AMBayArea Summit 2018 Recap: Manufacturers Connect With Industry Experts Over Workforce, Supply Chain, Industry 4.0 and More


More than 230 Bay Area manufacturers and community partners gathered for the AMBayArea Summit 2018 hosted by the Association of Manufacturers Bay Area (AMBayArea) at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center on Thursday, May 24.

The event began at 11 a.m. with networking and exhibits, followed by lunch and a keynote address by Carolyn Lee, Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute in Washington D.C. Lee presented programs, including Heroes MAKE America and Dream It. Do it., which are helping to increase the talent pipeline across the country and in the Bay Area.

“Manufacturing has a bright future ahead of it, but a growing sector means more open jobs that need to be filled by people with the right skills,” stated Lee. “We must continue to work to attract, train and retain the future of manufacturing,” said Lee.

Heroes MAKE America is a full-time, 10-week career skills program created by The Manufacturing Institute to build a pipeline from military to manufacturing careers for transitioning service members. Dream It. Do It. promotes manufacturing to three distinct target markets: students, parents and educators. The Bay Area Dream It. Do It. chapter is coordinated by AMBayArea in partnership with community and national partners.

“Great day spent meeting manufacturing experts & making important industry connections. Thanks for a great conference. I’m looking forward to the next one!” — Kristina Buck, COO of Zumo

After the keynote address and lunch, industry experts led four engaging breakout sessions. Collaborative Robots: Implementing New Technology was presented by Raminder Sandhu, Advanced Robotics & Automation Practice Lead at CMTC; Supply Chain: What is Your Weakest Link? was presented by Hannah Kain, ALOM CEO & 2018 Supply Chain Pro to Know; Tax Cuts & Jobs Act: Take Advantage Now was presented by Jarrett Warner, CPA and Senior Tax Manager at Sensiba San Filippo LLP; and The Lean Revolution: Maximize Your Results was presented by Bill Browne, Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt and Lean Consultant for The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence (Manex).

Following the breakout sessions, a Workforce Development Panel Discussion featured leaders spanning the talent pipeline including Eduardo Nava, Manufacturing Technology Teacher at San Leandro High School; Louis Quindlen, Department Chair of Machine Technology of Laney Community College; Jon Fowkes, Co-Founder and Apprenticeship Development Lead, AMTAC, Inc.; Mackenzie O’Brien, EBMUD Plant Maintenance Mechanic; Stephen Baiter, Executive Director for Oakland Workforce Development Board; and Zeydi Gutierrez, Director of Operations for AB&I Foundry.

I was impressed by the thoughtful discussion that happened throughout the AMBayArea Summit 2018. It is clear that we have a community of innovators and makers in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area that are committed to ensuring that manufacturing thrives over the long-term.” — Jose Corona, Director of Equity & Strategic Partnerships for the Office of Mayor Libby Schaaf

The panel discussed current workforce development challenges, as well as solutions. The overwhelming theme of the discussion was the importance of exposing young children, teens and young adults to modern manufacturing careers.

“Exposure, exposure, exposure,” said Nava. “Very few people talk about the courageous, great jobs you can have in manufacturing allowing you to support your family. It is so important for our community to value making and manufacturing. We need to get young people in to the manufacturing environment. While there are rules about letting them on the shop floor, there are other positions we can place them in to get exposed to this career path at an early age.”

The panel also discussed how to reach non-traditional employees. Veteran manufacturer Gutierrez provided specific advice to fellow manufacturers looking to increase and maintain their workforce.

“You need to think outside the box. You can’t just post a job anymore. You need to make new connections. For example, The Alameda County Food Bank sees a lot of people that are looking for work and could be your next employees. Plus, look into hiring veterans and people with disabilities. Keep making new connections.”

The event concluded with a hosted happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. featuring locally-made beer and wine. Throughout the day, attendees had the opportunity to visit exhibitor booths hosted by local manufacturers and service providers.

More than 50 manufacturing companies were represented at the event, from global businesses including Varian Medical Systems, Dow and C&H Sugar to locally-owned companies Bishop-Wisecarver, Casa Sanchez Foods and G.M. Associates, Inc.

“As for the summit – we are IN (to sponsor again) next year. Quite possibly the best summit I have been to and the entire event was out of this world.” — Duncan Sennott, Wells Fargo Bank Senior Vice President

“The AMBayArea Board of Directors and staff are very pleased with the great showing of Bay Area manufacturers at our inaugural Summit. We had executives representing a variety of local manufacturers, from Varian and Dow to Jelly Belly and Impossible Foods. We are looking forward to making the AMBayArea Summit 2019 even bigger and better.”

The AMBayArea Summit 2018 was supported by generous sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor Manex; Happy Hour Sponsor Opus Bank;  Gold Sponsors AB&I Foundry, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo and East Bay Works; and Silver Sponsors ALOM, Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC), California Bank of Commerce, Pinnacle Brokers Insurance Solutions LLC, Spicely Organics, Sensiba San Filippo LLP, Union Bank, Employment Training Panel (ETP), Contra Costa Economic Partnership (CCEP) and Women’s Enterprise Business Council (WBEC) Pacific.

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