MFGCON21 logo

Technology, Innovation and Strategic Growth

Best practices related to new technologies and innovations, market expansion, distribution and new product development.

Workforce Excellence

Leadership and Culture

Operational Excellence

Technology, Innovation and Strategic Growth

Day 1 Track Sessions

10:45–11:45 a.m.

The Journey from NASCAR to Aerospace and Defense- Overcoming the Barriers of Entry in a New Market

Bob Ucman, Director of Business Development, Rousch Yates Manufacturing Solutions

RoushYates Racing Engines has a rich history in the racing industry as a premier race engine builder. This presentation explains our journey from a culture of building race engine parts to becoming a value-added supplier of parts and sub-assemblies to the Aerospace and Defense Industries. We will explain how we identified the barriers of entry into a mature market and how we overcame those challenges. Our focus of becoming process-driven in everything we do to meet our customers’ expectations. How we created a business development strategy to identify the type of customer and scope of work to address the needs of our customer base and how we communicated our story to potential customers. Finally how we created a cultural change from our focus of racing on Sunday to supporting the efforts of the United States Defense Industry. Our story is one of leadership, vision, persistence, agility and curiosity.

  • Identifying and overcoming the barriers of entry in a new market.
  • Becoming process-driven to meet customer expectations.
  • Creating a business development strategy in a new market.
  • Creating a cultural change. Leadership from the top down.
Bob Ucman is the Director of Business Development at Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions with over 28 years of manufacturing experience. He previously served as Division Manager for Stealth Engineering, Aerospace Business Development Manager for a division of Stanley Black and Decker, and VP of Manufacturing for RoushYates Manufacturing Solution. Bob graduated from Valparaiso University and did graduate work at Michigan State University. He lives in Colorado Springs Colorado and works remotely supporting the business development efforts for Roush Yates Manufacturing Solutions in Mooresville, NC.
1:45–2:45 p.m.

Protect Your Company and Supply Chain from Cybersecurity Threats

Jeff Hillison, Cost Accountant and Network Administrator, Electro Switch Corporation
Myriam Batista, Chief Information and Security Officer, Reef Systems,

Manufacturers need to be aware of the latest cybersecurity threats and how supply chains are being targeted by cybercriminals looking to expose the typical weakest links: the small manufacturer. Join us for a Cybersecurity Panel to discuss defenses, most commonly identified security gaps, and best practices, including CMMC preparedness, you can implement now to secure your company and supply chain. Jeff Hillison, Cost Accountant and Network Administrator at Electro Switch Corporation, will share lessons learned as their Cybersecurity taskforce completed a CMMC level 3 gap assessment. Electro Switch Power Switches and Relays offers “a complete line of switches, relays, power meters and battery monitors for the defense, industrial and electric power industries.” Myriam Batista, Chief Information and Security Officer at Reef Systems, will share an overview of cyberthreats, gaps, and best practices for manufacturers. Reef Systems is a CMMC-AB Cleared Candidate C3PAO and a Registered Provider Organization, and has the following certifications:  The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval,  ISO 9001 Quality Management  System, ISO 27001 Information Security Management System. Join the conversation to learn how to better prepare against cyber threats.

3:00–4:00 p.m.

Reach Global Markets with EDPNC

Liz Isley, Director of NC Furniture Export Office, EDPNC and Other Speaker TBA

Over 95% of the world’s population and 80% of the world’s buying power lies outside the United States. That means if you want to take your business to the next level, then exporting needs to be a key part of your plan. EDPNC is dedicated to helping North Carolina manufacturers–large and small–enter global markets. Each year, hundreds of North Carolina businesses turn to EDPNC for help with navigating trade agreements and language barriers, attending trade shows, filing the right paperwork and more. Join EDPNC’s International Trade team and NC manufacturers to learn how these services and grant opportunities can help your business.

Liz Isley works in the International Trade Division at EDPNC as a Senior International Trade Manager for the Furniture, Lumber, Agribusiness, Boating/Marine industries. Before becoming an International Trade Manager, she was the Program Director and Partner Relations Manager for Global Business Services at EDPNC where she designed and developed programs to support exporting initiatives of NC based companies. Prior to EDPNC, she was the Export Program Manager of the International Trade Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce. She has held executive level positions with Radford University and was a HUD Fellow in Economic Development at East Carolina University where she received her master’s degree. She currently represents EDPNC in domestic and international events as well as on various boards and committees including the Appalachian Regional Commission’s Export Trade Advisory Council & the High Point Market Authority Board of Directors.

