2019 Competitiveness Forum & VMA STEP Ahead Recognition Luncheon

Virginia Competitiveness Forum
VMA STEP Ahead Recognition Luncheon

Tuesday, November 19
Williamsburg Lodge Conference Center
310 S England St.
Williamsburg, VA

8:30AM – 12PM: Virginia Competitiveness Forum
12PM – 1:30PM: STEP Ahead & Emerging Leader Recognition Luncheon

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.


Program Highlights:

8AM-8:30AMVMA Annual Business Meeting (Members Only)
The VMA Annual Business Meeting is for members only.  We will discuss the VMA 2020 Competitiveness Plan, 2020 Legislative Agenda and VMA board elections.

8:30AM -9:30AM – Are We Really #1 For Business
Ted Abernathy, Economic Leadership LLC, will unveil the 2019 Competitiveness Index results, compare Virginia’s results to other southern states as well as compare and contrast the updated Index to the new CNBC state rankings.

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.


9:30AM – 10:30AM – Cyber Critical Infrastructure: Foreign Powers & U.S. Industry Risk
Dr. Allen Harper, Center for Cyber Excellence, Liberty University, will explore the evolving cyber security threat landscape, risk specific to manufacturing, common attach scenarios, and the importance of ethical hacking and offensive security.

Dr. Allen Harper , Center for Cyber Excellence, Liberty University

Dr. Allen Harper served in the IT and cyber security industry for more than 30 years. He is a retired Marine Officer and his last tour was in Western Iraq, where he was the IT/Security Officer in 2007. He is a published author of 5 best-selling security books. Most notably, he is the Lead author of the Gray Hat Hacking series of books, which is heading into 5th edition. He has been featured in prominent magazines as well as spoken and taught both nationally and internationally at security conferences.


10:30AM – 11:10AM – The Power of Digital Manufacturing and the Future of Shipbuilding
Julia Jones, Director, Operations Integration, Newport News Shipbuilding, will discuss how digital manufacturing is transforming the manufacturing value chain, unlocking new sources of revenue by improving operational effectiveness, fast-tracking product innovation, and changing the manufacturing landscape forever. Ms. Jones will also give an overview of the Maritime Industrial Base Ecosystem (MIBE) which is an initiative designed to improve shipbuilding in Southeast Virginia and improve the workforce and maritime training pipelines.

Julia Jones, Director, Operations Integration, Newport News Shipbuilding

Julia Jones is Director of Operations Integration at Newport News Shipbuilding.  Jones spent nine years at the Huntington Ingalls Industries Corporate office as the director of strategy & development, responsible for supporting corporate strategic planning and development, non-shipbuilding market growth, and mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures. Jones initially returned to Newport News Shipbuilding in 2017 as the surface prep & coating trade director responsible for 1,300 craftsmen performing blasting, coating and insulating work on Navy ships. After one year, she transitioned into her current position responsible for digital transformation readiness of the operations division into digital shipbuilding, strategic enterprise transformation projects and division operational rhythm.


12PM – 1:40PM – 2nd Annual VMA STEP Ahead Recognition Luncheon
The VMA will recognize all women from Virginia who are nominated for the 2019 National STEP Ahead and Emerging Leader Awards.  This year’s Keynote Speaker is Kristin Cavallo, CEO, The Martin Agency.  Help us celebrate women in manufacturing and support our goal of building the next generation of leaders that will assure the competitiveness of Virginia’s 6,000 manufacturers.

Kristen Cavallo , CEO, The Martin Agency

Kristen is a national know speaker. She brought over 25 years’ experience hacking growth for high-octane brands, and in her first year at The Martin Agency eradicated the gender wage gap; tackled invisibility by making diversity a priority; and pulled culture-quaking ideas right out of the shadows for clients like GEICO, UPS and Buffalo Wild Wings.




Room Block Information:
A block of rooms have been secured at the Williamsburg Lodge for a rate of $169 per night.  Guests can contact the reservation line at 1-800-261-9530 to make reservations by phone or online at https://book.passkey.com/go/1810952.   Please mention that you are with the Competitiveness Forum and Women in MFG when making your reservation to receive the discounted rate. The conference reservations office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:00. The cut-off date for room reservations is October 18.


Thanks to this year’s sponsors!

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors





Break Sponsors