Tracking the trends toward industry growth in Georgia, Southwire leaders Kathleen Edge, executive vice president of operations, and Brent Rogers, vice president of distribution and transportation, shared their expertise with more than 700 manufacturing leaders and supporters at the 2018 Georgia Manufacturing Summit.
Georgia Manufacturing Alliance (GMA) hosted the fourth annual event at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 10. Founded in 2008, GMA seeks to support Georgia’s manufacturing community. Since its inception, the membership-based industry support organization has created a community where manufacturers can celebrate successes, share challenges and collaborate on the industry’s future.
The event featured networking opportunities, two keynote speakers and nine educational sessions where panels of industry leaders, including Edge and Rogers, spoke about various topics shaping the industry. Edge shared the story of 12 for Life® among four panelists who gave insight into their successful workforce development programs and the impact they have on bridging the skilled-trade gap.
“You start with one student,” said Edge. “If you focus on making a difference with one student and create sustainable partnerships, you will expand your reach over time. When Southwire started 12 for Life in 2007, we only had 12 students, but we focused on making a difference with each student and creating great relationships with our school systems. Now, we have helped thousands of students go from potentially dropping out to having a vision and dreaming a bigger dream.”
Rogers was one of five panelists to speak about “Trends to Track in the Supply Chain.” He specifically highlighted logistics trends the industry is currently experiencing and gave valuable insight on changes in the transportation markets.
“The impact of rising freight costs and the implementation of the [electronic logging device] ELD created challenges for businesses throughout the industry,” said Rogers. “As a shipper, there are many things you can do to limit the effect on your business. Making sure your executives are involved, building relationships with carriers, leveraging technology, being an attractive shipper – one that is organized and on-time – and aligning your customer and service strategy are just a few.”
Several employees joined Edge and Rogers to represent Southwire during the day where the company was recognized as an Innovator Sponsor. In addition, the organization supported and participated in a booth led by Women in Manufacturing (WiM), a national association dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women who are pursuing or have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry.