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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Names Colin Cooper as Connecticut’s First Chief Manufacturing Officer

Cooper Will Coordinate State and Private-Sector Efforts to Promote Growth in State’s Manufacturing Sector

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is naming Colin Cooper, former CEO of the Whitcraft Group, to serve as Connecticut’s first-ever chief manufacturing officer. In this position, Cooper will be responsible for coordinating state and private-sector efforts to promote growth in the state’s manufacturing sector.

Governor Lamont explained that the role will essentially serve as an advocate on behalf of the state’s existing – and prospective – manufacturing companies. Creation of the position was authorized in the state budget the governor signed into law this summer.

“With the creation of this role and the selection of someone who has decades of experience leading a very successful business, every manufacturing company in Connecticut should know that they have a position in our administration and a seat at the table through Colin Cooper,” Governor Lamont said. “Connecticut has the best educated, best trained, and most productive workforce in the world, and we need to align our policies and commitments toward returning to our state’s inventive and entrepreneurial roots. Our future lies in our ability to help businesses quickly fill thousands of highly skilled, good-paying jobs, and I am determined to coordinate these efforts in a strategic way so that manufacturing companies who are already here can grow, and those from out of state that are looking to relocate will know that Connecticut is where they need to be.”

Under Cooper’s leadership at the Whitcraft Group, the Connecticut-based contract manufacturer of precision parts to many of the world’s largest aerospace companies expanded from one facility in Eastford to four manufacturing facilities in Connecticut and operations in five other states, and grew in revenues of approximately $20 million to over $250 million today. He and his business partner acquired Whitcraft Group in 1998, and prior to that he began his career as a design engineer for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft.

He has also served on several manufacturing-related boards, including Aerospace Components Manufacturers, the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund, and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

“Connecticut is the birthplace of the industrial revolution in this country and we continue to lead the world in many industries,” Cooper said. “Manufacturing has played a critical role in our state for over 200 years and we need to work to ensure it will continue to do so well into the future. I know first-hand the challenges of trying to grow a manufacturing business in Connecticut, but I am also acutely aware of the strong competitive advantages we have in this state, including a highly-skilled and engaged workforce, proximity to customers and markets, a critical mass of banks and lenders who understand and support manufacturing, and an increasingly broad and deep array of academic institutions and programs designed and developed to support manufacturing.”

He added, “I am very excited to have the opportunity to engage with the Connecticut manufacturing community and work across the various state agencies to address the current challenges facing manufacturers and support the growth of this vital and vibrant sector of our economy.”

Governor Lamont and Colin Cooper
Governor Ned Lamont (left) today announced that he is appointing Colin Cooper to serve as Connecticut’s first-ever chief manufacturing officer. [Download in high quality]

While his position is based within the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for administrative purposes, Governor Lamont stressed that he is directing Cooper to work closely and collaboratively across all government agencies, educational institutions, and the many public and private stakeholders focused on Connecticut’s manufacturing sector.

“Colin has been an active member of Connecticut’s manufacturing community for over 20 years and his experience and insights will serve him well in this new role,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “In addition to being a passionate advocate for all of our manufacturers, Colin will provide the strategic leadership necessary to ensure that we have the right policies in place to help companies innovate, compete, and grow.”

“Colin’s success in growing Whitcraft proves that he is a leader capable of addressing the challenge of filling thousands of advanced manufacturing job vacancies in Connecticut,” Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “Manufacturing is already a powerhouse in our state with a workforce of nearly 162,000 employees and growing, and I look forward to working with Colin to expand and strengthen that through a comprehensive strategy that includes utilizing critical employer input and work-based learning programs.”

“I applaud Governor Lamont in naming the state’s first ever chief manufacturing officer for the purpose of elevating the promotion and support of manufacturers, both large and small, on a cabinet level to work across all sectors and government agencies,” State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) said.

“Colin Cooper is a skilled strategic thinker with decades of experience managing successful manufacturing businesses,” Eric Brown, CBIA vice president of manufacturing policy and outreach, said. “He has a wealth of experience and is a terrific choice for this vital new role coordinating manufacturing growth across the public and private sectors.”

Cooper will begin serving in the position effective Wednesday, October 30.

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