Next Generation Manufacturing Event Spotlights Georgia Manufacturing Renaissance

Targeted innovation and growth can lead to a manufacturing renaissance in the state of Georgia – that was the message delivered to a sold-out industry-focused conference at the Georgia Institute of Technology recently.

Industry speakers at the Next Generation Manufacturing event, held Oct. 18 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) Conference Center, told attendees that manufacturing is thriving in Georgia and that the right strategies will continue to lead to growth in jobs, revenues and the state’s economic base. Among the companies leading the discussion were KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia, Lockheed Martin Corp., Shaw Industries Group Inc. and TOTO USA Inc.

“This conference brought together a strong mix of state manufacturing companies, industry-leading speakers, and local and national trade resources,” said Chris Downing, director of the Industry Services Division of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, which helped organize the event. “The paramount focus was on educating state manufacturers about the many resources available to them – and also the real-world benefits of taking advantage of these resources.”

The event’s speakers shared their Georgia growth stories with more than 250 attendees. Speakers included Lockheed Martin Corp’s Michael Joyce, senior vice president of operations and programs; TOTO USA’s Bill Strang, senior vice president of operations; Vance Bell, CEO of Shaw Industries, and Randy Jackson, vice president of human resources and administration for KIA Motors Manufacturing Georgia.

“Kia is very well positioned as we move into the next generation of manufacturing because of the lessons of continuous improvement and the one-system, one-team approach we teach through the Kia Way,” Jackson said. “As we move forward, we’re always looking to make tomorrow even better than today.”

Georgia Tech provided attendees with tours of three premier research centers: the Manufacturing Research Center (MaRC), the Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST) and the Food Processing Technology Division Center. Attendees were able to view first-hand many of the advanced manufacturing technologies and methodologies that Georgia Tech makes available to the state’s companies.

“Georgia has had a strong manufacturing presence for many decades,” said Downing, a mechanical engineer who leads an assistance program for companies throughout the state. “The conference helped attendees better understand how cutting-edge technologies and techniques are working for some of our most successful corporations, and how that knowledge can be applied to manufacturing enterprises across Georgia.”

Writer: Rick Robinson