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Leadership and Culture

Insight as it relates to personal leadership development and career growth.

Workforce Excellence

Leadership and Culture

Operational Excellence

Technology, Innovation and Strategic Growth

Day 1 Track Sessions

10:45–11:45 a.m.

Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast: Building a Winning Culture with Your Team

Scott Kyles, Lead Content Specialist & Client Relationship Manager, Cibirix Digital Marketing
Jay Lara, COO, Carport Central and the American Building Network

“The employees must love the company before the customers ever will.” – Simon Sinek

Your company already has a culture; the question is, what kind of culture is it? There are some simple things you can do to be more intentional about creating and sustaining a more positive culture for your team. Doing so will positively impact the customer experience you’re able to provide, and will ultimately benefit your business.

In this session, we’ll explore why culture matters, and why choosing to create short, impactful, culture-focused huddles for your team is one of the best things you can do as a business leader. We’ll give a little background around WHY we started doing CULTURE MINUTES ourselves, and then we’ll show you some things we’ve done with our own team to instill a more positive culture and attitude. We’ll look at some examples of topics you might cover (including customer service, leadership, communication, & more), and then we’ll actually take part in a CULTURE MINUTE or two which you can take back and facilitate with your own team.

This session will be informative, interactive, practical, and FUN! Ain’t nobody got time for boring!

Learning Objectives: (Upon completion of this presentation, the attendee will be able to…)

  • Understand why culture really matters for business success.
  • Be more proactive about modeling the kind of culture you want your team to reflect.
  • Conduct some proactive team huddles for the purpose of growing your organizational culture.
  • Gain some examples of practical Culture Minutes you can take back and use with your own team.

Course Outline:

  • What is culture, and why is having the right culture crucial for the sustainable success of your business?
  • What can you do to help lead and model the right culture for your team?
  • How can you create and facilitate short, impactful, culture-focused huddles for your team?
  • We’ll finish by walking through and debriefing a Culture Minute or two that you can take back and use with your own team.
  • With whatever time remains in the 60-minute session, we can also do a bonus Q&A about successful tips for marketing your manufacturing business online, including social media tips!

Session Takeaways:

  • Culture matters. Learn about why having a healthy organizational culture is CRUCIAL to the sustainable success of your business.
  • Leaders lead. The winning culture you seek to create won’t happen unless you and your other leaders are intentional & consistent about modeling it to your employees.
  • Regular team huddles can help. Boost employee engagement through short, focused touchbases (CULTURE MINUTES), along with other team morale builders.
    • We’ll also walk through and debrief a CULTURE MINUTE or two that you can take back and use with your own team!

Scott Kyles is the Lead Content Specialist & Client Relationship Manager for Cibirix Digital Marketing in Mount Airy. Cibirix partners with companies across NC and around the world to help them attract more leads, engage more customers, and GROW their businesses. We’ve helped metal building manufacturers, metal building dealers, commercial playground providers, roofing contractors, home exterior service providers, business technology providers, and more – and we can help your B2B or B2C business, too! 

Scott has earned both APTD & CCXP certifications and holds both bachelor’s & master’s degrees from Wake Forest University. He brings decades of experience in producing engaging content, marketing, branding, training, coaching, customer experience, employee engagement, and building healthy cultures. Scott is a fan of hot sauces, is something of a weather nerd, and is better-than-average at ping pong. He lives in West Toast with his wife, two children, a dog, a chinchilla, and a bearded dragon.

Jay Lara is COO for both Carport Central and the American Building Network, both headquartered in Mount Airy. He has over 20 years of experience in the light gauge steel building & metal roofing industries and has been involved in every facet of the business, from engineering & design, to fabrication, to installation, to marketing, to business innovation & leadership. One of Jay’s current passions is helping both manufacturers and service providers bridge the gap from B2B to B2C. Jay lives in Mount Airy, NC, likes to travel, and enjoys driving a Tesla.

1:45–2:45 p.m.

Inclusion and Diversity in Manufacturing

3:00–4:00 p.m.

