Manufacturing Matters! Conference Highlights Winning Talent Management Strategies

High-impact strategies to attract, retain and develop skilled and motivated workers are the focus of the May 17 Manufacturing Matters! Conference in Milwaukee.

“The Power of People: Unleashing Breakthrough Business Performance” is the theme of the conference hosted by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP). The day-long event will be held at the Frontier Airlines Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee.

Talent management has never been more crucial. “The competition for talent to drive growth and innovation is heating up and will only intensify in the future,” said Lee Swindall, WMEP’s acting executive director. A perfect storm of Baby Boomer retirements, global competition, new technologies and a generation of younger workers poses significant challenges for today’s manufacturers.


* Morning keynote David DeLong, co-author of “The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management: Powerful Tools for Leveraging a Changing Workforce,” will show how executives can more effectively lead talent management initiatives at a time of unprecedented demographic and organizational changes. Afternoon keynote Susan Schmitt, senior vice president, Human Resources at Rockwell Automation, will share thought leadership insights the company has to secure, develop and retain skilled and engaged workers and how these strategies apply to smaller firms.

* Prominent industry thought leaders and senior executives from award-winning Wisconsin manufacturing firms will share best practices and insights. Panelists include manufacturing leaders from A & A Manufacturing Company, Inc., New Berlin; Briess Industries, Inc., Chilton; Dickten Masch Plastics, LLC, Nashotah; GenMet, Mequon; HED, Inc., Hartford; Hurd Windows & Doors, Medford; Hydro-Thermal Corp., Waukesha; MEGTEC Systems, Inc., DePere; Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery, Inc., Sturtevant; Tailored Label Products, Inc., Menomonee Falls; TLX Technologies, LLC., Waukesha and Wagner Companies, Milwaukee.

* The financial and environmental benefits achieved as a result of participation in the Wisconsin Profitable Sustainability Initiative will be discussed by representatives of AFW Foundry, Inc., Lannon; Cardinal Insulated Glass, Spring Green and Edstrom Industries, Inc., Waterford.

* Eighteen break-out sessions focus on talent management, profitable sustainability, online marketing, business growth, financial analysis and forecasting, lean culture, finance, OSHA compliance, exporting and managing through transition.

* The midsize manufacturers of Germany’s Mittelstand region are an exporting powerhouse and offer valuable lessons for Wisconsin manufacturers. Ram V. Iyer, founder of The Midmarket Institute, will discuss how these mostly family-owned manufacturers have become super competitors, overcoming the challenges of an aging workforce, high labor costs and a tightly regulated labor market.

“We’ve designed this year’s conference to give manufacturers mission-critical knowledge, tools and tactics they can put to work immediately to improve competitiveness and achieve higher performance in talent management,” Swindall said.

Conference sponsors include: PNC Bank; Wisconsin Technical College System; Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce; Insight on Manufacturing; The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee; Bentley World-Packaging, Ltd.; Clifton Gunderson LLP; Guardian Business Solutions, Inc.; LogiServe® Inc. and joint venture partners Wisconsin Department of Commerce; BT Squared, Inc.; Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Rapid Prototyping Center and UW E-Business Institute.

WMEP is a private, nonprofit organization committed to the growth and success of Wisconsin manufacturers. Since 1998, WMEP has helped to create and save more than 13,000 state manufacturing jobs, according to results documented by customers. WMEP receives financial support from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce, and partners with many public and private organizations to serve Wisconsin manufacturers.

For more information or to register visit or call 1-877-856-8588.

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