NAFEM members discuss tariffs and supply chain concerns with elected/appointed officials during virtual Washington, D.C. fly-in

From July 20-22, representatives from 13 NAFEM member companies met with elected and appointed officials in Washington, D.C. to advocate for the elimination of Section 232 and 301 tariffs and address other pressing supply chain concerns. Members discussed the negative impact tariffs have had on their companies and the difficulty with the product exclusion processes. They also shed light on plastic and semi-conductor shortages, shipping delays and cost increases.

“In-person meetings are the best way to help federal decisionmakers understand the important role the commercial foodservice equipment and supplies industry plays in strengthening our nation’s economy,” said Charlie Souhrada, CFSP, NAFEM’s vice president, regulatory & technical affairs. “Despite the fact that we had to hold these meetings virtually, hearing directly from members representing hundreds of companies with thousands of employees will leave an impression and help shape decisions that come out of Washington.”

During the meetings, or virtual fly-in, NAFEM met with 15 different offices including:

  • Mike Gallagher (R-WI-08), Mike Grothman (R-WI-06), and Bill Huizenga (R-MI-02).
  • The office staff of representatives Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Warren Davidson (R-OH-08), Bob Latta (R-OH-05) and Mary Miller (R-IL-15).
  • The office staff of senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Gary Peters (D-MI), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Pat Toomey (R-PA).
  • Senate Committee on Finance Minority staff.
  • House Ways & Means Committee Majority staff.
  • U.S. Department of Commerce staff.

Additional meetings are planned for early August.

“The virtual fly-in was a powerful reminder of how many companies and people NAFEM members touch every day. Our company and our peers had the opportunity to discuss important issues for all small U.S. manufacturers. I’m especially encouraged by the meeting with the Department of Commerce and look forward to hearing how these meetings help in the future.”

— Tim Crammer, vice president of operations, Henny Penny, Eaton, Ohio

In addition to Crammer, NAFEM representatives included:

  • Aaron Brix, director product management, Welbilt, Manitowoc Ice, Manitowoc, Wis.
  • Steve Christoferson, vice president of operations, Hatco Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Michael DeBoni, director of operations, Antunes, Carol Stream, Ill.
  • Bo Erickson, general manager, Welbilt, Manitowoc Ice, Manitowoc, Wis.
  • Matt Gleitz, director of product management, engineering and strategic sourcing, The Legacy Companies, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
  • Eric Gross, vice president, Eagleware Manufacturing Co., Inc., Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
  • Steve Heun, chief financial officer, The Vollrath Company, Kohler, Wis.
  • Brian Kelly, president, Continental Refrigerator, Bensalem, Pa.
  • Joe Mockus, president, Structural Concepts, Norton Shores, Mich.
  • Dave Rolston, CFSP, president/CEO, Hatco Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Stephen Schaefer, group leader, Hoshizaki America, Inc. Peachtree City, Ga.
  • Kimber Simos, vice president of human resources, Hatco Corporation, Milwaukee, Wis.
  • Kevin Washington, government affairs, ITW/FEG (Illinois Tool Works/Food Equipment Group), Glenview, Ill.
  • David Wasserman, CFSP, COO, Mercer Culinary, Ronkonoma, N.Y.
  • Michelle Wibel, CFSP, president, NEMCO Food Equipment, Hicksville, Ohio
  • Matt Woelfer, vice president of sales & marketing, BK Resources, Altamont, Ill.

NAFEM spearheads additional advocacy meeting with allied associations

At NAFEM’s encouragement, a coalition of like-minded associations has been meeting regularly to discuss how to help relieve members’ supply chain issues, including steel and aluminum shortages. In June and July, representatives from NAFEM, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), met with elected and appointed officials to discuss these concerns. The group met with staff from Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.-05), Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio). They also met with staff from the Department of Commerce, House Ways & Means Committee (majority and minority teams) and the Senate Committee on Finance (majority and minority teams).

“NAFEM is pulling all the right levers with this multifaceted approach of reaching out to Congress and key agencies,” said Christine, Sohar Henter, NAFEM legal counsel, Barnes & Thornburg. “We may not see immediate changes, but we’ve clearly communicated that enough is enough when it comes to tariffs. Like NAFEM, the administration is concerned about good-paying U.S. jobs. Tariff relief should help maintain and grow these jobs.”