Last month, the region convened for the annual Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Initiative (BAUM) Annual Summit. Above all, the event was a celebration of the hard work that manufacturing stakeholders across the Bay Area are doing every day to support the sector. From elected officials and policy leaders to industry representatives and partner organizations, BAUM continues to provide a critical umbrella over all of these activities, and Fremont remains a strong advocate of its efforts. We recently caught up with SF Made’s Martine Neider to get her perspective on the initiative and its success in building a truly regional coalition around manufacturing.


Summit attendees during pre-event networking.


1. As BAUM closes out its third year as a formal initiative, what do you see as the biggest breakthroughs or accomplishments in 2018?

In its third year, BAUM was able to fulfill its mission to be a connector between cities in the region. In 2018, cities collaborated to promote manufacturing in the Bay Area in a number of ways, including the first regional MFG DAY and a region-wide social media campaign called Manufacturing the Dream. These efforts are much more powerful when we can show support from the whole region.

2. Having researched the Bay Area’s manufacturing ecosystem in such depth, are there findings that have surprised you?

Even though I knew the Bay Area had a significant manufacturing base, I was still surprised by its size and its breadth. I could build and furnish a house — complete with plumbing — and of course clothe, medicate, feed, and drive myself to work using only items made in the region. When I first started researching local manufacturing, I thought I would find two distinct categories of businesses: small, artisan consumer brands and high-end electronic or medical devices. Manufacturing in the region turned out to encompass much more. This is the Bay Area’s great strength and in my opinion, why the local industry has been able to weather so many changes.


Adams & Chittenden Co-Founder George Chittenden and Project Equity Co-Founder Hilary Abell discussing the process of converting Adams & Chittenden into an employee-owned business. Moderated by Chris Burton, City of San Jose.


3. This year’s annual summit was a fantastic blend, showcasing state/ regional political support and the power of partners who support our manufacturing environment. Why is the summit such an important culmination of your work each year?

Every year we have the opportunity to truly celebrate local manufacturing at the Bay Area Urban Manufacturing Summit. During the Summit we can show not only our political partners, but also manufacturers themselves that the region cares deeply about their concerns. This year we sponsored individuals from our Manufacturing the Dream campaign to attend, and they were blown away by the fact that so many people are excited about manufacturing and the work they do every day.

4. What inspires you about manufacturing and has led you to this career focus?

Honestly, I ended up in manufacturing mostly because I like to make things, but also because the way we choose to manufacture the world around us affects everything from international labor to the local environment. Over time I came to value local manufacturing specifically because it gives opportunities to people who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Hopefully it will allow the Bay Area to remain a place where anyone can prosper.


San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo speaking about the importance of working together to support manufacturing.