Large Ohio manufacturing employers form lobbying group

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

October 9, 2014

Some of Ohio's largest manufacturers have formed a new lobbying group that will focus on state issues, a move that closely follows some of the companies' ending their involvement with another group, the Ohio Manufacturers' Association.

The Manufacturing Policy Alliance's founding members are Alcoa, Ford, General Electric, Marathon Petroleum, Nucor Steel Marion, TimkenSteel and Timken.

"Right now, we're an organization of seven members and hoping to grow," said Bob Lapp, a retired executive from Timken, who is the group's president and sole staff member.

Those companies were strong supporters of Senate Bill 310, a bill signed this spring by Gov. John Kasich that places a two-year freeze on "green" energy standards. In that debate, the companies were often at odds with the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, which opposed the bill.

This was the most recent of several issues in which the OMA had sharp disagreement among its members.

Several members of the new group have left the OMA in the past few months, multiple sources say. A Timken spokeswoman confirmed that the Canton-based company is no longer a member.

"These companies have elected to leave, so we are going to focus on the needs of all Ohio manufacturers, which includes over 1,400 other manufacturing-company members," said Ryan Augsburger, managing director of public policy for the OMA.

Rep. Kirk Schuring, a veteran Republican lawmaker from Canton whose district includes Timken, said he expects the groups likely will work together sometimes, but on occasion, manufacturers the size of Timken have their own issues, he said.

"I think it's a product of the fact many large manufacturers have different issues than small and medium manufacturers, and they want to make sure that when it comes to issues specific to them that they have a voice at the Statehouse," Schuring said.

Manufacturing Policy Alliance members have 39,000 employees and a payroll of $2.5 billion in Ohio.

All of the companies are major energy users and have substantial costs related to environmental rules.

Lapp said the new group is not a response to dissatisfaction with any other organization and is not related to the Senate Bill 310 debate.

"It's not meant to be a replacement for the OMA," he said.