Building 12 at Pier 70 in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood is undergoing an appearance transformation, but not a transformation in terms of its use. This stunning building will take on a new life as the heart of an industrial-focused mixed-use project by Forest City.

With its revival representing the overall Bay Area manufacturing renaissance, Building 12 was the perfect setting for the first-ever Bay Area Summit on Urban Manufacturing. This event focused on the results of a Bay Area State of Urban Manufacturing Survey.

The event kicked off with a message from Don Howard, CEO of the Irvine Foundation, who is a key contributor to this multi-year, regional effort. The Irvine Foundation believes manufacturing is an engine for economic growth and wants to invest in improving skills for quality jobs.

The panel of mayors representing the four largest Bay Area cities highlighted the potential for collaboration among themselves. Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison noted that a quarter of Fremont’s jobs are in manufacturing, and that the City has come a long way since the shuttered NUMMI plant transformed itself into the Tesla Factory — a beacon of advanced manufacturing.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said that the four mayors will be working together to understand the “science of supply chains” and waxed eloquent on the pride, quality, and uniqueness of local goods found in San Francisco.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo highlighted “San Jose Works,” a summer program for teens that leads to permanent jobs. With the industry becoming “cool” again, cities must prepare workers for the more complex jobs that are found in advanced manufacturing.

Oakland Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington talked about connecting food manufacturing to the community through a creative marketing tool that entices young people to embark on a 50-site “Food Trail.” For more mayoral insight, as well as some beauty shots of our local manufacturers, be sure check out this 3-minute video!

The Bay Area Summit on Urban Manufacturing is sponsored by SFMade, a 501-C3 that is dedicated to developing the local manufacturing sector. It has played a lead role in regional partnership and is responsible for administering the four-city survey. SFMade CEO Kate Sofis summarized key findings, highlighting messages of flexibility, connectivity, and economic inclusion. She rallied the crowd to support four key initiatives that will continue the partnership.

1. Grow larger and more regionally networked manufacturers. Specifically, link contract manufacturing resources to designers and small manufacturers — even across sectors (e.g., electronics and apparel for IoT/wearable applications).

2. Develop intentional training pathways for all Bay Area residents to secure jobs in manufacturing, particularly the expansion of apprenticeship opportunities.

3. Protect and create more affordable industrial building stock. Adopt best practices in the region, and improve transit access to industrial areas.

4. Promote the Bay Area as a center for manufacturing and manufacturing as a viable career. A multi-city campaign could focus on workforce, supply chain, and real estate.

At the summit’s conclusion manufacturers spoke about
developing successful local supply chain partnerships, with Tesla and supply
chain partner Golden Gate Assembly being the featured guests. Tesla made it clear
that its success is based on the company’s ability to get its products to
market, which requires a massive and mostly local supply base. Local suppliers
allow for a cohesive and close relationship and the ability to collaborate on
processes. Golden Gate Assembly reported that it has grown from one dozen
employees to over 300. With many Tesla deliveries on the horizon, local
suppliers will be a critical part of meeting expectations.

As the summit drew to a close, it was clear that the effort to address the Bay Area as a manufacturing super-region is just getting started. In the words of SFMade Board Chair Gary Gross, “The opportunities for job creation are enormous.”