The CEO of Bollman Hat Co. is on a crusade

The CEO of Bollman Hat Co. is on a crusade to convince people that the ‘American Made’ label means better jobs and better quality.

To read the full article, click here: http://businessweekly.readingeagle.com/?p=4984

Don Rongione, Founder & President, of American Made Matters stands outside the Bollman Hat Company in Adamstown, PA.


Walter Rotkiske hand shapes a hat at Bollman Hat Co.
Kay Crockett hardens a hat at Bollman Hat Co.
Orville Wagner does a process called white multirolling at Bollman Hat Co., Adamstown.

 

 

Documentary film tells you how American consumers rebuild the economy by choosing “Made in the USA”

Documentary film tells you how American consumers rebuild the economy by choosing “Made in the USA”

Hatfield, Pa. (August, 2012) – “Made in the USA: The 30 Day Journey” is a documentary film that dives deep into the realm of the current economic uncertainty in the United States. The film focuses on the jobs that have left our country over the last decade and the future of America’s economy. It also questions whether the answer could be as simple as reinvesting in our own country and workforce once again.

Created and produced by Josh Miller, the film takes the viewer on his 30 day U.S. journey and examines the country’s unique opportunity to unite and turn its course back to prosperity. It charters 30 days of his life where he lived off just American produced products. The journey contains interviews with politicians, businessmen, historians, and economists to find out what “Made in USA” really means and how to stimulate employment in America.

On day 15 of the journey, Josh and his team stopped by The Rodon Group and K’NEX facilities to learn about how K’NEX parts are made in the U.S. “Just when you thought American manufacturing was dead, my visit to K’NEX and Rodon was proof enough to me that American manufacturing is still thriving in America”. My visit to Hatfield, PA was an enjoyable one and was a turning point in my perception of the manufacturing industry here in America.” said Josh Miller.

“We toured the manufacturing facility where injection molded parts are made for their toy lines. I sat down with K’NEX President & CEO, Michael Araten to discuss the state of manufacturing in America, as well as the outsourcing of manufacturing injection molded plastics overseas. A search for the American dream was a big part of our journey and we found that it was still alive.”

“K’NEX and The Rodon Group are proud to be a sponsor and supporter of the film. “As a
business leader and owner I feel it’s my responsibility to support my community.” said Michael Araten. “The more items K’NEX & Rodon manufacture at home the more people we can employ. Spending our dollars on Made in the USA goods enables our whole economy to get stronger, and with that our whole country becomes stronger. If every American spent $64 a year on things made in the USA we would employ 2 million more people. We can do that, the choices are there, you just have to take that extra second and look at the label.”

A trailer for the film can be seen at www.usa30days.com.

For more information, contact Josh Miller at millermadeinusa@gmail.com or follow the film on Twitter at #USA30days

# # #

About The Rodon Group
The Rodon Group is an ISO 9001:2008 certified landfill-free, plastic injection molder. In
business since 1956, The Rodon Group makes billions of parts each year in its 125,000 square foot facility. With over 105 injection molding presses, Rodon is one of the largest family-owned and operated plastic injection molders in the United States. Since 1992, Rodon has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system, and is a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P. active members of American Made Matters, an organization whose mission is to educate consumers about buying US-made products to help strengthen the American Dream. For more information, please visit www.rodongroup.com

About K’NEX Brands

Founded in 1992, K’NEX Brands, the world’s most innovative construction toy company, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated
construction systems for children. Winner of over 200 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX is America’s building toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.” Since 1992, The Rodon Group, a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P., has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system. For more information, please visit www.knex.com or www.rodongroup.com.

Don Rongione, Founder of American Made Matters, responds to writer of article

“Don Rongione, Founder of American Made Matters, responds to writer of article titled ‘Medals, not uniforms, are what matters’”

Dear Ana,

Your article entitled “Medals, not uniforms, are what matters” that was published in a local newspaper, The Reading Eagle, on August 4, 2012 hits home and deserves a response.

