Manufacturing in South Florida: bigger and more diverse than you think!


The South Florida manufacturing sector has often taken a backseat to services, professions, and tourism. Jobs were lost due to outsourcing, as manufacturing costs overseas have been significantly lower than in the U.S.. Unknown by many, though, manufacturing in this country is ripe for high-paying jobs, and, given the right formulas of training and resources, will see a resurgence.   There is a growing number of companies bringing manufacturing back to the United States in a trend known as “reshoring”.  Demand for products and talent in the United States is rapidly increasing.

We have a diverse panel of  experts in the Tower Forum tradition, to bring you their latest in-depth perspectives and what you can expect.


Gerry Angeli, President/General Manager, ACR Electronics, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale.

ACR Electronics, a Florida based company since 1956, has been determined to provide the best electronic life support and signaling equipment modern technology could devise. This commitment to the quality of its products catapulted the young company into the forefront of the safety and survival industry. For 40 years, ACR’s continuing commitment to excellence and the high quality and dependability of its equipment have made the company a world leader in the dynamic field of safety and survival. From the dazzling heights of the NASA space program to the earthly concerns of the individual boater, flier and outdoorsman, ACR products have led the way in design, development, and durability.

Ray Carter, President/CEO, Stemtech International, Inc.

Ray Carter oversees the strategic direction and day-to-day operations of Stemtech International, Inc., the $70-million, fast-growing direct seller of innovative nutritional and personal care products, based in South Florida. Under Carter’s leadership, Stemtech has grown from start-up to a significant player on the world stage. The company received a Rising Star Award from the Direct Selling Association in 2009 and has been named three times to Inc Magazine’s list of the fastest-growing privately-owned U.S. based companies (2010, 2013 & 2014).

Simon Kay, President/CEO, Aerospace Technologies Group.

Mr. Kay, a 30 year veteran of the business aviation industry, is focused on providing the strategy and vision that will enable ATG to be the leading manufacturer of power shade systems in the aviation industry. Founded in 1998, ATG is the premier developer and supplier of window shade systems for private and commercial aviation. ATG is the largest Tier One supplier of window shade systems to OEMs worldwide.  ATG shade systems are either certified or in final stages of development for many models of aircraft worldwide and is poised for rapid growth for the next decade.

Linda Cooke, Director, Manufacturing Operations, HABCO Manufacturing

Linda Cooke has 30 years in the manufacturing business in both for profit and non profit industries.  HABCO Manufacturing is an AS9100C registered contract manufacturer.  As a South Florida Manufacturer of the Year, the company places special emphasis on aviation, aerospace and marine industries.  Ms. Cooke served as Chair, High Skills/High Wages with Workforce Florida under Governor Jeb Bush.

MODERATOR: Al Lewis, Editor-In-Chief, South Florida Business Journal.

He has been a columnist for The Wall Street Journal Sunday, MarketWatch, Dow Jones Newswires and the Denver Post. He also formerly served as business editor of The Denver Post. He is a longtime blogger at and has made frequent media appearances, discussing business trends and developments. He has often appeared on Fox Business and Denver’s 9News, KUSA-TV.