MFGCON The NC Manufacturing Conference. Powered by NCMEP and Business North Carolina

Operational Excellence

From creating an efficient supply chain to assessing cost-effectiveness, staying ahead of the curve with technological changes and the competitive landscape is essential. Manufacturing operations encompass a variety of activities including designing, organizing, planning and controlling the production process. Many industries rely heavily on their manufacturing operations to produce products that meet customer demand. Our “Operations” track offers relevant sessions that give them first-hand insight and guidance in handling the sophisticated operations challenges of today.

Workforce and Leadership Excellence 

Operational Excellence

Technology, Innovation and Strategic Growth

Day 1 Track Sessions

10:45-11:45 AM

Manufacturers Panel Discussion: Thriving During Challenging Times 
Sponsored by Bank of America

Thriving During Challenging Times is a panel discussion of how five small manufacturers from the Piedmont Triad, the Triangle and Wilmington areas have diversified their capabilities through technology and innovation to meet the challenges of supply chain disruptions, finding a skilled workforce, implementing automation and making tough decisions on capital investments in new equipment to be able to thrive in today’s economy.

Norbert Kozar – Precision Swiss Products East
Melissa Kozar – Precision Swiss Products East
Luke Taylor – Omni Mold & Die
Mitch Day – Dayco Manufacturing
Dean Harmon – Empire Machine and Fabrication
Allan Swicegood – American Machining Solutions (Moderator)

Norbert Kozar has 37+ years of manufacturing experience. Innovation has been the hallmark of his career. He started as a machinist/programmer before moving into management. Research and Development have been key to his success at every stop. He strives to be on the cutting edge and to drive his companies to push the envelope. This getting ahead of the market is a philosophy that drives Norbert to keep his companies on the leading edge of manufacturing. Norbert is the CEO of Precision Swiss Products. They recently opened a 50,000 sq ft facility in Leland, NC, employing 40 people.

Melissa Kozar is the Executive Vice President of Precision Swiss Products and, most recently, the CEO of Hammond Enterprises. With almost twenty years of high-tech manufacturing business experience, she helped spearhead incredible company growth to be awarded Fastest Growing Company by INC Magazine for two consecutive years. With a bachelor’s degree in international business management and Asian studies, she lives to share her values of being positive, clever, and tenacious. She is an evangelist for open-book management, strategic operational stability, and lean American manufacturing. As a former professional ballroom competitor, Melissa enjoys salsa dancing, practicing terrain-based holistic nutrition, and indulging in the world of gastronomy.

Luke Taylor owns Omni Mold & Die, a machine shop based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with 40+ years of experience in high-precision machining. Luke primarily focuses on serving Omni’s diverse manufacturing customers and his incredible team of toolmakers and support staff. Before becoming an entrepreneur through acquisition, Luke worked in financial services at PIMCO in Newport Beach, CA and as the Director of Acquisitions at Safe Harbor Marinas in Dallas, TX. Luke graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, where he played wide receiver on the football team. He also graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Luke has been married for 9 years. He and his wife reside in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with their 2-year-old son and are expecting another baby boy in May.

Mitch Day is the president of Dayco Manufacturing, a machine manufacturing company in Johnston county. In 1990 Mitch began his machining career working for his father who started his business in 1979. He worked with him for 17 years until 2007. At that time, he had an opportunity to move to North Carolina so I bought the company from my father and he retired. He kept the MI facility running and opened a small shop in Clayton, NC which grew into our headquarters. He prides himself in Dayco’s strong customer base and a reputation for quality products.

Dean Harmon owns Empire Machine and Fabrication in Clayton, North Carolina. He has worked and been in management in manufacturing facilities for the last twenty-six years. In 2012, Dean opened Empire Machine. Empire Machine is a small full capability machine shop. He has also worked with other machining companies to help them streamline their production needs. In the future Dean aspires to continue his value-based production with a high expectation of quality and quick turn times. When he is not working, he enjoys the three f’s of life; family, fishing and fun.

Allan Swicegood has been a part of North Carolina’s manufacturing community for over 37 years. He now serves as President of American Machining Solutions where he continues to grow his love of manufacturing and a strong desire to help others in our industry succeed (Moderator)

1:45-2:45 PM

An Introduction to Predictive Maintenance in the Age of Automation

Barry Global, a manufacturer from Mooresville, NC, will share how to reduce downtime by 50% by implementing a predictive maintenance program. A continuous monitoring program allows you to predict and remediate future component failures with real-time insight from sensors observing variables such as vibration, oil, currents and temperature.

