If a natural disaster struck tomorrow, would your business be ready?

To learn how you and your employees can be better prepared for earthquakes, severe storms, fires, and other disasters, join us for an interactive webinar. Jeanie Moore will discuss how FEMA engages the private sector, and she’ll share resources you can use to prepare for, respond to, and recover from various emergencies.

Will you join us for an interactive webinar on disaster preparedness for businesses? 


 Webinar on Disaster Prepardness for Businesses
Featuring: Jeanie Moore, Director of the Private Sector Divison, FEMA
When: Thursday, November 13 at 12:00 p.m. ET/ 9:00 a.m. PT

Here's the link to register: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6476276681743250178

If you have a question in advance of Thursday, or you can submit them in advance by emailing info@BusinessFWD.org.

Posted In: Climate Change
| Erik Roos, Policy Analyst

Is Manufacturing Coming Back to the United States?

On Monday, the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), chaired by Rafeal Reif, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Andrew Leveris, CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, a Business Forward member company, released by a report on how to boost advanced manufacturing in America. Informed by these findings, the White House announced a number of executive actions in cooperation with the private sector targeted at fostering innovation, improving the skills of our workforce, and creating a better business environment. The initiatives included:

  • Innovation: NASA and the departments of Defense, Energy, and Agriculture will invest $300 million in three technologies the AMP found would be critical to U.S. competitiveness – advanced materials, advanced sensors, and digital manufacturing.
  • Talent: To address manufactures’ need for more skilled labor, the Department of Labor will launch a $100 million American Apprentice grant competitions to boost the industry’s apprenticeship programs. In addition, Dow, Alcoa, and Siemens have developed “how to” guides for other businesses on how best use these apprenticeship programs.
  • Business Climate: To help small manufacturers, the National Institute of Standards and Technology will launch a $130 million competition in ten states to help the 30,000 small manufactures it serves bring their products to market.

These initiatives could prove be a valuable step toward revitalizing American’s manufacturing sector, but many analysts continue to urge action on investments in the nation’s infrastructure, improving education and worker training programs, and reforming immigration, though all will likely require legislation from Congress.

Supporting a Comeback

Many analysts suggest that manufacturing may be experiencing a renaissance. Rising wages in Asia, a weaker dollar, and lower energy costs have made producing goods in America increasingly affordable in recent years. Exports reached an all-time high in 2013, and many businesses that moved manufacturing overseas are now considering reshoring. The Boston Consulting Group reported that over half of the executives they surveyed at American manufacturers with sales greater than $1 billion were planning to move production back to the U.S.

This is good news after the decline in manufacturing over the last two decades. Technological advances and increased offshoring cause the sector to shed jobs, and the recent recession was particularly damaging to manufactures. The sector lost over 2.2 million jobs at the lowest point, nearly one-fifth of its total employment. Since that time, manufacturing businesses have added over 700,000 jobs, but that represents only 30 percent of the jobs lost during the recession.

Even though the number of Americans working in manufacturing has declined over the past three decades, it is still an important part of the economy. Manufacturing has a larger multiplier effect than any other major sector of the economy: $1 of manufactured goods creates an additional $1.35 for the economy. Additionally, the manufacturing sector conducts nearly two-thirds of private sector research, spurring innovation that drives economic growth across the broader economy. The advanced manufacturing industry has potential to continuing growing, benefiting consumers and businesses up and down manufacturer’s supply chains.


Posted In: Jobs
| Alex Schaffer, Communications Associate

Prepare Your Business for the Return of the Polar Vortex

Extreme cold weather could be back this year for much of the United States, according to a recent report by AccuWeather.

Last winter’s polar vortex, a counter-clockwise flow of arctic air that originates in the North Pole, brought record-low temperatures to much of the Midwest and East Coast last January and wrought havoc on the economy. After several quarters of solid economic growth, the GDP shrank by 2.1 percent in the first quarter. Housing starts were down lower than expected, as were retail sales with people staying home to warm themselves.

Extreme cold weather could be back this year for much of the United States, according to a recent report by AccuWeather.

Last winter’s polar vortex, a counter-clockwise flow of arctic air that originates in the North Pole, brought record-low temperatures to much of the Midwest and East Coast last January and wrought havoc on the economy. After several quarters of solid economic growth, the GDP shrank by 2.1 percent in the first quarter. Housing starts were down lower than expected, as were retail sales with people staying home to warm themselves.

Posted In: Climate Change
| Alison Jones, Communications Associate

Preparing for the Next Hurricane Sandy

This week marks the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, one of the most costly and devastating storms to hit the Eastern Seaboard. The storm caused more than $65 billion in physical damages, and many businesses faced additional losses from economic disruption. As climate change continues to cause extreme weather, the probability of another storm like Hurricane Sandy is increasingly more likely. To better prepare businesses for natural disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working to help businesses develop their own specific disaster strategy.

To learn more about FEMA resources and its tools for resiliency, response, and recovery, please join Business Forward on Thursday, November 13 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. ET for a Webinar with Jeanie Moore, Acting Director, Private Sector Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency.
> Register Here

Here’s a look at the harm Hurricane Sandy caused across different sectors of the economy.

Tourism: Because the storm hit tourism-dependent areas like New Jersey’s boardwalks and New York City, the tourism losses were devastating for some businesses. Rutgers estimated that New Jersey’s tourism industry experienced $950 million in losses as a result of Hurricane Sandy. While the short-term tourism industry effects in New York City were harmful, the city was able to recover more quickly than some of the other affected areas. The gaming industry in Atlantic City lost an estimated $5 million per day in revenue because of closures from Sandy, which led to a 28 percent drop in revenue during the month of November—the biggest monthly drop in 34 years.

Manufacturing: Sandy affected an estimated 10,000 separate manufacturing facilities. As Business Forward found in a report on severe weather and its effects on the manufacturing industry, American manufacturers rely on interdependent supply chains which are more susceptible to severe weather. Even if a manufacturing facility avoided damage from Sandy, its suppliers may have been affected, slowing down the entire supply chain. 

Fishing: Losses were as high as $105 million in recreational fishing and almost $14 million in the commercial fishing sector in New Jersey as a result of Sandy. In New York, damages to the recreational fishing sector totaled $58 million, while damages to the commercial fishing sector totaled $19 million. This caused a ripple effect on area restaurants that source fish locally.

Commercial Trucking Industry: An estimated 20 percent of the commercial trucking industry was stalled in the week after the storm with losses of $140 million per day. As part of rebuilding efforts, the trucking industry gained some new business, possibly leading to a net gain for the sector.   

Power Outages

The U.S. Department of Energy estimated that power outages as a result from Sandy left eight million people without power in states as far south as South Carolina. The hardest hit areas were without power for more than two weeks. Flooding made it difficult to repair damages, and exposure to salt water caused electrical systems to short circuit. Many businesses and large-scale operations such as sewage treatment plants turned to generators for power.

1-in-70-year storm

As destructive as Hurricane Sandy was, climate change could cause the next Sandy-level storm to inflict even more damage. Hurricane Sandy caused $19 billion in losses for New York City alone, as a rare, but not unprecedented 1-in-70-year storm. Scientists predict climate change will make rare storms like Hurricane Sandy more frequent and more devastating because rising sea levels will increase the reach . By that time, a 1-in-70-year storm would be projected to cause nearly five times the losses of Hurricane Sandy, according to reinsurer Swiss Re.


FEMA has worked with New York City to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) to help improve communication about current flood risks. FEMA has also provided more than $1.7 billion for projects to protect against future disaster damage. In 2013, President Obama signed the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act into law. The law authorizes several significant changes to the way FEMA delivers federal disaster assistance to survivors. The National Strategy to Reduce Costs on Future Disasters, one part of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act, addresses vulnerability to damage and includes recommendations on improving resiliency.  

Will your business be prepared for the next Hurricane Sandy?

Please join Business Forward on Thursday, November 13 from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. ET for a Webinar with Jeanie Moore, Acting Director, Private Sector Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency, to discuss disaster preparedness for businesses.
> Register Here


Posted In: Climate Change
| Shumway Marshall, Digital Director

SIGN UP: Conference Call on Health Insurance Open Enrollment with HHS

A new online marketplace will go live on November 15, making it easier for businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees to offer health insurance. That same day, open enrollment will begin again for individuals seeking coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Join us for a conversation about the federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) online marketplace and the second open enrollment period of the ACA. Rhett Buttle and Dean Mohs from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will discuss health insurance for small businesses and take your questions and suggestions on the ACA.

What: Conference call on the Affordable Care Act and Health Insurance for Small Businesses
Featuring: Rhett Buttle, Director of Private Sector Engagement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Dean Mohs, Director, Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) 
When: Monday, November 17 at 3:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. PT



If you have a question in advance of Wednesday, you can email it to info@businessfwd.org.

Can't make it? Sign up to receive our recap >


Rhett Buttle
Director of Private Sector Engagement, Office of the Secretary at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

In his role, Rhett is the main liaison between the department and the business community. In addition, Rhett is a member of the White House Business Council where he works to engage the business community on a variety of healthcare policy issues, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Before this role, Rhett was Vice President for External Affairs at Small Business Majority, a national business advocacy organization. During his tenure, Rhett led the effort to grow the organization in size and scope launching eight regional offices and expanding the organization's policy issue set. His efforts led to sustained engagement with business leaders across the country on a variety of public policy issues and a national campaign to educate the business community about the Affordable Care Act. Rhett has also served in the Office of the President at George Washington University, worked on presidential, state and local campaigns and in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was part of the governor's legislative team working on healthcare reform, energy and education issues.

Rhett frequently engages with the media and has spoken on business issues at the Harvard Institute of Politics, the Aspen Institute, and the Center for American Progress. He also serves on the boards of several different organizations, including the Board of Directors at the University of San Diego. Rhett holds a bachelor's degree from the University of San Diego and a master's degree from The George Washington University. In addition, he is active in many volunteer & professional organizations including American Legion Boys State. Rhett was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV.

Dean Mohs
Director of the SHOP Marketplaces, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

As Director of SHOP, Dean is the primary business owner of the SHOP IT build and plays a key role in SHOP’s issuer engagement strategy and its policy development and analysis activities. Dean also oversees SHOP operations, business development, and agent/broker engagement activities.

Dean joined CCIIO after 5 years at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, where he was Vice President of Insurance Services and administered the Chamber’s health insurance program designed for small businesses in Brooklyn. While at the Chamber, Dean was also responsible for outreach and support to Brooklyn’s broker community, served as the Chamber’s primary liaison to issuers in the downstate market, and served as co-chair on the state-wide health insurance coalition for small businesses in New York.

Prior to his work at the Brooklyn Chamber, Dean was Director of Private Health Insurance Initiatives for the City of New York and a senior health care analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Originally from Minnesota, Dean holds Masters Degrees in Public Administration and Social Work from the University of Minnesota.

Posted In: Healthcare reform, Business Forward Events