GVSU Hosts 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Summit

October 07, 2021

GVSU Hosts 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Summit

On Thursday, September 23rd, Grand Valley State University (GVSU) had the honor of hosting the 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Summit on Advanced Strategies for Advanced Manufacturing. The conference was hosted in the Eberhard Center on the GVSU Pew Grand Rapids campus, and featured keynote speakers Marita Cheng, Founder of Robogals, Aipoly, and Aubot; Doug DeVos, Co-Chair of the  Amway Corporation Board of Directors, and Randy Thelen, President and CEO of The Right Place, Inc.

The Manufacturing Leadership Summit invites local manufacturing leaders to learn about innovations in the manufacturing industry and discuss the future of manufacturing. The conference was sponsored by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Verizon, Feyen Zystra, The Right Place Manufacturers Council, and MiBiz.

“Given the strong focus on Industry/University collaborations within the GVSU Padnos College of Engineering & Computing (PCEC), the School of Engineering was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in this event and network to discuss employer engagement, including recruitment of a student pipeline with the potential for conversion to full-time, post-graduation employment,” said Diane LaFreniere, James R. Sebastian Chair in the School of Engineering. 

Conference attendees had the chance to choose from several breakout sessions throughout the day. During the first breakout session, guests could choose between a student-led panel featuring Aquinas, GVSU, and Ferris State students, and a session titled, ‘Your Guide to not just Automation, but your Roadmap to 22nd Century Manufacturing!’, given by Corey Carolla, Partner in Innovative Solutions, JMC Industries, Inc.

The student-led panel featured Jordan Vanderham, a Grand Valley State University alum and entrepreneur,  as well as students Maeve Sentner of Aquinas College and David Freigruber of Ferris State University. Each of the panelists spoke on their internship or co-op experience in college, and answered questions from the audience regarding what college students are looking for in a potential employer.

The second breakout session featured a ‘One Workforce Grant Informational Session’, a panel titled ‘Green Drives Green - Embracing Sustainability to Create Market Opportunities & Lower Cost’, led by Mike Troupos, the Managing Director of Foresight Management, and ‘Smarter, Faster, Better - Taking  XR from “Cool” to “Tool”’, led by Jeff Joanisse, the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Th3rd Coast Digital Solutions.

After the Lunch keynote speaker, guests experienced a Rapid Planning Workshop led by Daniel “FuZZ” Walker, an Executive Consultant and F-22 Mission Commander of the United States Air Force. The workshop was interactive, and asked the audience to participate in rapid planning as taught by Walker. Participants worked in small groups to apply rapid planning to the problems that they face in manufacturing today, and problems they are preparing for in the future.

Students from both GVSU and Ferris State University were able to participate in the summit and network with potential employers from a variety of manufacturing companies.

GVSU student, Madison Willemstein, said that the conference provided her with “the opportunity to learn about some of the world-class technology that is powering the future of Manufacturing.”

“One specific example that I thought was very groundbreaking had to deal with safety,” explained Willemstein. “A company called Th3rd Coast has developed a program to be used in conjunction with Microsoft's Hololens where an employee may receive step by step instructions on how to safely turn on/off equipment, run a machine, or complete preventative maintenance that poses a safety risk when not completed properly. It was amazing to see how the program would have interactive icons to point to within the Hololens to provide next steps. Developments like this are what will empower the future in training and safety which are a large part of Manufacturing.”

“The event was an excellent chance to showcase the strong PCEC commitment to experiential education, with student networking and displays, as well video content of curricular projects, outreach initiatives, senior project, entrepreneurship, and the mandatory co-op program,” said LaFreniere.

Industry-university collaborations are a key component of the experiential education model offered in the Padnos College of Engineering & Computing. We were honored to host the 2021 Manufacturing Leadership Summit at GVSU, and look forward to future partnerships that provide learning opportunities to the community.

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Page last modified October 7, 2021