A 19-year-old college student and CEO received a special lesson in business and politics from the California Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Dylan Sievers, is a full-time business student,...
founder and CEO of a growing company and reluctant political activist who is striving to influence change in the California legislature. He was taught that California politics is not for his manufacturing business so he has decided to move operations to Texas to comply with the federal standard of Made in the USA.
"This California Made in the USA 'labeling law' was passed in 1961 when imports were 8%. Today they are over 64%. We have lost over 650,000 jobs in California in the last 10 years. California has a very specific law that states that 100% of the product must be Made in the USA. Many businesses are unaware of this law until they are sued," Sievers said. "I received a crash course in lobbying for my beliefs and viewpoints on these bills. SB661 brought by Senator Jerry Hill of my district, was put on hold in June this year. Assemblyman Brian Jones had a similar bill that failed, AB890, that was trying to mimic the Federal Standard and actually took out USA Certification that I am very passionate about. I supported both bills because it is the right thing to do for manufacturing jobs in this state. I was disheartened to realize that those against were more concerned for those opposing, 5-2, the opposition even offered to senators legal services for consumers."
Sievers perfected the idea for Bulldog Lighting (www.bulldogledlighting.com) in a business class at his alma mater, Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo. Sievers focus is on manufacturing a Made in the USA off-road LED light bar that he can be proud of, where he knows that the money spent for the material and parts and labor stays here in the USA. I do not want to be dependent on foreign parts. Sievers and his team will move operations to Texas, effective August 1 st.
Brian Helm of ABX Engineering stated, "We will be affected and may have to cut employees but we support Bulldog Lighting." Brian is both vendor and friend of the Sievers family. "We were saddened to hear our senator voted against this," Salman Shariat of Crown Manufacturing, Inc. said. Crown Manufacturing, is a plastic injection molder in Newark, CA, since 1959. Salman Shariat is a fellow Serra HS alumnae.
Sievers is striving to spearhead a change in a current law that he believes can give consumers a better method of truly knowing that the product they are supporting as Made in the USA is actually made here, using US parts with US Certification. "There is Certified Organic, Certified Women Business Enterprise, why not 'Made in USA Certified'. Our leaders should work to ensure consumers are protected, and not just with lawsuits," Sievers said. California places an unfair disadvantage on firms in special labeling because there are some products that have components which are not available in the United States.
Bulldog Lighting projects $1 million in its first year of business. The company has three patents that are pending. It has spent the last six months in research and development, and identifying supply sources from U.S. companies to produce its LED light bar for off-road vehicles. Around 80 plus percent of Bulldog Lighting's components derive from American companies, Sievers added. LEDs are not among them.
Dylan Sievers is still pursuing his bachelor's degree from Saint Mary's College in nearby Moraga, Calif., where he will focus on business and global marketing.
"I have learned a lot from these senators. My mother taught me to always be professional in business. I think senators should do the same. California is their business. Some senators would not even answer my emails, phone calls or see me. I thank those professional senators who went out of their way to shake my hand and say they thought it was cool, that at my age I was engaged," Sievers said. "I am smart and I choose to not fight the California system where some leaders seem out of touch and are making poor decisions for those who try to create jobs. I am only 19 years old, they probably don't care what I think. There should be the incentive to manufacture in this country, not just import parts and assemble. Passing a current law will help every business in California better compete with businesses in every other state where the federal standard is just that, the same for all the states, the United States. I hope the American public will help me with Made in USA Certified, they have to let their local senators know that this is important," Sievers stated.