Your conclusion that the medal count is the “measure that matters” displays an ignorance of the process of winning these medals.

Training athletes takes development of physical and mental talent. That training requires commitment, hard work, determination, coaching and financial support from families and/or sponsors and governments. When the family pays the way, these financial sacrifices are substantial. It takes jobs and wealth to handle the financial requirements.

Our country’s financial wealth has come largely from industry where jobs provide for the pursuit of life opportunities sometimes called “the American Dream.”

Every manufacturing job creates 4 to 5 residual jobs which is more than three times as powerful as other sectors of our economy, like the service industry.

Some Americans and elected officials have favored “free trade” and bought the lowest cost items without considering the impact on manufacturing jobs, wealth, communities, our economy and (less important things like) winning medals.

Your theory that not many jobs would have been impacted if the U.S. uniforms had been made by American manufacturers misses the point. Like it or not, we need a strong manufacturing sector to be a world leader and some of our citizens are thankfully now realizing this.

It is too late for some industries.  The making of clothing is on the brink.  Some of us are hanging on.  Suggesting that it does not matter is sad and short sighted.

A recent Goldman Sachs study concluded that economic factors do play a role in predicting Olympic success.

Still not convinced? You write that medals are what matters and you acknowledged that most of your clothes are made in China. The U.S. trade deficit with China in 1985 was only $6 million. In the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, China won 32 medals to 174 for the U.S., so we had nearly 5.5 times more medals. Last year our trade deficit with China was $295 billion. Check the medal count at the end of these games. American Made Matters!

Sincerely,

Don Rongione
President & CEO, Bollman Hat Company
Founder, American Made Matters

The Craze for all things “American-Made.”

The Craze for all things “American-Made.”

From the Rodon Group blog:  Original Post

American made matters

There has been a great deal of focus on American-made products and American Manufacturing over the past few years.  And, the recent presidential contest seems to have heated up the conversation.  A survey by the Alliance for American Manufacturing indicates that all political
affiliations – democrats, republicans and independents, believe we need to support a strong manufacturing sector in our country.

With this new interest in all things American, it is no wonder that many websites and blogs committed to this topic have been sprouting up all over the internet.  Some are focused on bringing awareness to the cause; others  are focused on ecommerce.

Our survey of sites uncovered about 30 websites and blogs specifically targeting the “American Made Craze.”  Here are 12 of the top sites:

Name:  American Made Matters
URL: http://www.americanmadematters.com 
Key Focus: Educating consumers on the impact of buying American made.  Affiliated with Americans Working.com

Name:  A Continuous Lean
URL: http://www.acontinuouslean.com/the-american-list
Key Focus: To promote American Made products to a younger generation

Name:  Made In USA Challenge
URL: http://madeinusachallenge.com
Key Focus: Made in USA challenge features goods made in America that are safe, ethically made, eco-friendly and awesome.

Name:  Americans Working.Com
URL:  http://www.americansworking.com/index.html
Key Focus: Americansworking.com was created to provide consumers with an easy to use and highly accessible means of finding products made in America.  Affiliated with American Made Matters.

Name: Made in USA Forever
URL: http://madeinusaforever.com
Key Focus: Sells All American Made Product

Name:  Still Made in the USA
URL: http://www.stillmadeinusa.com
Key Focus: The purpose of StillMadeinUSA.com is to share with other shoppers some of the great manufacturers, retailers, and craftspeople that I have found who still produce quality products in America.

Name:  Made in America, Buy American
URL: http://www.madeinamericabuyamerican.com
Key Focus: The Made in America Buy American Directory is your consumer resource to help you locate products made in USA

Name: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM)
URL: http://americanmanufacturing.org
Key Focus: The Alliance for American Manufacturing is a non-profit, non-partisan partnership formed in 2007 by some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers to explore common solutions to challenging public policy topics such as job creation, infrastructure investment, international trade, and global competitiveness.

Name:  Made In America Store
URL:  http://www.madeinamericastore.com
Key Focus: The only general merchandise store in the country that sells 100% American Made Products, down to the packaging.

Name:  The Made In America Movement  
URL:  http://www.themadeinamericamovement.com
Key Focus: We are a nonpartisan organization sharing ideas on how to get involved within your community, providing you with resources on how to buy American made products, facilitating your purchasing experience

Name:  Buy American for America
URL:  www.BuyDirectUSA.com
Key Focus: BuyDirectUSA.com was started in 1998 as a way to promote companies that made their products in the USA. This was well before the scares about toys made in China that contained lead and toxic ingredients.

Name:  Made In USA Products Store
URL:  http://www.madeinusaproductsstore.com
Key Focus: Made in USA Products Store is dedicated to bringing you safe quality American made products.

Name:  Buy American.com
URL:  http://www.buyamerican.com
Key Focus: BuyAmerican.com seeks to promote American manufactured products and services through the use of social networking.

One statistic cited by American Made Matters notes that for every $1 that US manufacturers spend, another $1.40 of economic activity is created.  This multiplier is much greater than any other sector of our economy.   Consumers need to be educated about the provenance of the products they purchase and how their choices impact the American economy.

Tell us what you think. Do you have a favorite Made In America website that you use?

American Manufacturing Matters Learn how

 

Can American manufacturers compete with China?

Can American manufacturers compete with China?

Well, it may not be easy, but for The Rodon Group, it has become a moral imperative.

Hello, my name is Paula Hynes. I work for K’NEX Brands/The Rodon Group, and I think we have a compelling story to tell.

Years ago, when our clients began to show interest in outsourcing to China, we invested millions of dollars in new presses, robotics and advanced computer mold making equipment. Our customers have seen that offshoring increases the risk of poor quality control and supply chain delays. By maintaining the quality inherent to U.S. products, and keeping our prices competitive with China’s, we continue to expand.

Today, with over 105 plastic injection molding presses, Rodon is one of the largest family-owned and operating injection molders in the United States serving a diverse group of industries including consumer products, medical, construction, pharmaceutical and toys. Each day, The Rodon Group produces over 4 million toy parts for K’NEX Brands, a sister company.

K’NEX and Rodon were profiled on The History Channel’s Modern Marvels, “Made in the USA” feature and CNBC’s “How I Made My Millions” and we were finalists for Plastics News Processor of the Year in 2011.

We are active members of the organization American Made Matters, whose mission is to educate consumers about buying US-made products to help strengthen the American Dream. We are proud to be third generation family businesses located in Hatfield, PA and a vital member of the local community.

Reshoring, onshoring, insourcing, call it what you like, at K’NEX Brands and The Rodon Group we have been leading the charge; demonstrating that the quality and competitiveness of American manufacturing is alive and well.

If you would like to learn more about our company and our commitment to American manufacturing you can:

1. Schedule a brief call with our President, Michael Araten by calling 215-822-5544.

2. Review recent interviews with Michael Araten at WFMZ-TV http://bit.ly/LFKfdR and Philly.com http://bit.ly/JSz9B3

3. Watch a movie trailer for the new film “Made in the USA, The 30 Day Journey”. We were fortunate enough to participate in this project.

4. Take a look at our company background.

5. Read our blog which focuses on American Manufacturing.

My contact information is:

Paula Hynes
The Rodon Group
2800 Sterling Drive, Hatfield, PA
215-822-5544 ext 134
phynes@rodongroup.com

 

K’NEX® Brands and The Rodon Group Celebrate Nation’s Birthday Through Commitment to American Made

K’NEX® Brands and The Rodon Group Celebrate Nation’s Birthday Through Commitment to American Made

Hatfield, Pa. (June, 2012) – K’NEX Brands, the only U.S. construction toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love TM, and its sister company, The Rodon Group, a custom plastic injection molder, recently ramped up their advocacy efforts on behalf of American made products.

