Filmmakers honor Starr Manufacturing

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U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, talks about the impact of manufacturing at a tour of the Valley on Monday by a group of documentarians promoting their film “American Made Movie,” which talks about the history of the manufacturing industry. Starr Manufacturing was one of 32 stops in 32 days for the film’s producers.

By Burton Speakman


The producers of “American Made Movie” want the public to understand their relationship with the manufacturing industry.

Those behind the film traveled to Starr Manufacturing in Vienna and Summer Garden Food in Boardman as part of their tour of 32 cities in 32 days throughout the country to promote the movie.

Starr Manufacturing was presented the “Be A Part” award by the film’s producers for its role in the resurgence of manufacturing in the United States. Starr was nominated for the award by the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber staff.

The goal of this film is that people will think about where the goods they purchase are made, said Nathaniel McGill, one of the film’s producers.

“We want people to be conscious about what they’re buying,” he said.

Dale Forester, from Starr Manufacturing, said she was proud of the limited role her company has played in local manufacturing growth.

“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves three or four times,” she said.

Contracts from businesses involved in coal used to be Starr’s primary customer base, but those jobs mostly have disappeared, Forester said. The company has had to rely on the skill of its employees to transition to new customers such as the shale industry. Starr does fabricating, machining and engineering work.

The film relates to Youngstown’s experiences despite examples coming from all over the country, said Tom Humphries, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

“When I first heard about it, my fear was that it would be a little too negative,” Humphries said.

The film is not negative, it’s factual. It talks about how things have changed and what is occurring in manufacturing, he said.

The key to manufacturing at this point is the willingness of management and the labor force to work together, Humphries said. He gave examples of the workers at Delphi and General Motors partnering with management to overcome financial difficulties.

“What’s happened is not your fault, but you can be part of the system to change,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-13th, reiterated that cooperation is needed to help the United States succeed in manufacturing when facing countries, such as India and China, with much larger populations.

“We have a second industrial revolution going on in the United States,” he said. “There is a revolution happening, and good things are happening in the Mahoning Valley.”

The cooperation includes the government, which needs to understand the right incentives to offer, regulation, deregulation or tax credits that are necessary to help businesses succeed, Ryan said.

“Manufacturing is the key to our future in the United States,” he said.

Manufacturing businesses already have survived much fluctuation in the past 10 to 20 years, Ryan said.

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