Day 2 Track Sessions

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Achieving Strategic Growth Through Economic Gardening

John C. Loyack, Vice President, Global Business Services, EDPNC and Other Speaker TBA

EDPNC is pleased to introduce a new economic development resource for NC manufacturers called Economic Gardening. Economic Gardening is a program that focuses on strategic growth challenges faced by manufacturers, such as developing new markets, refining business models and gaining access to competitive intelligence. Join the EDPNC team to learn how this program can provide market research, competitor intelligence, industry trend work, search engine optimization and more.

John Loyack is the Vice President of Global Business Services for the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. In this role, John leads the department composed of the EDPNC regional offices, the International Trade Division and the small business counseling team known as Business Link North Carolina. This team supports North Carolina businesses in everything from starting up a new enterprise to expanding an existing business to the development of export strategies aimed at increasing international sales. Prior to joining EDPNC, John worked in new product development for NC-born companies like MercuryMD. John has over twenty years of successful experience in the areas of global product development, export strategy, competitive intelligence, and strategic planning. In addition to his experience with the EDPNC, John has gained technical expertise and business acumen as a contributor and leader in organizations like Thomson Reuters, Time Warner, United States Surgical and Esteve Laboratories. John earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Spanish from Gettysburg College and holds an MBA in International Business Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.
10:30–11:30 a.m.

Robotics 101

Bill Iacovelli, Lean Improvement Specialist, NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES)
Chris Koontz, Lean Improvement Specialist, NC State IES
Dominick Stephenson, Assistant Director, Research Development and Evaluation, NC State IES

We will be presenting a short overview of robotics in manufacturing (why and how). This will include robot vs. “cobot” comparisons, identifying opportunities to integrate into your manufacturing system, and how MEP resources can help. Then, we will demonstrate IES’ Universal Robot with a hands-on demonstration on how it can be used with end effectors and a wrist camera. Finally, there will be Q&A time with either a manufacturer’s representative or a system integrator’s representative (to be determined). We want to show that current robots (especially collaborative robots) can be affordable and technologically accessible, and support the workforce, not replace it.

Bill Iacovelli, is an extension specialist with NC State’s Industry Expansion Solutions (IES). Based out of the IES Concord office, he works state-wide to help manufacturers, businesses, health care systems and public health departments make improvements through Lean and Six Sigma thinking and methodology. Bill assists organizations in developing systematic, long-term Lean implementation and leadership programs. He also trains and develops Lean Six Sigma Green Belts. In twelve years, relative to his project work with them, Bill’s clients (by way of third-party survey) have reported to NIST over $74M in economic impact and over 500 jobs retained or created. Before joining IES, Bill worked for Eastman Kodak Company in technical and supervisory roles in manufacturing and research and development. He was also a Lean implementer, trainer and coach in manufacturing, utilizing leadership coaching, Kaizen and other Lean tools. Bill holds a B.S. in industrial engineering and operations research from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and an MBA (concentrating on manufacturing management and quality management) from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Bill serves on the Association for Manufacturing Excellence (AME) southeastern region board, Jay M. Robinson High School’s engineering and automation academy’s advisory board and is a member of NC State’s academy of outstanding faculty engaged in extension and engagement.

Chris Koontz is an IES Lean improvement specialist based out of the Greensboro, NC office. His focus is on assisting small to medium manufacturers with their lean transformation by teaching lean tools, mentoring staff and facilitating on-site improvement events. Chris has over 20 years of experience in continuous improvement and quality assurance in various manufacturing industries. In recent years, Chris held quality management, operations and continuous improvement roles within the aerospace industry. In his most recent assignment, he served as a subject matter expert for Toyota Kata and leveraged this methodology to greatly reduce operational takt times, optimize material flow, implement rapid change-overs and eliminate production errors. Chris holds a B.S. from NC State University and an MBA with an operations management concentration from Regis University. Additionally, Chris obtained his Six Sigma Black Belt in 2001 and AS9100 auditor certification in 2013.

Dominick Stephenson is the assistant director, research development and evaluation for North Carolina State’s Industry Expansion Solutions. Dominick is responsible for managing grant and program evaluation projects throughout the lifecycle including client engagement, evaluation design, data collection and analysis, instrument design and report writing. His current work focuses on workforce development, community college and STEM programs and it crosses over local, state and federal agencies. Dominick also has a background in strategic planning and supports grant writing for IES and NCMEP’s strategic initiatives. Dominick is a graduate of East Carolina University with an M.A.Ed. in adult education and a B.S.B.A. in management information systems.

Travis Langford, Channel Sales Manager, Universal Robots With 5 years in the field, Travis Langford is eager to help realize the promise of collaborative robotics and bring attention to Universal Robots in brand new areas of automation. He brings 7 years of sales experience and increasing leadership responsibilities, including positions with Keyence, Lockheed Martin in addition to 12 years of leadership experience as a combined United States Air Force active duty and Air National Guard officer. Travis currently manages the Southeastern distributor sales channel for Universal Robots in the U.S.