Creativity and innovation – and even an appearance by the great grandniece of Thomas Edison -- are on tap at an upcoming gathering of Michigan manufacturers in TC next month.
The conference, organized by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, will be held Sept. 18 and 19 at the Hagerty Center.
“This energetic conference brings together the movers, shakers and owners of Michigan small- to medium-sized manufacturers from across the state,” says Kelly Knapp, administrator for the MMTC. “We’ll be discussing critical business issues and emerging trends in an atmosphere designed to build relationships.”
One of the common issues raised by Michigan manufacturers, Knapp says, is the need for qualified young workers to replace more experienced employees who are nearing retirement.
“Some manufacturers are having difficulty finding skilled labor,” Knapp adds. “We are inviting 50 students to the conference to show them what manufacturing is all about. We invite them to network and become aware of all the job opportunities that are available to them.”
The keynote speaker will be Sarah Miller Caldicott, a great-grandniece of Thomas A. Edison. Inspired by her family’s legacy of inventors dating back five generations, Caldicott began her 25-year career as a marketing executive with such major brands as Quaker Oats. Concerned that the United States was losing its leadership in innovation, she spent three years researching Edison’s innovation methods with experts at Rutgers University.
Other presenters include James Foley, director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, who will address international opportunities; and Mike Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Fitzpatrick Manufacturing, who will discuss home grown employee development.
Attendees will also take "best practices tours" of three local manufacturers: Electro-Optics and Skilled Manufacturing in Traverse City and Hayes Manufacturing in Fife Lake.
Based in Plymouth, Mich., MMTC supports Michigan’s small- and medium-sized businesses with offices in Plymouth, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Marquette and at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.
Registration is still open for the conference. To learn more, visit www.mmtc.org or call (888) 414-6682.