0217ctt CLS

Panelists from Ceramic Leadership Summit 2012. Credit: ACerS.

It was American author Mark Twain who famously (or perhaps infamously) declared, “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

Likewise, the death of United States manufacturing has been greatly misreported—so much, in fact, that tall tales have slipped beyond exaggeration, and reached a level of “just plain untrue.” (Click here for a whole host of data from the National Association of Manufacturers that supports that last statement. For example, did you know that manufacturing contributed $2.03 trillion to the US economy in 2012?)

The high-impact panel of manufacturing and business thought-leaders set for the 4th Ceramic Leadership Summit (CLS), April 7–9 in Baltimore, Md., will not only dispel the rumors surrounding manufacturing’s untimely demise, they’ll make the case for continued sustainability, innovation, and talent development as critical pieces of an all-encompassing strategy for success.

Billed as the meeting point “where business and manufacturing meet strategy,” the two-day conference—designed specifically for ‘C-level’ executives, senior managers, and young professionals on the path to management—is a chance to engage ACerS’s business and manufacturing members and beyond. 

“This conference is not just for ceramic and glass manufacturers,” says Charlie Spahr, ACerS executive director. “Anyone involved in manufacturing will find value in this conference because all manufacturers face similar issues of global business climate, innovation, sustainability, IP protection, and workforce development—regardless of their particular industry.”

Additionally, it’s centered on objective and obtainable avenues for tackling the daily challenges (sustainability, workforce development) and opportunities (innovation, investment and education) that a growing and green global economy presents. As Eileen so succinctly put it, “The focus is on rubber-meets-the-road information that will deliver an immediate ROI for your business.”

Day one sets the stage for strategic and “big picture” thinking by attendees. Among the slate of speakers:

  • James Meil, vice president and chief economist, Eaton Corp., presents his thoughts on the competitive state of U.S. manufacturing in an increasingly global marketplace—turning trends to takeaways for businesses and manufacturers.
  • Katharine Frase, vice president and chief technology officer at IBM, shares how investments in data and gadgets, both “big” and small, power the decisions that drive and shape business.
  • Andrew Zynga, CEO of NineSigma, offers up CLS’s keynote, providing relevant examples of how “open innovation” reduces risk, shortens time-to-market, and creates bottom-line tangible value for industry.
  • Frank O’Brien–Bernini, vice president and chief sustainability officer at Owens Corning, provides a practical synopsis of Owens Corning’s four key sustainability business practices that warrant application elsewhere.
  • Al Lubrano, president of Materion Techincal Materials and chair of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Small to Medium Manufacturers, examines manufacturing as a vehicle for national economic prosperity.

Day two takes the big picture and refines it, offering clear-cut channels for innovation and sustainability. GE’s Gregory Morris provides the morning’s plenary talk on the business drivers behind the company’s $6-billion investment in additive manufacturing.  Two targeted tracksInnovation (strategies, intellectual property, and material sourcing), and Manufacturing and Workforce Sustainability (energy, environment, and safety; sustainable operations; regulatory landscape; and talent development and more) provide a more intimate and interactive oppportunitiy for additional dissection and discussion with top execs from Corning Incorporated, Ceramtec, Catalyst Connection, Thompson Coburn LLP, and Pennsylvania State University, among others.

Both days include focused opportunities for networking. Attendees will want to be sure to take advantage of time for one-on-ones with industry experts and leaders over lunch and day one’s conference dinner.

“This summit provides context for the numerous challenges and opportunities facing businesses in many industries, not just the ceramics and glass community,” says Mark Mecklenborg, ACerS director of technical publications and meetings. “It’s a chance to interact both individually and collectively with executives from some of the most prestigious businesses and manufacturers in ceramics and glass, and attendees should come prepared to really pick the brains of these captains of industry.”

For the full conference schedule, as well as information on accommodations and pricing, visit ceramics.org. To take advantage of early bird pricing, reserve your spot now.

See you in “Charm City”—April 7–9!