2020 Competitiveness Forum & WiM Recognition Luncheon

2020 Virginia Competitiveness Forum
WiM-Virginia Leadership Conference: Day of Empowerment

November 17-18 – Virtual Event

Tuesday, November 17 – Virginia Competitiveness Forum

Join Virginia’s top manufacturing executives, industry leaders and service providers to the manufacturing industry, to learn about best-practices, technologies and solutions that drive Virginia’s manufacturing competitiveness in five major areas: Business Climate, Workforce, Innovation, Infrastructure and Economic Strength.  The program will examine the Commonwealth’s competitiveness standing against other US states and explore how to move Virginia forward.  The VMA will also showcase the annual update to the Virginia Manufacturing Competitiveness Index.



9:05AM-10:00AM: Virginia’s MFG Competitiveness State Ranking – Keynote Speaker
Ted Abernathy, Economic Leadership LLC, will unveil the 2020 Competitiveness Index results and compare Virginia’s results to other southern states.
  • Ted Abernathy will unveil the 2020 VA MFG Competitiveness Index results as well as compare and contrast Virginia to southern and northeastern/Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states. 


10:30AM-11:30AM: Reshoring & Retooling Critical Infrastructure and the US MFG Supply Chain
Bill Donahue, Executive Director, GenEdge; Russ Rogers, President, Blackbriar Regulatory Services; Roger Whyte, President, LiteSheet
  • This session will address the need for domestic PPE and opportunities for reshoring critical infrastructure.  GenEdge and VMA will discuss the new MFG Retooling Program to assist manufacturers. Panelists will also discuss the need for imported PPE product testing and state government procurement reform.  Technologies featured will include Level 1-3 masks and UV-C light sanitation.


12PM-1PM: Digital MFG, Automation, and Cloud Computing for Factories
Magnus Akesson, CIO, GE Gas Power; Michael Putnik, Amazon World Services (AWS) Business Development Lead, Manufacturing
  • This session will focus on a new initiative to make Virginia manufacturers more competitive through democratized, digital manufacturing capabilities that have a positive and measurable impact on quality, first pass yield, product cost, labor efficiency, inventory, and lead time.


1:30PM-2:30PM: Virginia’s Defense Industrial Base
Brad Williams, Executive Director, Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem (MIBE) (RADM-Retired); Ray Montgomery, Director – Strategic Sourcing, Newport News Shipbuilding; Dr. Victor Gray, Executive Director, MSI
  • Virginia has spent the last decade diversifying its economy to avoid the cyclical effects of Federal government dependency.  Still, the defense industrial base continues to buoy the economies of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.  The panel will discuss lessons learned about reforms needed to government contracting, workforce development infrastructure, Industry 4.0 technology, and supply chain development to meet the national security demands over the next decade.  The panel will also discuss new resources available to Tier 2-4 defense suppliers and potential suppliers.


About the Keynote Speaker:

Ted Abernathy , Managing Partner, Economic Leadership LLC

Ted is the Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies. Ted has 35 years of experience in directing economic development and workforce development programs. From 2008-2013, Ted was the Executive Director of the Southern Growth Policies Board, a 42-year old public policy think tank that provided economic development research, strategy and marketing advice, to states and communities across the South. He also served as economic development policy advisor to the Southern Governors Association.


Wednesday, November 18 – WiM-Virginia Leadership Conference: Day of Empowerment

Join the VMA as we focus on the importance that women play in keeping manufacturing competitive in Virginia

This conference will include professional development sessions, roundtable discussions on important topics, and inspiring keynotes.  This year’s featured keynote speaker is Jodi Keller, Executive Vice President, United Scrap Metal.   We will also recognize STEP Ahead and Emerging Leader Award nominees from Virginia.  The STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards recognize women in manufacturing who exemplify leadership within their companies and recognizes the widespread impact women have on shaping the industry, whether they are running the company, designing the next big product or testing innovations that help make Virginia more competitive.


9AM-10AM: What Are You Really Saying? Communicating with Confidence
Presented by: Caryn Durham, Director of Corporate Communications, Kaléo.
  • Effective verbal and non-verbal communication is a key skill in business. Caryn will provide simple communication tools, strategies, and tips for women that are easy to use and produce results. She will discuss the difference in how men and women communicate, ways to help you sound more confident, use body and language to deliver your ideas more effectively, and techniques for communicating in a remote workplace situation.
10:30AM-11:30AM: Explore the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job; Discussion will be based on the book “How Women Rise” by Sally Helgesen & Marshall Goldsmith.
Presented by: Martha Clarke, Fremont Consulting Group, WiM South Carolina Chapter Secretary.
  • Women’s distinctive strengths and behaviors provide them with many advantages. Yet the very habits that help them early in their careers can hold them back as they seek to rise.  Join us for a guided discussion of a ground-breaking new book, written by Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith, which identifies 12 self-defeating behaviors that keep women from realizing their true potential as they seek to move to a higher level.
12:30PM-1:30PM: Recognition and Keynote Speaker
Presented by: Brenda Clarke, ITAC and Jodi Keller, Executive Vice President, United Scrap Metal.
  • Join us to celebrate the women of Virginia who have been nominated for the STEP Ahead and Emerging Leader awards for 2021.  Nominees have demonstrated significant contributions to their company in the areas of Innovation & Leadership, Mentorship and Community Impact by advocating for manufacturing careers and volunteerism.  There will also be a discussion about the WiM Hall of Fame recognition and pending WiM Virginia Chapter Leadership Program.  We will be joined by this year’s Keynote Speaker, Jodi Keller, Executive Vice President, United Scrap Metal, to discuss her journey to a career in manufacturing, the importance of mentorship, and the role we all play in inspiring future women to pursue opportunities in industry.    
2:00-3:00PM: Discussion on Gender Bias and Tools for Overcoming Them
Presented by: Rita Jones, Director, Center for Gender Equity
Moderated by: Courtney Addison, STIHL

About the Keynote Speaker

Jodi Keller, Executive Vice President, United Scrap Metal, Inc.

Jodi Keller is vice president of one of the largest metal recycling firms in the nation, where she has been instrumental in United Scrap Metal’s four-fold growth since joining the company in 2002. She was responsible for a consolidated national recycling program across the printing industry that recaptured more than 25-million pounds per year in lithography plates.  The program is the fastest growing business segment at USM and earned the company Alcoa’s Top 10 Supplier Award for the last five consecutive years.

In her current role at USM, Jodi is opening new markets for the company, building a team in each market and leading new business efforts with major manufacturing and utility businesses.  She has led the company growth from one market to six in the past six years.

Thanks to this year’s sponsors!

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