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Keynote Conversation with MMA President Chuck Hadden

This article appeared in the August 2019 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Q: The MFG Excellence Awards are back for a third year on 11/7/19. The first two events were sold out and well received, with the inaugural receiving the top award for events from the Michigan Society of Association Executives. Why do you think the Awards have resonated so well?

Hadden:Manufacturers do so much for Michigan’s local communities and most of it the general public never hears about. The MFG Excellence Awards allows manufacturers to share their stories and recognize the hard work of their people and of their peers. Manufacturers work to create great products while people drive by without knowing the amazing stuff happening inside these buildings. Not enough organizations recognize that. The MFG Excellence Awards is our annual effort for helping manufacturers step away from the shop floor and into the spotlight.

Q: Nominations are open until August 23. Do you have suggestions for first-time nominators?

Hadden:There are plenty of things I think new nominators, and returning ones, can do to receive recognition on Awards Night. First, don’t wait until the last minute. We’ve streamlined the nomination process to make it easier than ever, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put in the time to make your nomination(s) shine. Second, fresh eyes are best so find ways to let your nominations get reviewed by multiple eyes — and step away for a day or two, you may find things worth changing or adding.

Third, include letters of recommendation, news items or other resources where possible. Talk with colleagues, customers, your state senator or representative or members of your local chambers. Finally, consider self-nomination. Nobody can tell your story like you can. If your leaders are shy about taking credit, remind them that even individual success is a product of the whole team’s hard work.

Q: The 2019 Awards feature a great deal of history plus new awards like the MFG Woman of the Year. What led to this new award?

Hadden:Women are an integral part of manufacturing. The fact that they make up half the population but not even a third of the industry’s workforce should be proof we are not doing enough to make manufacturing a realistic career option for women.

A young girl can be interested in robotics or engineering or metalwork, but for that interest to remain a part of her, she needs to see it as a possibility. Having a role model can help. Having someone she can point to and say “I want to be like her” can be the difference between a childhood dream and a career reality.

The MFG Woman of the Year Award helps us to both recognize female manufacturers for their achievements today and to provide young women with real role models doing amazing things.

Q: The “Coolest Thing Made in Michigan” Award, debuted last year, was presented to Stormy Kromer during a live reveal at the 2018 Awards. The entry process is a little different for this category; what can you tell us about recognizing Michigan’s coolest products?

Hadden:This was one of my favorite awards from last year. The reaction from the Stormy Kromer team was so great. And this isn’t recognition from MMA or just other manufacturers, the Coolest Thing award is decided by votes from the general public.

Nominations are simple. You snap a photo, write a couple sentences on why it’s cool and share it with the hashtag #coolestmimfg. There are two rounds of voting and it’s all done on MLive. But remember, social media requires action so get your team voting and sharing when voting opens.

This article appeared in the August 2019 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

Q: The MFG Excellence Awards are back for a third year on 11/7/19. The first two events were sold out and well received, with the inaugural receiving the top award for events from the Michigan Society of Association Executives. Why do you think the Awards have resonated so well?

Hadden:Manufacturers do so much for Michigan’s local communities and most of it the general public never hears about. The MFG Excellence Awards allows manufacturers to share their stories and recognize the hard work of their people and of their peers. Manufacturers work to create great products while people drive by without knowing the amazing stuff happening inside these buildings. Not enough organizations recognize that. The MFG Excellence Awards is our annual effort for helping manufacturers step away from the shop floor and into the spotlight.

Q: Nominations are open until August 23. Do you have suggestions for first-time nominators?

Hadden:There are plenty of things I think new nominators, and returning ones, can do to receive recognition on Awards Night. First, don’t wait until the last minute. We’ve streamlined the nomination process to make it easier than ever, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to put in the time to make your nomination(s) shine. Second, fresh eyes are best so find ways to let your nominations get reviewed by multiple eyes — and step away for a day or two, you may find things worth changing or adding.

Third, include letters of recommendation, news items or other resources where possible. Talk with colleagues, customers, your state senator or representative or members of your local chambers. Finally, consider self-nomination. Nobody can tell your story like you can. If your leaders are shy about taking credit, remind them that even individual success is a product of the whole team’s hard work.

Q: The 2019 Awards feature a great deal of history plus new awards like the MFG Woman of the Year. What led to this new award?

Hadden:Women are an integral part of manufacturing. The fact that they make up half the population but not even a third of the industry’s workforce should be proof we are not doing enough to make manufacturing a realistic career option for women.

A young girl can be interested in robotics or engineering or metalwork, but for that interest to remain a part of her, she needs to see it as a possibility. Having a role model can help. Having someone she can point to and say “I want to be like her” can be the difference between a childhood dream and a career reality.

The MFG Woman of the Year Award helps us to both recognize female manufacturers for their achievements today and to provide young women with real role models doing amazing things.

Q: The “Coolest Thing Made in Michigan” Award, debuted last year, was presented to Stormy Kromer during a live reveal at the 2018 Awards. The entry process is a little different for this category; what can you tell us about recognizing Michigan’s coolest products?

Hadden:This was one of my favorite awards from last year. The reaction from the Stormy Kromer team was so great. And this isn’t recognition from MMA or just other manufacturers, the Coolest Thing award is decided by votes from the general public.

Nominations are simple. You snap a photo, write a couple sentences on why it’s cool and share it with the hashtag #coolestmimfg. There are two rounds of voting and it’s all done on MLive. But remember, social media requires action so get your team voting and sharing when voting opens.

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