03 April 2013

Dow ceo says manufacturing renaissance is within reach

Andrew Liveris

Andrew Liveris, chairman, and ceo of The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) has called upon chemical engineers to reclaim their mantle as the world’s biggest problem solvers and says that a global manufacturing renaissance is within reach.

But Liveris, who was speaking in London, UK last night, also warned that too many governments lack a coherent energy policy and were not working closely enough with industry or the public.

“Optimism is returning to the U.S. economy and it is because of the manufacturing sector,” said Liveris.

”In the UK, the manufacturing industry has remained somewhat insulated from the overall downturn and the downstream industry is well placed to be part of a global manufacturing renaissance.

“The chemical industry is at the vanguard of a manufacturing revolution, but we cannot work in a silo. Private and public sectors must work as equal partners to establish enduring frameworks that enable business to innovate solutions, create jobs, and generate growth for the long term – to collaborate across boundaries, across industries, across markets and value chains, across disciplines, across all discontinuities.”

He went on to dismiss debates over large or small governments, citing the need for ‘smart government’ regardless of size and warned that excessive regulation in order to attract and maintain inward investment was short-sighted.

“What we need now is innovation, new business models, a set of new and great solutions for daunting problems. We also need bold leaders, collaborating across outdated divisions between what is best for companies and what is best for countries,” said Liveris.

“We need leaders innovating new ways to make the world a healthier, more productive place for generations to come. That is how we manufacture a new foundation for economic growth and how we fuel the engines of economic growth at the same time.”

Liveris was in the UK to give the IChemE George E. Davis Lecture where he was presented with the Davis Medal in recognition of his contributions to chemical engineering.

A Chartered Chemical Engineer who studied the subject at the University of Queensland, Australia, Liveris also said that he has been invited to continue in his co-chair role of the U.S. Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Group in its second phase by President Barack Obama.

In concluding his remarks, Liveris asserted that chemical engineers would be at the heart of an advanced manufacturing future and that he was proud of his career path to date.

“I became a chemical engineer to solve problems and we must reclaim our right to be the problem solvers of the world. There are so many opportunities and the challenge for chemical engineers is not identifying them, the challenge is seizing them, because they are well within our reach,” he said.

IChemE ceo David Brown said that Liveris’ words will come as a welcome boost to the industry:

“When someone like Andrew Liveris talks, people stop and listen. His message was positive and gave everyone in the audience something to think about.

“He is absolutely right to suggest that industry should be working more closely with policy-makers and it may well be that there is a role for professional bodies like IChemE to act as a conduit,” added Brown.

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).