In the News | Professor Phil Mayer Interviewed on WTNH News 8

GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — In eastern Connecticut, when you think of the defense industry you think of General Dynamics Electric Boat, but there are hundreds of companies that are part of it statewide. One professor believes that industry could help boost the state’s flat economy.

“It still hasn’t recovered from the recession years ago,” says Phil Mayer, a professor of Economics and Political Science at Three Rivers Community College.

He says Connecticut is always the last state to recover and eastern Connecticut is the last part of the state to recover, despite the Groton submarine builder’s plans to hire 2,000 people this year.

“Remember those people haven’t been hired yet,” said Mayer.

He says the loss of the GE headquarters in Fairfield and Bristol Meyers Squibb‘s plans to pull out of the state completely has made it hard for the economy to bounce back. He believes the state’s $13 billion defense industry could help to re-inflate the economy especially if President Trump is able to significantly increase defense spending benefiting EB, Pratt & Whitney, and United Technologies.

“That’s going to help create a lot of good well paying jobs in manufacturing and don’t forget those companies have suppliers as well,” said Mayer. “So they’re going to be ordering more from suppliers and that’s also going to have what we call a multiplier effect or ripple effect.”

BDI, Bearing Distributors, Inc., in Groton is one of the 446 suppliers to Electric Boat.

“Where ever there’s mechanical moving parts we’re there,” says branch manager Jay DeFanti.

He has seen business grow tremendously because of EB.

“It’s a significant part,” said DeFanti. “I mean we’ve been doing business with EB ever since we opened January 1990 so they’re a significant partner with us.”

EB is looking to hire welders from a manufacturing pipeline program through Three Rivers Community College as well as recruit designers and engineers who might otherwise look outside Connecticut after college adding to the brain drain the state has seen.

“If we get these at Electric Boat there’s no need to leave the state,” said Mayer.

Suppliers to Electric Boat are more than manufacturers they also include businesses like trash haulers and food service companies.

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