BY BENJAMIN FANG
Dozens of businesses and manufacturers met at Boyce Technologies on June 12 for the Queens Chamber of Commerce’s manufacturing networking event.
The gathering was an opportunity to create new business partnerships and facilitate collaboration. Representatives from several companies and industries engaged in conversation throughout the consortium.
Two guest speakers, Jessica Banks from RockPaperRobot, and Marco Perry from Pensa Labs, spoke about their struggles finding the right local manufacturers to work with.
Banks, an MIT-trained roboticist, is the founder and CEO of RockPaperRobot, an engineering and design company that creates kinetic, shape-shifting furniture. She displayed her Ollie Chair, which unfurls and retracts with the pull of a string, at the event.
She said there are many benefits to working with a local manufacturer, including keeping an eye on quality control, reducing shipping costs and easier communication.
“The closer you are to where you’re making your stuff, the better,” she said.
Banks’s company began manufacturing in China, followed by a move to Montreal. She wanted to bring RockPaperRobot home, but ran up against some problems.
Both Banks and Perry agreed that there is already a network of manufacturers in New York City, but it won’t matter if people don’t “energize the network with action,” Banks said.
“It’s really about what happens after and what people make of it,” she said. “It’s to be determined what the outcome will be and how helpful it will be.”
But Banks did say the manufacturing event was a nice way to meet businesses and people in the community, and to discuss what’s possible moving forward. She has already reached out to some connections she made at the event.
“Pick up the phone and get to be a buddy with the next person,” Perry said at the June 12 event.