Committed to manufacturing in the United States at a time when most toys are made overseas, K’NEX has become America’s Building Toy Company–over 90% of its parts are manufactured by The Rodon Group. In business since 1956, The Rodon Group makes billions of parts each year in its 125,000 square foot eco-friendly facility and is one of the largest family-owned and operated injection molders in the United States. In addition to manufacturing K’NEX parts, The Rodon Group serves a diverse group of industries including consumer products, medical, construction, and pharmaceutical.

“Independence means having the flexibility and ability to control your own destiny. Made in the USA products are a fundamental example of the Independence we celebrate each year. The more we make here at home, the more we shape our own future, and that’s what independence is all about”, said Michael Araten, President and CEO of K’NEX Brands and The Rodon Group.

Both K’NEX and The Rodon Group; third generation, family-owned businesses located in Hatfield, PA; are active members of American Made Matters, an organization whose mission is to educate consumers about buying US-made products to help strengthen the American Dream.

# # #

About The Rodon Group
The Rodon Group is an ISO 9001:2008 certified landfill-free, plastic injection molder. In business since 1956, The Rodon Group makes billions of parts each year in its 125,000 square foot facility. With over 105 injection molding presses, Rodon is one of the largest family-owned and operated plastic injection molders in the United States. Since 1992, Rodon has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system, and is a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P. For more information, please visit www.rodongroup.com

About K’NEX Brands
Founded in 1992, K’NEX Brands, the world’s most innovative construction toy company, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated construction systems for children. Winner of over 200 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX is America’s building toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.” Since 1992, The Rodon Group, a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P., has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system. For more information, please visit www.knex.com or www.rodongroup.com.

About American Made Matters
the mission of American Made Matters® is to educate consumers that buying US-made products strengthens the American dream. The American Made Matters® brand seeks to stop the rapid decline of manufacturing jobs in the United States of America and rebuild those jobs through a common branding identity and call to action. For more information on our organization, visit www.americanmadematters.com.

K’NEX Brands, Made in the USA, featured on CNBC’s “How I Made My Millions.”

K’NEX Brands, Made in the USA, featured on CNBC’s “How I Made My Millions.”

The year 1990 saw the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope and the birth of a new toy that would revolutionize the American Toy Industry.

Joel Glickman was 50 years old in 1990 when inspiration struck in the form of cocktail straws at a wedding. Mr. Glickman, tinkering with the straws, envisioned the possibilities of a construction toy built around the concept of rods (like the straws) and connectors to hold them together.

By the time his idea (now called K’NEX) hit the toy market in late 1992, Mr. Glickman had spent two years refining the concept only to have it rejected by the major toy companies including Hasbro and Mattel. Committed to the idea, he pushed ahead. Twenty years later, the K’NEX construction toy pieces are still produced at his family’s plastics factory, The Rodon Group, in Hatfield, PA.

Proud to be the only construction toy made in America, K’NEX sales are expected to reach nearly $100 million this year. The company, Joel Glickman and current CEO Michael Araten were featured in “How I Made My Millions” a CNBC show that will air on Sunday, June 24th at 8:00 p.m. We hope you get a chance to watch. You can view a video of Joel Glickman and The Rodon Group factory on our YouTube page. Michael Araten’s comments about the growth of the company can be found at http://www.cnbc.com/id/47820633.

About The Rodon Group

The Rodon Group is an ISO 9001:2008 certified landfill-free, plastic injection molder. In business since 1956, The Rodon Group makes billions of parts each year in its 125,000 square foot facility. With over 105 injection molding presses, Rodon is one of the largest family-owned and operated plastic injection molders in the United States and serves a diverse group of industries including consumer products, medical, construction, pharmaceutical and toys. Since 1992, Rodon has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system, and is a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P.

About K’NEX Brands

Founded in 1992, K’NEX Brands, the world’s most innovative construction toy company, was established to make and sell what has become one of the world’s leading integrated construction systems for children. Winner of over 200 international awards and recognitions, K’NEX is America’s building toy company focused on Building Worlds Kids Love, and encourages youngsters to “imagine, build and play.” Since 1992, The Rodon Group, a subsidiary of K’NEX Brands, L.P., has manufactured over 30 billion parts for the K’NEX building toy system. For more information, please visit www.knex.com or www.rodongroup.com.

