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During mfgCON 2015, I talked with many of our attendees about the conference—what they learned, what they missed, and what tips, tricks and tools they plan to implement within their own organizations. Watching and waiting to see how the shared knowledge will create value for the attendees is perhaps the most exciting phase of the conference.

Something I heard more than once, from attendees and NCMEP partners alike, was the difficulty in choosing among all of the great sessions we offered. Fortunately, there were a couple of times when we didn’t have to choose—at the keynote presentations and at the presentation of the NCMEP Leadership Awards.

The keynote speakers were selected to represent the nexus of industry, academics and government that characterizes North Carolina manufacturing and makes it unique. On Day 1, Carroll Thomas, Director of NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), welcomed attendees and focused her remarks on the “third wave” of manufacturing and the role that the sector plays in the national economy. Dr. Michael Walden, an expert in regional economics and an economics professor at NC State University, then spoke about broad trends in manufacturing and what they might mean for the industry and for small and mid-sized manufacturers here at home. Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, rounded out the Day 1 keynotes by discussing the efforts his organization makes to ensure that businesses continue to choose NC as the place to launch and grow.

On Day 2, Lew Ebert, President and CEO of the NC Chamber and John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary of the NC Department of Commerce, spoke. In addition, NCMEP Leadership Awards were presented to five companies who have proven excellence in manufacturing practices. The 2015 recipients are:

  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Economic Development: GE Aviation, West Jefferson
  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Continuous Improvement: Fiberon
  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Innovative Practice: AEG International
  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Workforce Development: PEMMCO Manufacturing
  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Sustainable Manufacturing: Ann’s House
  • NCMEP Leadership Award, Manufacturing Excellence: Keihin Carolina System Technology

There will be more details on each award recipient to follow in the next few days, so bookmark this blog and check back frequently.

What insights did you gain at mfgCON? What do you hope to take away from the conference in future years? Drop us a line and let us know.



Phil Mintz is the Director of the North Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NCMEP) and Associate Executive Director, Extension Operations of NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). At NCMEP, Phil drives outreach to NC manufacturers, builds relationships with federal and state leaders and coordinates efforts to drive profitable manufacturing growth in the state.