The Work Continues


Remarks by

David N. Taylor, President & CEO

Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association

At the annual PMA Seminar, December 2, 2017


The work continues.

“Business in Pennsylvania IS our business” – That’s our motto. And because prosperity for Pennsylvania is our goal, we fight for manufacturing, the sector that adds the most value, has the strongest multiplier effect on job creation, and upholds the quality of life in our commonwealth.

Our mission is competitiveness, to make it the smart business decision for people to choose to invest, hire, and expand in Pennsylvania rather than in one of our competitor states. To that end, we engage with the policymakers in Harrisburg, advocating for pro-growth policies that will improve our competitiveness differential.

We are part of a great continuity. Schwab, Frick, Carnegie, Mellon, Westinghouse, Hershey – the legacy of these great industrialists lives on in Pennsylvania’s $86 billion manufacturing sector.

In exactly the same way, PMA holds fast to the legacy of Joseph Grundy and Fred Anton.

Senator Grundy founded PMA but Mr. Anton built it to stand for all time.

That continuity now flows through me. It has been the honor of my life to know him, work for him, and learn from him over the last twenty years.

I promised him that this would be my life’s work – and if I keep at it as long as he did, I’ve got 35 years to go. 

That’s the year 2052, for those of you keeping score.  

Mr. Anton was a man of the “old school”, as the saying goes.

It represents a commitment to first principles.

One of those was demanding results, and nothing angered or frustrated him more than the Harrisburg game of excuse-making and blame-throwing he called “Waltz me around again Willie”.

As proven by Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence in Indiana, a sustained commitment by state policymakers to a pro-growth agenda can move the needle and that is what we will continue to insist on.

But another of those first principles was a commitment to civil discourse, which is what brings us together today.

Mr. Anton started this seminar in 1981 and PMA will continue to hold it during every future gathering of the Pennsylvania Society. 

It is a privilege for all of us to be in this room. The leaders in this room have been entrusted with the most prominent institutions in our commonwealth, with the well-being of our citizens, and, therefore, with Pennsylvania’s future.

We are the stakeholders. We should know what we’re doing. We should be able to explain ourselves in the public square. We should listen to one another.

This is especially important because we are going to disagree.  We need to disagree constructively, with respect and civility, because the health of our institutions of representative self-government requires it.

Which brings me to the “first principle” for which Mr. Anton was most loved and will be best-remembered: to treat everyone with kindness and respect.

He could be an imposing figure with his towering height and his booming voice but in fact he was an unfailingly gracious, kind, generous, and sincere person.

The story of our friend David Cohen is emblematic: David wanted Comcast to sponsor this seminar as a tribute to Mr. Anton because, David says, when he was a young lawyer starting out in Philadelphia and didn’t know anybody, Mr. Anton took the time to befriend him, treat him with kindness and respect, and encourage him.

In tribute, please sign the books of remembrance in the lobby and please also take a copy of yesterday’s Inquirer featuring PMA’s memorial to the boss.

But most of all, we pay tribute to Mr. Anton by continuing the work.