Made in America makes sense again, K’nex Brands CEO says

Made in America makes sense again, K’nex Brands CEO says

Article from Philly.com

The maker of K’nex toys has long manufactured many of its products in America, and it pushed that as a key marketing message in 2007, after safety concerns arose about toys made in China.

But the family-owned company in Montgomery County decided it needed to do more as the U.S. economy slumped, and it chose to move one of its key operations from China to the United States.

“It started as a moral decision,” K’nex Brands L.P. chief executive Michael Araten told the 375 people who attended a “Made in America” program presented by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue on Wednesday morning.

Repatriating $100 million in foreign investment back into the United States was based on sound business reasons, Araten said in an interview after the program. Though he would not disclose the dollar value of K’nex’s annual sales, he said it was up 10 percent from 2010. Through April of this year, it is up 22 percent, he said.

“If you looked at our profit-and-loss charts for the last three years, you would say, ‘What recession?’?” Araten said.

Today, 95 percent of the parts that go into K’nex construction toys are made in the United States, with most emanating from the company’s Hatfield factory, where it employs about 200 people.

Moving the operations led to a 25 percent increase in K’nex’s local workforce, Araten said, and also required the company to hire a number of vendors in a 100-mile radius who could do “things we’re not great at.” He estimated the employment ripple effect of K’nex’s decision to be several thousand jobs.

Joining Araten in a panel discussion were the entrepreneurs behind Devon-based Independence LED Lighting L.L.C. and Center City-based S.V.A. Holdings Corp.

Independence LED brought the manufacture of its energy-efficient LED tubes, designed to replace fluorescent lighting, back from China to a highly automated factory in Boyertown in summer 2010. Charles Szoradi, CEO of Independence LED, said that put it closer to its commercial customers in the Washington-to-New York corridor.

Bangladesh’s loss was Philadelphia’s gain when designer Sarah Van Aken opened a garment factory here. She described how her eco-friendly firm is following a “dirt-to-shirt” strategy using cotton growers and textile makers in North Carolina to control how her apparel products are made.

Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter. Read his blog, “PhillyInc,” at www.phillyinc.biz.

‘American Made Matters’ Grows To Fifty Members & Sponsors The American Made Chic Bus Tour To Help Strengthen The American Dream.

‘AMERICAN MADE MATTERS’ GROWS TO FIFTY MEMBERS & SPONSORS THE AMERICAN MADE CHIC BUS TOUR TO HELP STRENGTHEN THE AMERICAN DREAM.

ADAMSTOWN, P.A. (April 18, 2012) – American Made Matters® recently welcomed WigWam Mills, Inc., Best Bath Systems, Bullhide Belts®, and Bullet Blues Custom Apparel, LLC as new members of its organization. With these companies joining the initiative, American Made Matters® has grown to fifty members and sponsors! The momentum continues to grow for American manufacturing as consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of choosing American made. American Made Matters® has a mission to educate consumers that buying US-made products strengthens the American dream and is helping consumers in finding US-made products.

American Made Matters® has also become a silver sponsor of the American Made Chic bus tour. This bus tour is being run by three American businesswomen who will travel across the country in a red, white and blue motorhome to create awareness for jobs, manufacturing and products Made in America. Stops will include the Kentucky Derby, the Country Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, a NASCAR event in Daytona, Florida and a final stop in Motor City in Detroit, Michigan. The tour will also include visits to manufacturing plants and promoting all things American.

American Made Matters® seeks to add member companies that manufacture in the U.S. The organization has created a common branding identity so that consumers will recognize the American Made Matters® logo and know that those products are made in the United States. Members are licensed to use the logo on products, packaging and marketing materials provided at least fifty percent of the product cost is incurred in the United States and the final transformation and assembly takes place in the States.
For more information about American Made Matters, please visit: www.AmericanMadeMatters.com.