New look

Manufacturing First goes virtual in 10th year

Posted on Sep 29, 2020 :: Don't Miss
Jessica Thiel
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Accepting change can prove challenging and galvanizing in equal measure. The 10th anniversary of the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference is all about meeting this time of change and seizing on the opportunities it can offer.

To adjust to the realities of the pandemic, the event, taking place Oct. 20-22, is going virtual with three days of programming that will offer the opportunity to take in more content than ever before. In addition to viewing the presentations in real time, content will remain available for 30 days following the event, providing greater flexibility to attendees.

Ann Franz, executive director of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance, says while this year’s event will look different, it remains the same at its core. To maintain the connections Manufacturing First attendees so value, each day includes networking and exhibitor time. The event will use a virtual platform called Brella that facilitates virtual networking and connects people and businesses with similar interests or objectives.

“It’s hard to believe that this is the 10th year of Manufacturing First,” Franz says. “What I value most is the opportunity to learn and network with so many amazing professionals. Utilizing the Brella platform will help us network like never before by using AI technology.”

Each day of the event will include a keynote or special presentation. The event kicks off at noon on Oct. 20 with a keynote address from futurist, best-selling author and disruptive innovation expert Daniel Burrus.

In his address, “The Anticipatory Leader: A Proven Model to Predict Change and Create Extraordinary Results,” Burrus will share strategies companies can put in place to take advantage of opportunities, even during the challenging time society is experiencing.

“Post-pandemic success will be determined by what you do now, not post-pandemic,” Burrus says.

In uncertain times like these, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and anxious. It can help to realize that a personal or business strategy based on uncertainty carries high risk, but strategy based on certainty carries low risk and high rewards, Burrus says. His talk will guide participants through creating effective strategies they can deploy now to help meet the challenges of both today and the future.

Following Burrus’ talk, W. Kent Lorenz of First Business Financial Services will speak at 2 p.m. on the topic of “Four IoT Technology Trends That Will Impact Small- to Mid-sized Manufacturers.” He’ll discuss automation, digital ecosystems, artificial intelligence and augmented reality and their importance in manufacturing.

On Oct. 21 at noon, Gretchen and Tim Gilbertson, founders of Green Bay-based Séura, share their story. Beginning with a small operation out of their home, the Gilbertsons have built Séura into an internationally recognized technology provider of indoor and outdoor TV and mirror solutions. They’ll share what they wish they had known in the beginning and strategies other manufacturers can put to work in their businesses.

“I’m especially excited to hear from Gretchen and Tim Gilbertson with Séura,” Franz says. “Their story is amazing in how they started their business in their garage to being now one of the leading technology companies in the country.”

On Oct. 22 at noon, Franz will moderate a roundtable discussion featuring four Northeast Wisconsin manufacturing leaders speaking on the topic of building a great culture in times of crisis. The panelists include Kim Bassett, president and CEO of Bassett Mechanical, Lanny Viegut, president and CEO of Carnivore Meat Co., Kurt Voss, CEO of AmeriLux, and Sachin Shivaram, CEO of Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry Co.

Webinars with live question-and-answer sessions are scheduled for each afternoon of the event, taking place at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Attendees can participate in networking and exhibitor time from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 21-22 and at 4 p.m. all three days, along with Power Hour and prize giveaways on Oct. 22.

If you go

Manufacturing First will take place virtually Oct. 20-22. Visit manufacturingfirst.com to learn more and register. The website also includes a video tutorial for Brella, the event platform that will help facilitate virtual connections.