EAMA Announces First Inductee to its Inaugural Hall of Fame

Category: Events • August 25, 2021

EAMA announces the inaugural inductee, Ray Coombs, to its first ever Hall of Fame, presented at the EAMA Annual Meeting.

The Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) is proud to announce the first inductee to its inaugural EAMA Hall of Fame, Westminster Tool founder and president Ray Coombs. The first ever Hall of Fame recognition for the organization is a distinct honor bestowed only upon those individuals who, through consistent dedication, have contributed to the growth of the manufacturing industry in Eastern Connecticut. The elected individual also receives a $2,500 donation to the charity of their choice.

Like many industrial sectors, the growth of the manufacturing community is dependent on employers and company leaders to help cultivate the collective message to drive the industry forward. “This means building strong relationships with legislators, educators and students in the community,” says EAMA President, Christopher Jewell.

It is for this reason that EAMA has selected Ray Coombs as its first inductee. The original founder and president of EAMA, Ray’s passion for manufacturing spans over 1,500 square miles and over two decades. 15 years ago, he accepted the leadership position as Chairman of EAMA’s predecessor, the Quinebaug Manufacturing Institute (QMI), and started working to develop the partnership with Quinebaug Valley Community College. His efforts to build manufacturing educational initiatives in Northeast Connecticut accelerated to over twenty manufacturing companies. His goal to close the skills gap became widely shared all over Connecticut, “to grow the largest manufacturing collaborative in the state.”

QMI rapidly gained new members and transitioned to become EAMA, the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance. The partnership quickly expanded to Southern Connecticut where a new collaboration with Three Rivers Community College began. In only four years, Ray helped to rebrand EAMA as a coalition of employers from all sectors of manufacturing across the state, ultimately tripling the membership.

Ray’s leadership at EAMA lead to a consolidated team of over 50 CT manufacturers, several influential academic leaders as well as key U.S. and State legislators, gaining the organization national recognition. The strength of this team resulted in the creation of critical manufacturing curriculum and training resources, over $20M in funding, and has opened the talent pool to nearly 2,000 new employees.

“The Hall of Fame was created so that we can publicly celebrate the accomplishments of the individuals who have helped our manufacturing ecosystem thrive here in Eastern Connecticut,” Chris says. “Ray Coombs is a prime example of that.”

Through his leadership, vision, and philosophy of continuous improvement and lifelong learning, these mantras have become cornerstones of which EAMA is known today. His vision has powerfully impacted the lives and futures of participating manufacturers, their employees, and families across the state.

The induction ceremony will be held during the EAMA Annual Meeting on Sept. 21 at the Norwich Holiday Inn at 4:00 PM. To register for the event, please visit: eamainc.com/event/annual-eama-meeting-2