Months of planning, meetings, and conference calls culminated in a day and a half of useful information provided by world-class speakers from a broad spectrum of interests.
Feedback from this Conference has been outstanding, even with some last-minute changes in speakers, which was beyond our control. From the opening session, presented by Jim Glassman, Chief Economist for JPMorgan Chase Bank to the closing keynote, graciously filled by Department of Labor Secretary Derrick Ramsey when Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton was called away, the information was fresh, relevant and expertly delivered.
Day one began with a welcome by Kevin Atkins, Chief Development Officer for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer and House Speaker Jeff Hoover filled their time with an overview of the recent Legislative session, as well as what was on the horizon for the interim and the upcoming Budget session in 2018.
It was an honor to see our President & CEO, Greg Higdon, be presented with the Seven Seals Award by Brigadier General (Ret) Norman E. Arflack, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. This award is the broadest and most inclusive award given by the ESGR in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative, or support that promotes and supports the ESGR mission, to include the efforts of the more than 4,500 volunteers who carry out ESGR’s mission across the nation daily. As a Vietnam veteran, Greg knows the importance of supporting not only our returning service men and women, but also those who have committed to the National Guard as they perform their yearly training and service. We are very proud to work with Greg and happy to see him receive this special award, although he had a different response: “This is a very special award, but it doesn’t just go to me,” Greg said after the award presentation. “This has been an organizational effort, by the entire KAM team, and I was honored to accept it on KAM’s behalf.”
We had a fantastic Trade Show, with more than 35 exhibitors, and frequent breaks gave all attendees ample opportunity to see what services/products were offered and network with others.
A panel discussion regarding workforce and apprenticeship development kept things lively with comments by representatives from both the Department of Education and the Department of Labor, moderated by a major Kentucky manufacturer, Toyotetsu America, Inc.
After a hearty KY PROUD lunch, the conference reconvened for the afternoon keynote. Much to our disappointment, US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was kept in DC on important business and was not able to address our attendees as planned. We were fortunate to have Charles Snavely, Secretary of the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, and Dr. Rodney Andrews, Director of the UK Center for Applied Energy Research, take the stage and relate their perspectives on the current energy and regulatory climate in both Kentucky and the US.
The afternoon panel discussed the energy pipeline issue, with representatives from Direct Energy, Wacker Chemical Corporation, and Marathon Petroleum Company, moderated by Lissa McCracken, Executive Director of the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center. Audience questions were answered superbly by this panel, who knew their subject matter well.
The first day of our Conference ended with a closing keynote from Terry Gill, Secretary of the KY Cabinet for Economic Development. Terry was a dynamic speaker, with a diverse background and a drive for economic development in Kentucky. As a strong proponent of the Governor’s Red Tape Initiative, he works tirelessly to ensure that Kentucky’s business climate works for, rather than against, new growth and expansion.
Our second day of conference began with breakfast and more trade show networking opportunities, followed by a welcome from KAM President & CEO Greg Higdon.
Our morning keynote was an overwhelming success, according to all feedback received at the event and from our event survey. Nick Pinchuk, Chairman and CEO of Snap-on Incorporated, infused the early morning crowd with his enthusiasm for manufacturing, company and country. With a diverse background in manufacturing, this Vietnam veteran and Harvard M.B.A. absolutely owned the stage during his address to conference attendees.
Following Mr. Pinchuk’s address, we shifted gears to the subject of Cyber Security Management and Governance. Although a topic that is not typically exciting, the team from MCM CPAs and Advisors did their best to share important information related to security issues faced by manufacturing clients.
The next panel discussion brought together experts from three major companies, GE Appliances, Ford Motor Company and UPS, to discuss real-time cases and lessons learned in cyber security issues and management.
After another Trade Show break, we were treated to an exposition about the Internet of Things (IoT) in Robotics, by an expert in the field, Mr. Joe Gazzarato. We heard several of our manufacturing members say, “If you use robotics in your manufacturing process, you know FANUC.” Joe did an excellent job of bringing the audience up to speed on what is happening now in the field of robotics in manufacturing.
When Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton was unavoidably called away at the last minute, Secretary Derrick Ramsey, Kentucky Labor Cabinet, willingly stepped in and not only gave a fantastic closing address, but also helped us recognize two Kentucky schools who were 2017 MakerMinded competition award winners. We congratulate Trigg County High School, Cadiz, KY, and Turkey Foot Middle School, Edgewood, KY.
We closed our conference with thanks to our sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and most importantly, our attendees, for whom we work diligently to make every event relevant and useful. After several door prize awards, this conference was adjourned, until next time . . .