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Inaugural women’s recognition event set for South Carolina Manufacturing Conference

Jason Thomas //October 12, 2023//

Inaugural women’s recognition event set for South Carolina Manufacturing Conference

Jason Thomas //October 12, 2023//

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Women making a difference in South Carolina’s manufacturing industry will be honored during the South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo in Greenville.

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 , 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 Ellen Grom, executive director, customer service 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.

To register for the South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo, click here.

The Manufacturing Mavens awards are part of a full slate of manufacturing industry-specific content planned for the conference.

Related content: Why South Carolina represents the future of manufacturing

A highlight of the conference is a keynote from Rodger Fuller, chief operating officer of Sonoco Products Co., a publicly traded global provider of packaging products based in Hartsville, and the only Fortune 500 company headquartered in South Carolina. Fuller is charged with driving an increased focus on centralization and standardization for the company’s largest integrated businesses.

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:

  • David Clayton, executive director, Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research;
  • Brad Neese, vice president for economic development, SC Technical College System; 
  • Rebecca Battle-Bryant, president, Battle Plan Consulting LLC; and
  • Mark Cecchini, associate dean of executive education, University of South Carolina 

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.

The conference will be capped by the annual SCMEP Salute to Manufacturing Awards Luncheon, in partnership with the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

The awards will honor manufacturers in five categories:

  • Emerging Manufacturer of the Year Award: This award is presented to one company that has been in operation for five or fewer years and has demonstrated superior performance.
  • Innovator of the Year Award: This award recognizes a company that has, through the innovation of new devices, ideas/inventions and/or processes, transformed their business and bettered the South Carolina manufacturing community.
  • Outreach Award: This award honors a manufacturer making a tangible and measurable impact on communities in South Carolina.
  • Transformational and Operational Excellence Award: This is awarded to a company that can demonstrate to the business community real world, bottom-line results achieved through the adoption of continuous improvement and/or operational excellence tools and techniques.
  • Chuck Spangler Outstanding Manufacturing Lifetime Service Award: This award recognizes an individual whose contributions have had a significant and lasting impact on the South Carolina manufacturing community over several years.