Governor Deval L. Patrick (D-Mass.) calls it the "innovation economy": a climate in which entrepreneurial, idea-based industries such as technology, life sciences, clean energy, and financial services thrive and create new opportunities on country, state, and local levels.
It's a subject he's studied far and wide since first elected to office in 2006, observing best practices not just across the country, but in other locales including the United Kingdom and Israel, in an effort to position the Commonwealth as a global leader of innovative business.
"I'm absolutely confident that if we get this area right, meaning clean and alternative energy and energy efficiency, the whole world will be our customer," Patrick said.
As part of his ongoing examination of the manufacturing sector in the Commonwealth and how it is meeting the challenges of today's marketplace, Patrick visited three businesses in the state's westernmost region of Berkshire County that are embracing the innovation economy model -- among them Boyd Technologies, a family-owned and operated advanced materials converter based in Lee. Patrick's Berkshire stops also included one in Great Barrington at The Chamberlain Group, which makes anatomically correct human models for medical device companies and teaching hospitals, and at the ribbon-cutting for a 15-megawatt wind turbine farm, owned by Boston-based Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative Corporation and located on Brodie Mountain in Hancock and Lanesborough.
Pausing frequently to ask questions, Patrick met with Boyd Technologies' executive management team and toured its facilities, in order to better understand where Boyd has been, where it stands today, and where it is headed as an innovative leader.
"There are processes and procedures in place here that are very much part of the innovation economy, and this is very exciting," he said.
Indeed, the Company has embraced several efficient, sustainable manufacturing processes in the last decade, leading to measurable returns. Last year, for instance, Boyd received the Save Energy Now Award from the U.S. Department of Energy, given to U.S. manufacturing plants that have achieved significant energy savings. Boyd reduced its total energy usage in 2010 by more than 7.5%.
Founded by Bronly S. Boyd in 1979, Boyd Technologies specializes in finish-manufacturing and support services for clients in the health and medical, electrical, and consumer markets, providing material converting and contract manufacturing (die-cutting, narrow width slitting, and finished product manufacturing) Once known as simply a paper converter, today Boyd works with a wide variety of flexible materials, from technical papers to foil, netting to films, effectively creating finished and component products for a growing customer base in the biopharma and clean energy markets.
While Boyd has long been known for its involvement with commercial product launches in tandem with well-heeled outfits such as Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, and Oral-B, the Company's plan for growth is centered on growing opportunities within the biopharma and clean technology sectors. As such, Boyd is focusing largely on health-related and power storage and delivery products, such as medical disposables, liquid filtration systems, and battery technologies.
Stephen Boyd, president of Boyd Technologies, explained that this shift is in part a response to the changing manufacturing landscape in Massachusetts and across the country.
"Thirty years ago, when my father started this company, our focus was working directly with technical paper and nonwoven mills," he said. "Now, with that rooted understanding of these advanced materials, we've begun to focus on specific end applications and markets, namely the medical and electrical markets, which have great growth stories in the Commonwealth."
"We are able to add tremendous value for these customers because of our proximity to them and our materials expertise. While our material sourcing is more of an international landscape, to have a growing customer base within the Commonwealth is exciting."