Wrightstown exec tabbed for council to help U.S. manufacturers

Michael Nowak, chairman and CEO of Wrightstown-based Coating Excellence International, will serve as one of 13 members of a council designed to advise the administration on helping U.S. manufacturers compete worldwide.

The announcement was made today by U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans.

“Today’s announcement gives Wisconsin manufacturing workers a louder voice that will provide manufacturing workers with greater job security,” Evans said. “Mike’s first-hand knowledge of the challenges faced by manufacturers will help address problems head on and develop recommendations to strengthen the industry.”

The council that Nowak joins was first announced in March, and got off to a controversial start. The administration’s first pick to head the council, Nebraska’s Anthony Raimondo, was in charge of a company that had laid off workers after announcing a new factory in China. After Raimondo withdrew his name, the administration picked Don Wainwright, CEO of St. Louis-based Wainwright Industries to chair the council.

Nowak’s company has connections with the Bush administration. When Vice President Dick Cheney visited Wisconsin in April, he stopped in Wrightstown to compliment the company and deliver a brief campaign speech.

“With hard work, a lower federal tax burden, and powerful incentives to invest — you’ve turned a start-up business into a growing and great Wisconsin company,” Cheney said.

“We probably are the epitome of someone who has been helped by tax cuts,” Nowak told a Green Bay newspaper at the time. Founded in 1997, the company was named the 2003 Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

  • See the text of Cheney’s speech at CEI.