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Fourth Annual Manufacturing First Expo Conference To Shine Spotlight On Northeast Wisconsin’s Leading Industry Oct. 22 In Green Bay

APPLETON, WI, – Oct. 17, 2014 – If you said manufacturing comes first in Northeast Wisconsin, you would be on the mark. It’s no stretch to say the region is an epicenter for manufacturing in the United States: Northeast Wisconsin employs 23 percent of its workforce in non-agricultural manufacturing. That’s higher than the state average of 16.3 percent – which is neck-and-neck for the top spot with Indiana, at 16.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (The national average is 9 percent).

The high profile of manufacturing in Northeast Wisconsin makes it a natural place to host a major conference for those in the industry, and what better time than in October, Manufacturing Month?

The fourth annual Manufacturing First Expo & Conference will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 22 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay. Coordinated by First Business in partnership with the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance and Insight Publications, Manufacturing First is expected to again draw some 800 attendees.

“Manufacturing is an important component of Wisconsin’s economy, particularly in Northeast Wisconsin, where 23% of all of the jobs are in manufacturing,” says Mickey Noone, President – Northeast Region of First Business Bank. “The goal of this event is to connect manufacturers to share knowledge, experiences and issues that impact their businesses.”

“What sets Manufacturing First apart from other conferences is that more than 60 percent of its 160 exhibitors are manufacturers,” says Ann Franz, executive director of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. “That’s one-stop shopping” for manufacturers seeking to meet their peers. “We also have international speakers.”

Four featured speakers will present a wide variety of topics:

  • Seth Mattison, founder and CEO of Futuresight Labs and strategic partner at BridgeWorks, LLC will present, “Engineering Next Generation Talent.”
  • Diego Tamburini, manufacturing industry strategist with Autodesk (parent company of AutoCad), will talk about “The Future Factory.”
  • Greg Morris, additive technologies leader of GE Aviation, will present “3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing, Present & Future.”
  • Steve Sakai, president of CMD Corporation, will discuss, “How to Develop an Innovative Culture.”

Breakout sessions will explore topics such as how to prepare for a retiring workforce and the advantages of deploying quick response manufacturing. Booth talks, held within the expo hall, will offer information on exporting opportunities, risk management, succession planning and disaster preparedness. Food for thought on optimizing energy management programs will be the topic during the noon “lunch and learn” session.

“The event features technical expertise but we also have a strong emphasis on human capital,” Franz says. “We can’t be short-sighted that baby boomers are retiring in large numbers and that talent is leaving our workforce. How do we capture that knowledge before they leave? In 2020, 36 percent of the population will be over age 65, so this is a critical issue for industry.”

“A strength in Wisconsin manufacturing is the diversity of industries,” Franz adds. “We’re not just about auto, plastics or paper – which some people think – but we have a diversification of industry sectors.”

Also unique to Manufacturing First is that many high-level executives attend. “We’ll have people from all levels of their organizations, from CEOs and executives to plan managers, IT specialist, marketing and human resources leaders.” Among the 800-some attendees expected will be about 120 high school students, considered a key demographic as manufacturers look to introduce the jobs they need to fill with the next generation. Admission is $95 for the all-day event. Those who register will receive a roster of all attendees so they can plan to make the most of the networking part of the day.

The event is presented by First Business, in partnership with the NEW Manufacturing Alliance and Insight Publications.

Top level sponsors include:

  • Baker Tilly
  • M3 Insurance
  • WMEP
  • Schneider Electric and Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP.

Members of the media are invited to attend Manufacturing First at no cost. Request a free ticket in advance by calling Jodie Johnson of First Business at
TO REGISTER: Go to www.manufacturingfirst.com

About First Business
First Business Financial Services is a Wisconsin-based bank holding company, focused on the unique needs of businesses, business executives and high net worth individuals. First Business offers commercial banking, specialty finance and private wealth management solutions, and because of its niche focus, is able to provide its clients with unmatched expertise, accessibility and responsiveness. For additional information, visit www.firstbusiness.com.


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