The American Mold Builders Association's 2018 conference will feature workforce development and direct networking.
AMBA members also will learn who is 2018 Mold Builder of the Year and Tooling Trailblazer of the Year, at an awards banquet.
The conference comes to Grand Rapids, Mich., Feb. 14-16.
“We have put together more face-to-face interaction at this conference than ever,” said Kym Conis, managing director of the Indianapolis-based AMBA.
Networking sessions include peer-to-peer exchanges with focused sessions covering operations, owners/presidents/CEOs, sales and marketing and human resources. Quick-fire sessions rapidly present ideas in short presentations similar to Ted Talk events.
The conference also will have “game changer” breakout sessions, with industry executives and experts.
Attracting the next generation of mold makers will get plenty of attention in Grand Rapids. The Trailblazer award recognizes an AMBA member company that is doing “out of the box” work on outreach and education, Conis said. And both the Mold Builder and the Year and Trailblazer winners traditionally donate their $5,000 award — sponsored by Progressive Components — back to the industry for educational outreach.
Conis said association leaders will announce the second-year recipients of the American Mold Manufacturing Advancement Fund. Companies can apply for grants for work in training, advocacy or research and development. AMBA started the grant program last year, and handed out $90,000 worth of grants to 12 companies.
Conis said local toolmaking workforce development is a key focus of the grant funds. “To try and do it on the national level, it doesn't have as much impact,” she said.
At the conference, a panel of officials from four grant-winning companies will address “Best Practices in Closing the Skills Gap.”
AMBA conference speakers will include keynoter David Horsager speaking on how leaders drive results through trust; tooling authority Laurie Harbour; Michael Benson, a managing director of Stout Risius Ross LLC; mountain climber and cancer survivor Alan Hobson; and NFL quarterback and broadcaster Joe Theismann.
AMBA Director Troy Nix will wrap up the event by outlining feedback from attendees and talk about what's next for the trade association.
For information see http://www.amba.org/events-calendar/2018-02-14/AMBA-Annual-Conference.