From the Editor

Manufacturing – it’s one of Volusia County’s leading industries, with more than 400 manufacturers employing over 11,000 workers. This issue of Evolve takes a broad look at the industry – how it’s changing, some of its challenges, and how some local manufacturers are preparing to grow and sustain themselves for a future here, in Volusia County.

As we approached the issue, we started with a question: “Does automation eliminate jobs?” We turned to Jayne Fifer, our local manufacturing champion and President of the Volusia Manufacturing Association, to provide her perspective.

She takes on the sensitive subject of “automation vs jobs” in her thought leadership piece for The Road Ahead. One big take-away from the article–automation has and will continue to displace some workers, while providing opportunity to others. The future of manufacturing will be marked by a need for higher skilled workers.

To that end, Daytona State College is doing its part to meet some of that demand. Our article on their manufacturing-related programming highlights their efforts to prepare students to assume those positions.

Meanwhile, our article Tackling the Talent Challenge in Manufacturing shines a light on the difficulties of an already tight labor market and some of the ways in which companies are responding.

In our article Modern Manufacturing, we explore what manufacturing is today–taking a closer look at some of our area manufacturers who have embraced cutting-edge technology to meet the demands of their customers in a faster more efficient manner.

Lessons Learned highlights knowledge and experience gained in manufacturing that is relevant to almost any industry.

And in our profile on B. Braun Medical, we take a look at how one of the area’s largest manufacturers came to call Volusia County home.

So where does this leave us? We must find more opportunities to provide individuals with the education and skills they’ll need in a new market. We must open our arms to companies looking to take root here; and we must embrace the new technology that will allow our manufacturers to continue to not just compete, but thrive.


John Guthrie Editor, EVOLVE