Five Questions With Dave Chenevert

1. What is your professional background in manufacturing? I owned my own company for 31 years. Swissline Precision Mfg. Inc. was an advanced-manufacturing company servicing the aerospace and medical industries. I employed 65 people and had over 70 machines in my facility. … I own a 36,000-square-foot building that Swissline still operates out of today. My son is now president of Swissline Precision LLC.

2. What are the biggest concerns of manufacturers? A trained workforce is at the forefront of most manufacturers. Qualified labor that has the basics, the soft skills and the desire to learn a career and not just a job. … Energy and health care are other areas of major concern.

3. What are some of the economic-development tools aimed at manufacturing? We have five to six major items that are in the [fiscal 2018 budget proposal stalled in the General Assembly]. These are items already in existence but do not incorporate the subchapter S and LLC corporations. … The investment tax credit, job-training tax credit, qualified-jobs tax incentive, innovation vouchers, sales tax exemption for expansion by manufacturers, these types of creative legislation … are critical in supporting small-business manufacturers.

4. Is the state investing enough in this sector? The major investment is the $3.65 million earmarked for Davies Vocational. This is a selling tool to new business willing to come to Rhode Island. … Manufacturing is the mainstay needed to drive our … economy. For every job that is created in manufacturing, an additional two jobs are created in support capacity. We need to continue to sustain the support for manufacturing.

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5. What is the greatest misconception that people have about manufacturing jobs? The greatest misconception is that these jobs are dirty and not very advanced. On the contrary, to obtain a good job learning CNC machining, you need a solid education that encompasses math and verbal skills. The machinery today is so advanced that most guidance counselors, parents and students are not aware of what is offered in the manufacturing sector. We are fortunate that the director of the R.I. Department of Labor and Training, Scott Jensen, has been very supportive of manufacturing and has instituted the Real Jobs RI program to support the manufacturing effort.