Drivers of Growth Industry panel moderated by KVUE’s Quita Culpepper. Panel members from left to right: Mike Guidry, Flex; Eric Salwan, Firefly and Jon Taylor, Samsung Austin Semiconductor.
The Austin Regional Manufacturers Association
(ARMA) held its State of Manufacturing Conference & Expo on Sept. 19, which included panels and industry experts' presentations.
Samsung Austin Semiconductor's corporate vice president of Fab Engineering and public affairs, Jon Taylor, participated in a panel titled "Drivers of Growth." The panel featured companies and sectors that are leading expansions in the region, including Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Flex and Firefly.
According to ARMA, in the last year, the Central Texas workforce has grown more than 7% and the area is one of the fastest-growing manufacturing workforces in the country. The total manufacturing employment in the region in 2022 was 70,000.
The panelists talked about why their companies chose to grow in the region, the workforce and whether our current manufacturing trajectory will last.
"A good rule of thumb—in the semiconductor industry—for every one manufacturing position, it usually takes six in the ecosystem to support," Taylor explained. "While we already have a good semiconductor ecosystem in Central Texas, if you put something like what we're building in Taylor, it really requires growth on everybody's part in the ecosystem that exists now. We see all of our partners scaling up their employees, bringing more employees in and getting ready for that growth in the first factory."
In terms of recruiting talent, all three panelists agree that being in a city as vibrant as Austin helps attract talent but there is the challenge of inspiring young people to choose a career in manufacturing.
“Texas gives you the opportunity to move super-fast and they’re very business-friendly,” Eric Salwan with Firefly said about why the aerospace company chose to do business in the state. “Once we decided on Texas, Austin was selected because we have very specialized engineers that we have to pull from all over the country and Austin is an easy sell.”
To grow the talent pipeline locally, Taylor mentioned Samsung Austin Semiconductor’s recent investments
to the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
“As we continue to further invest and grow, how we get people to come work at our site is very important to us,” Taylor added.
To learn more about manufacturing jobs at Samsung Austin Semiconductor, click here.