U.S. Sen. Chris Coons took a daylong tour through Milford on Tuesday that included stops at city hall, Dentsply Caulk and Baltimore Aircoil.
Coons’ visit focused on economic development and the Democratic senator’s efforts to encourage growth in the nation’s manufacturing industry.
“There is a range of things that we can, and should be, doing in the federal government to support a higher quality workforce, to fight for America’s companies and what they make overseas and to provide a tax and regulatory environment that encourages the growth of local businesses like these two here in Milford,” he said.
Coons began the day by meeting with various town and county officials at city hall, where he received an update on local efforts to promote business opportunities.
“We gave him the genesis on what the city has been doing on economic development over the last couple of years,” City Manager Richard Carmean said. “He asked some very good questions and certainly seemed to understand manufacturing and our infrastructure needs. I think it was a very good discussion.”
Coons then headed to Dentsply Caulk on West Clarke Avenue, a division of Dentsply International, the world’s largest dental products manufacturer.
After touring that facility and meeting with company representatives and employees, Coons toured the Baltimore Aircoil Company’s manufacturing facility on Holly Hill Road, where he learned how the roughly 400 employees at the 180,000-square-foot plant produce cooling towers, fluid coolers, condensers and thermal storage devices.
The Milford plant is one of the 74-year-old company’s largest facilities in country, having increased its sales by 350 percent since 2001 and added 114 new jobs since 2009.
Coons, who sits on the Senate’s budget and energy committees, said he was specifically interested in learning about Baltimore Aircoil’s employee stock ownership plan and efforts the company has undertaken to its energy efficiency.
The senator also discussed legislative efforts to protect intellectual property, remove regulatory barriers and expand exporting opportunities for manufacturing operations like Baltimore Aircoil.
“If we don’t figure out how to get back to being a country that makes things, we’re not going to get to a better future for our children and grandchildren,” he told about 20 Baltimore Aircoil employees during a question-and-answer session that that also touched on topics ranging from political divisiveness in Washington to alternative energy sources.
“It means a lot to our employees and a lot to our company for someone on his level in the Senate to visit our facility,” Baltimore Aircoil President Mike Swiderski said. “He has a strong understanding of manufacturing and a strong understanding of our relationship to our people and it was a good opportunity to hear from him about his views on Delaware and how he can help us grow our business in North America.”
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