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Automotive executive highlights South Carolina Manufacturing Conference session

Jason Thomas //October 27, 2023//

Automotive executive highlights South Carolina Manufacturing Conference session

Jason Thomas //October 27, 2023//

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An executive in the automotive and defense industry with a specialty in electric vehicles and a global commerce expert will headline a content session on innovation and sustainability at the upcoming South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo.

Don Bent, chief operating officer at Oshkosh Defense, and Jon Baggett, deputy director of global business for the South Carolina Department of Commerce, will interact with conference participants Thursday afternoon of the two-day conference.

The two will be joined by Noel Deferm, general manager of the recently opened Hammer-IMS facility in Duncan, which is the company’s first U.S. location.

The session will focus on innovation and how emerging technologies have created a new era of sustainability and workforce efficiency.

Oshkosh recently unveiled its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, which was manufactured at its Spartanburg assembly facility. While a test vehicle, the unveiling shows that the plant is ready to produce both fuel-efficient internal combustion engine trucks and battery electric trucks on the same line, Bent wrote on a LinkedIn post, creating efficiencies.

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“Don is an innovative thinker who is creating lean production lines while embracing technology,” said Jason Thomas, executive editor of SC Biz News, which hosts the annual conference at the Greenville Convention Center. “Those attending Thursday’s session are sure to come away with new ideas that can be applied to their own workplaces to maximize production and create efficiencies.”

The decision to establish operations in Spartanburg County reflects Hammer-IMS’ strategic vision and commitment to growth on a global scale. With plans to scale-up operations in the U.S., Hammer-IMS aims to become a global leader in the measuring and machine-vision solutions industry.

Bent, Baggett and Deferm will be joined by executives from Sustain SC and the SC Council on Competitiveness to round out the discussion.

The annual South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo will be held Nov. 9-10, featuring nearly 200 exhibitors and a full slate of content geared toward The Palmetto State’s $200 billion manufacturing industry. Click here to register.

A full slate of content is planned for the expo

The innovation and sustainability session is part of a full slate of manufacturing industry-specific content planned for the conference.

Rodger Fuller, chief operating officer of Sonoco Products Co., headquartered in Hartsville, will give a keynote during the Salute to Manufacturing Awards luncheon event, on Friday, Nov. 10, at The Greenville Convention Center.

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The Salute to Manufacturing Awards, in partnership with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership, honors 18 industry difference-makers, including the Chuck Spangler Outstanding Manufacturing Lifetime Service Award.

In addition, the inaugural Manufacturing Mavens awards will recognize 10 women making an impact in the manufacturing sector and in the community in The Palmetto State. Honorees will be revealed during the luncheon event.

The luncheon event, to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Greenville Convention Center, 1 Exposition Drive, Greenville, will also feature an all-female panel discussion moderated by Catherine Hayes, industry manager for the South Carolina Research Authority.

Panelists include:

  • Mary Elen Grom, executive director, customer experience solutions, AFL;
  • Nicki Creech, leadership and transformation specialist, BMW Group;
  • Elba Lizardi, Site director, BASF’s Environmental Catalyst and Metal Solutions;
  • Leslie Farmer, program integrator, Lockheed Martin; and
  • Annekathrin Mueller, vice president, commercial plant manager, Charleston, Bosch in North America.

A Thursday morning panel discussion will tackle closing the skills gap and offer insights on how manufacturers can upskill their workforce and how to hire new team members to match the demand for skilled positions.

Panelists include:

A Friday morning panel discussion will offer solutions for manufacturers seeking to innovate through digital transformation and include real-world insight on how to evolve in the ever-changing technology landscape gripping the manufacturing industry.

Panelists include:

  • Tim Hayden, CEO, Sargent Metal;
  • Ramy Harik, professor of mechanical engineering, University of South Carolina;
  • Grant Phillips, president, REI Automation; and
  • Toby Stansell, CEO, Cargo.