Andrew Pearl – VP of Reliability, EMCO Industrial
Brandon Moses – Lead Reliabilty Engineer, Berry Global

Andrew Pearl is the Vice President of Reliability at EMCO. Andrew has spent 15 years in manufacturing, working with plants to retrofit and upgrade existing machinery to improve production and reliability. He has spent the last 3 years developing and bringing to market ‘Machine Boss’ – a holistic wireless IoT solution that can monitor every imaginable critical variable to predict and mitigate machine failures.

Brandon Moses is the Lead Reliability Engineer for Berry Global. Brandon is an accomplished reliability engineer with over 13 years of professional experience in the automotive, manufacturing and quality control industries. Brandon’s career experience includes direct management of critical plant operations for multiple Fortune 500 companies. Demonstrated success in identifying and implementing process improvements using Lean Six Sigma and 5S methodologies.

3:00-4:00 PM

The Power of Resilience: Managing Change in Manufacturing & the Impact on Employee Engagement

Katrina Thompson – Chief People Officer, FORVIS
Jeff Outten – Chief Change Officer, FORVIS,
Other Speaker TBA

Katrina Thompson is the Chief People Officer (CPO) for FORVIS. She has more than 25 years of experience in human resources (HR) and has been with the firm for more than 20 years, serving in various roles. As CPO, she leads a dynamic group of HR professionals to drive and support FORVIS’ people strategy, systems, and processes in alignment with the firm’s strategy. As a strategic partner, she provides HR leadership. She ensures excellence across the firm for all HR programs and practices, emphasizing talent experience, performance development, inclusion and diversity, compensation and benefits, workforce and succession planning, talent acquisition, well-being and employee relations. Katrina’s passion is people, and she loves whole-person, strength-based coaching and development and serving as a trusted advisor. She is a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and an SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Jeff Outten joined FORVIS in January 2018 as the director of change management. Jeff leads the Change Hub, which aims to coordinate, support and enable significant change initiatives within the firm in a way that accelerates and improves change efforts and enhances collaboration throughout the firm. Before joining FORVIS, he was the president of an independent consulting firm, The Outten Group, Inc. His firm worked primarily with Fortune 500 companies in strategic planning, change management, leadership development and executive coaching. His experience includes banking, resort management, consumer goods, and high-tech companies. Jeff has had a long-standing relationship with our firm serving in a consulting capacity for more than 15 years. Jeff is a Hampden-Sydney College, Virginia graduate with a B.S. degree in history.

Other Speaker TBA

Day 2 Track Sessions

9:00-10:00 AM

NCSU-IES Student Projects and Timer Pro Multifaceted utilization in process documentation and improvement

NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and Betco presenters will discuss the success experienced through collaboration between University and Industry with IES as the connective mediator.

Haleh Byrne – Product Lead – Industrial Engineering, Systems and Student Projects
Kami Baggett – Regional Manager
Nick Cornett – Operations Director, Betco Inc

Haleh Byrne is the product lead for industrial engineering and student projects at NC State’s Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). She leads a wide spectrum of industrial engineering services and projects. She engages NC State University students as part of her project teams in productivity and quality improvements, costing, facilities layout, process and training documentation, ergonomics assessments and scheduling, and client-customized projects. She also provides Lean, statistical process control, measurement systems analysis and work measurement training in conjunction with Timer Pro (video analysis software) workshops and related implementation events. Haleh manages student projects which provide services for clients. With over 100 projects involving 500+ students in the past decade, clients have reported substantial impacts in flexible duration and diverse engineering disciplines. Haleh has over 20 years of experience as an industrial/product/quality engineer in multiple industries. She worked at Flextronics in Youngsville as a product engineer. Her prior work history includes being an industrial engineer at the U.S. Postal Service in Los Angeles, an industrial/quality engineer at General Motors, an industrial engineer at Monsanto Electronic Materials in St. Louis and an industrial/quality engineer at Buehler Products in Cary. Haleh obtained her B.S. in industrial engineering from NC State. She is an ASQ-certified quality engineer and is SME bronze Lean certified. She also has extensive training and experience in statistical engineering and project management. Haleh is currently the IIE Raleigh Chapter President and Lean Division Board Director at the Institute of Industrial Engineers. She served as education chair for ASQ Raleigh Chapter from 2009-2012 and has presented at many professional conferences.

