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Keynote announced for South Carolina Manufacturing Conference

Jason Thomas //October 18, 2023//

Keynote announced for South Carolina Manufacturing Conference

Jason Thomas //October 18, 2023//

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A top executive with a global Fortune 500 manufacturing company based in South Carolina will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming South Carolina Manufacturing Conference and Expo.

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

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 for the event.

As chief operating officer for Sonoco, Fuller is charged with driving an increased focus on centralization and standardization for the company’s largest integrated businesses. With net sales of approximately $7.3 billion in 2022, the company, founded in 1899, has approximately 22,000 employees working in more than 300 operations around the world, serving the world’s best-known brands.

Sonoco is the only Fortune 500 company with global headquarters in South Carolina.

“Rodger Fuller is an authority on all facets of manufacturing, so we’re humbled to have him deliver the keynote address at our conference,” said Jason Thomas, executive editor of SC Biz News, which hosts the annual event. “Expo participants will have a front-row seat to one of the most innovative companies in the world, straight from the insight of an executive based right here in South Carolina.

“It’s the perfect way to cap what will be a great two days of networking and learning.”

Related content: Why South Carolina represents the future of manufacturing

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.

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

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 Muller, 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:

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

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.