Bridging the Manufacturing Gaps; SME Annual Conference Focuses on Innovation and Leadership

DEARBORN, Mich., February 9, 2010 The “Great Recession” was a wake up call for manufacturers lulled into a sense of security by years of economic boom. Like the economy itself, manufacturing stands at an abyss of uncertainty. In the past is a manufacturing industry once revered as the backbone of our economy. Ahead lies an expanse of opportunity for manufacturers who are ready to lead this century’s new industrial revolution.
To prepare manufacturing practitioners to cross this chasm, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)presents its Annual Conference: Bridging the Gaps in Nashville, June 6-8, 2010. Focusing on leadership and innovation, this event provides tools, inspiration and networking which will empower manufacturing professionals to innovate, execute and succeed when they return to the office. The event is open to SME members and other manufacturing professionals.
“Just like agriculture a century ago, manufacturing is in a transformative period,” said Mark C. Tomlinson, SME’s executive director and general manager. “The industry needs agile and knowledgeable leaders who can respond to innovative ideas and adapt to a changing market.”
This highly informative event presents insights into the technologies and processes that span the scope of manufacturing -- from breakthroughs in smart and green materials to enablers for renewable energy. The leadership track offers sessions on fostering an innovative culture and how to make the most of innovation within the manufacturing sector. There will also be opportunities to discuss strategies and challenges facing manufacturers such as diversifying, finding new customers and adapting to green demands.
“’Bridging the Gaps’ has been developed by manufacturing professionals for manufacturing professionals,” said Conference Advisor Joe LaRussa, P.E., project manager, Customer Quality Office, Chrysler Group LLC. “It is based on what our members say they’re looking for in style and content. It offers both leadership and innovation tracks that attendees can mix and match in ways that meet their individual needs.”
Both tracks recognize the importance of green manufacturing today – from fostering a green culture to a review of innovations that are enabling the newest generation of green materials and alternative energy storage. MasTech will share their story of how they converted from manufacturing auto components to making wind turbine components.
The keynote breakfast features Dr. Rodney Brooks, who is on a self-proclaimed mission to save North American manufacturing. He believes that intelligent automation tools free up people to do the things they are better at doing: innovating, addressing challenges and improving processes.
The innovation track will highlight SME’s 2010 “Innovations that Could Change the Way You Manufacture.” This annual list is an SME member-driven program showcasing new and emerging technologies that are making a difference in manufacturing. It also provides an educational framework for SME members and manufacturing practitioners to keep up to date on the industry's latest and greatest innovations that have already shown some successful implementation and can be used today. These presentations will be conducted by practitioners and researchers who developed or are already using this technology.


In addition to more than 20 presentations, the conference offers a tour of the Gibson USA Custom, Art and Historic Division to see how their special guitars are manufactured using a combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. Participants can also spend a day at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to see several facilities where work is being done that will impact manufacturing.

The Society will also pay tribute to individuals who are making an impact on the advancement of manufacturing at its annual SME International Honor Awards Gala. The future of manufacturing will also be recognized as the SME Education Foundation Scholarships are presented.
SME’s 2010 Annual Conference is hosted by SME Nashville Chapter 43 whose members have been crucial in the development of the program.
“This conference is unique in the peer to peer learning that’s available,” said Conference Advisor Karen Clark, owner, P.L. Severy & Company, Nashville. “Whether it’s relaxing at the Welcoming Barbecue, rubbing shoulders with our industry’s great at the Gala or mentoring the next generation of professionals, you just can’t find another event like this.”
Event details, registration and housing information for the SME Bridging the Gaps Annual Conference are available at or by calling 800.733.4763.
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About SME:
Founded in 1932, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking.Through its many programs, events and activities, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technology and the most up-to-date processes spanning all manufacturing industries and disciplines, plus the key areas of aerospace and defense, medical device, motor vehicles, including motorsports, oil and gas and alternative energy. A 501(c)3 organization, SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of technical communities and chapters worldwide.
Lori Ann Dick, APR
Senior PR Representative
Tel 313.425.3187

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