Kami Baggett is a regional manager at NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) for part of the Triad region, including Alleghany, Ashe, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Rockingham, Rowan, Surry, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin counties. Kami works with companies, businesses, community colleges, local economic developers, workforce development boards and local government to promote economic development, growth, and process efficiencies in the region’s industries and service sectors. She has educated many companies and businesses on the various resources and educational programs available to them. By building relationships with local businesses and organizations, Kami strives to ensure all resources are available and working cohesively to help build stronger, more competitive businesses. Kami has assisted many companies to begin and strengthen their journeys towards ISO 9001, AS 9100, IATF 16949, ISO 13485 and ISO 14001 certification; implementing continuous improvement programs; building their business around the Baldrige or Shingo program; maintaining safety standards; adhering to OSHA required standards; and also grow their business. As a result of these services, these companies earn their Quality Management System certificate, become more competitive, provide transferable skills to their workforce, sustain current business and earn new business due to their commitment to improving their business processes and future. Kami has 25 years of industry experience in the public and private sectors as a technical program auditor, industrial engineer, ISO auditor, materials buyer, and Regional Manager for IES. She served as a Regional Manager in the Research Triangle region for eight years and now works with companies in the Triad Region where she is originally from. She has experience in lean enterprise, Lean Six Sigma, auditing, cost estimating, workstation design and layout, purchasing, inventory management, machining, sheet metal fabrication, CNC programming/nesting, rate-setting, time studies, and program management. The early part of her career was spent in manufacturing with Sanmina-SCI and Thomasville Furniture Industries. Before joining IES, Kami was an auditor for the NC Office of the State Auditor in the Performance Division, charged with analyzing and evaluating the processes of state departments and agencies. Kami has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering (1997) from NC State University and an MBA (2002) from UNC-Greensboro.

Nick Cornett is Vice President of Operations for BETCO. Nick has over 16 years’ experience in the self-storage industry and currently serves as the VP of Operations at BETCO, Inc. Operations include manufacturing, procurement, and construction of light gauge steel buildings, with an estimated 350 projects erected each year. BETCO has built in every state and abroad over the nearly 40 years since inception. He oversees a 13-acre campus, operating within an 8 building/250,000 S.F. footprint and running three shifts with nearly 200 employees. The BETCO team has led the company to significant growth and is currently the largest operating unit within the Janus International family of companies, which went public in 2021. After starting at BETCO as an Industrial Engineer in 2006, Nick progressed through the production ranks holding positions of CNC Programmer, Plant Manager and General Manager. As VP of Operations he is a part of the Senior Management Team and responsibilities include setting and execution of short and long-term strategies for continuous improvement and growth. Nick graduated from Appalachian State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Industrial Drafting and Design and minor in Business.

10:30-11:30 AM

Online Supplier Opportunities for North Carolina Manufacturers

Presenters from NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions, Military Business Center and Wilson College of Textiles will go through the tools and programs available to help manufacturers find products or respond to opportunities domestically, current information on the state of the supply chain both domestically and within the state and organizations that can help manufacturers connect with supplier opportunities.

KeAnne Hoeg – Director of Data Management, Marketing and Reporting, NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions
Melissa Sharp – NC State University Wilson College of Textiles
Tim Malone – Data Management & Programming Technician, NC Military Business Center
Other Speakers TBA

KeAnne Hoeg is the director of data management systems, marketing and reporting at NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). She describes her job as “playing with data.” Her data and reporting group manages required reporting to stakeholders, several internal applications, including the Salesforce CRM system, the Manufactured in North Carolina supply chain website, reporting development, and data analysis and visualization. KeAnne also oversees marketing for the organization, with her marketing team responsible for multiple websites, branding, market research, collateral development, writing, podcasting, social media and video production. Before moving into this position at IES, she worked in IT and marketing as a web developer and social media manager. KeAnne has a B.A. in English from Meredith College and an MLS in library science from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Melissa Sharp – NC State University Wilson College of Textiles

Tim Malone joined the North Carolina Military Business Center in June 2016 as a Business Development Administrative Assistant / Software Programmer. As a Business Development Administrative Assistant, Tim assists in processing current contract opportunities, maintaining the NCMBC database of companies, and coordinating events for the Military Business Center. Along with administrative tasks, Tim develops automated solutions, analyzes database entries, and maintains NCMBC systems. Tim is experienced in the following programming languages: C#, Visual Basic, JavaScript, Python, and HTML/CSS. Before joining the North Carolina Military Business Center team, Tim studied Computer Science at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC and Windward Community College in Kaneohe, HI. He also has been a part of award-winning teams such as XQ Super Schools and ED Tech Team Hawaii. Tim has previously worked on automating systems for the manufacturing and education industries and teaching Technology and Computer Science.

Other Speakers TBA