What Does Resiliency Look Like in Your Supply Chain? Lessons Learned from COVID

Eric Henry, CEO and Founder of TS Designs,
Neal McTighe, Center Director, SBTDC,
Owen George, International Business Development Counselor, SBTDC

Manufacturers have experienced unprecedented strains in their supply chains because of the global COVID pandemic of 2020-21. Exactly how much of the negative impact could have been avoided had our supply chains been shortened, streamlined, and strengthened? Eric Henry, CEO and Founder of TS Designs, joins the NC SBTDC on stage to discuss how, as a tee shirt manufacturer in North Carolina, his “dirt to shirt” supply chain allowed for just that sort of resiliency throughout COVID, and beyond. While not a silver bullet, TS Designs had significant control over its supply chain during the pandemic, beginning in the dirt at the farm all the way through the finished product in the customers hands. At the same time TS Designs was leveraging its strengths, countless manufacturers world-wide suffered as they in contrast had little to no connection with their primary suppliers, no contracts in place to ensure product delivery or supply, and an over-dependence on the complex web of commodities and logistics, themselves pressured and suffering. While supply isn’t guaranteed to be born in your backyard, it’s worth looking at the ways companies can bring more tasks in house, strengthen contracts/relationships with suppliers, and find the paths of least resistance in order to hedge against the next natural or health disaster.

Day 2 Track Sessions

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Answering the “Why” First- Our Journey to Changing Company Culture and Performance

Tony Smith, Senior Director of Operations, Automated Solutions
Kathryn Brant, Senior HR Partner, Performentor 

Automated Solutions LLC is a privately held diversified manufacturing company with product lines primarily in the packaging industry. This family-owned business brought on a new CEO in October of 2018 to implement a growth strategy and instill a culture change which viewed all employees as business people empowered with leadership skills. The business was having people, operational and safety challenges. The new CEO began a continuous improvement initiative to help employees understand the “why” behind their work and broaden the educational case to spread leadership across all teams. Automated Solutions engaged with Performentor to develop this initiative. Performentor is a fractional HR services firm that provides organizational expertise and people practices support to businesses. Automated Solutions put 18 out of 72 employees through a University of Buffalo mini MBA program. This education development has allowed employees to chair or serve on various committees for continuous improvement using a balanced scorecard to measure performance and set strategy. Other results include product waste reduction, a two-fold increase in machine throughput, an active cross-training program, and an ISO system that is helping improve the business.

*How to teach employees to become smart businesspeople
*How to empower employees to demonstrate leadership
*How to change a company culture to produce positive results
*How to help employees at all levels understand “the why” behind their work

Kathryn Brant is a level-headed people-strategy innovator who focuses on helping small to mid-sized businesses grow their people practices in a sustainable way. Her expertise spans an impressive track record in recruitment, development and employee relations for the tech sector—start-ups through the world’s leading technology advisory firm. She has supported completely remote national teams where all engagement and interaction was online. Kathryn managed Gartner’s Sales and Marketing recruitment programs. For the past 5 years, Kathryn has focused on helping North Carolina-based businesses scale their business, foster a culture of accountability and innovation. She believes strongly in the need to listen and communicate to motivate a diverse workforce.

Tony Smith-Tony has worked in the manufacturing operations field for over 30 years. His experience has been focused on plastic extrusion within the flexible packaging industry where he has overseen multiple manufacturing locations, implemented company-wide continuous improvement programs, managed cross-functional teams to achieve business goals and led many lean manufacturing initiatives. He joined the Automated Solutions team in June of 2020 and has been focusing on implementing meaningful KPI’s to help direct continuous improvement efforts to areas where they can have the greatest impact.

10:30–11:30 a.m.

Onsite Employee Direct Care

Dr. William Satterwhite, Chief Wellness Officer,Wake Forest Baptist Health
Bradley Teague, Plant Manager, Egger Wood Processing
Leslie Ward, RN/Certified Nurse Health Coach, Wake Forest Baptist Health

This session will present and discuss onsite direct care for employees. Panelists will discuss how it has been beneficial as a recruiting and retention tool, how it got them through COVID with a well and working workforce in a start-up company, decreased absenteeism, how we engage employees and more.