prosperity,” Keating says.

Rick Schostek, senior vice president at Honda North America, Inc., echoes similar sentiments.

“Technology has already driven tremendous innovation and efficiency throughout our manufacturing processes here in the United States and abroad,” Schostek says. “The new D.A.T.A. Policy Center will further facilitate two-way communication between policymakers and the private sector, and Honda is proud to partner with the NAM as we seek to further cultivate a highly skilled and technically trained manufacturing workforce.”

Steve Ciccone, group vice president of government affairs at Toyota Motor North America, says the effort is imperative as more automobiles become increasingly interconnected with modern digital technology.

“The automobile is in the midst of a technological revolution. Cars are increasingly connected to the Internet and to each other,” Ciccone says. “The technology behind the ‘connected car’ is not only creating new benefits for driver safety and connectivity, but is also raising an array of public policy issues. We look forward to working closely with the NAM’s new D.A.T.A. Center to make sure that the voice of auto manufacturers is heard as technology policy is being developed.”

About the National Association of Manufacturers
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 12 million men and women, contributes more than $1.8 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for two-thirds of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States.