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Member Perspective: Alix James

Posted Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Programs & Events, Member News, Hidden, New Members

Guest Commentator: Alix James, President & CEO, Nielsen-Kellerman

In what ways has the Philadelphia business community supported the growth and innovation of your company?

The Philadelphia area has many key advantages for manufacturing success: prime location, abundant workforce, competitive operational costs, and easy access to transportation systems.

Nielsen Kellerman Company has been building products sold worldwide in Delaware County for thirty years and continues to expand across product lines and customer markets. One significant segment of our customer base enjoys a sizable presence in Philadelphia. NK’s signature line of waterproof sports performance instruments are used in rowing and paddle sports around the globe for training and performance – and of course, right here on the Schuylkill. The diverse and large community of rowing programs is fortunately available here at home for inspiration, testing, development, and “voice of the customer” research.

We are proud of our local roots, and we are thrilled that our continued growth here results not only in innovation and product advancements for our customers – but is allowing us to give back to the local community through job creation and stability.

With a range of universities located in the city as well as in the surrounding tristate area, there is a steady stream of talented recent graduates to pull from resulting in strong hiring outlooks. This contributes to tremendous workforce depth across everything we need — manufacturing, engineering, sales, marketing, and accounting. The cost of living remains consistently competitive for employees compared to other mid to large East Coast cities. The same holds true for manufacturers — business-friendly policies, affordable real estate, and ample educational resources all contribute to maintaining fairly competitive operating costs.

Leveraging the knowledge and networking within the existing community of manufacturing leaders in the area benefits us all by sharing Lean Manufacturing best practices and learning opportunities. Fortunately, the vibrant manufacturing community cultivates and attracts a solid base of manufacturing and engineering related consultants. We are also able to benefit from supporting organizations such as Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center (DVIRC) and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PDIC) that provide guidance for growth.

Location always matters in manufacturing. Fortunately, the area serves as a great transportation and logistics hub. By using UPS and FedEx, we are able to get necessary materials in and product out and in our customers’ hands very quickly. In addition, the large international airport makes travel air connections to our customers’ locations for travel.

NK remains committed to producing high-quality American made products, while recognizing and utilizing the unique resources Philadelphia offers for continued manufacturing growth.


Join civic and business leaders on November 9 to celebrate Nielsen-Kellerman along with other honorees at the 35th Annual Excellence Awards. Nielsen-Kellerman is being honored as this year’s Manufacturer of the Year. Register to celebrate, and learn more, at ChamberPHL.com/EA.

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