MFG Operations Conference 2023

The annual MFG Operations Conference provided actionable solutions to operational challenges for Michigan manufacturers. This powerfully packed event offered proven strategies, tools and best practices in the areas of talent recruitment, employee retention and engagement, leadership, technology developments and human resources.

The 2023 MFG Operations Conference featured two keynotes, nine breakouts and a full day of networking.

Past Conference Highlights

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MFG Operations Conference 2022
MFG Operations Conference 2022
MFG Operations Conference 2022
MFG Operations Conference 2022
MFG Operations Conference 2022
MFG Operations Conference 2022

Program Lineup

The 2023 MFG Operations Conference featured two keynote presentations and nine breakout sessions on IT, workforce, finance and more.


8:30 a.m.


John J. Walsh • MMA

Morning Keynote

8:50 a.m.

  Morning Keynote
Rick Synder • SensCy


10:05 a.m.


Networking Break

Breakout Session #1

10:05 a.m.


Organizational Wellbeing Evolution
Kathleen Schulz • Gallagher


A Recipe for Success: Maintain Margins and Keep Supply Chain Challenges in Check
Tom Shemanski • Rehmann


Finally...An i4.0 Path Forward for Small to Mid-sized Manufacturers
Thomas Jurasek & Andrew Gissal • Bearex


11:05 a.m.


Networking Break

Breakout Session #2

11:20 a.m.


How to Win the War for Talent
Jason Piasecki • Revel


Employee Engagement in Uncertain Times
Mike Dergis • Sigred Solutions


Retention Bootcamp: 12 Things to Consider for Employee Retention
Nathan Leaman • Frontline Training Solutions, an Express Employment Professionals Company


12:20 p.m.


Networking Lunch

Breakout Session #3

1:45 p.m.


Fundamental Changes for an i4.0 World
Tom Kelly • Automation Alley


How to Win the Manufacturing Talent Game
Bryan Powrozek • Clayton & McKervey


On the Frontline: Walking a High Wire
Shawn O’Farrell • DISHER


2:45 p.m.


Networking Break

Closing Keynote

3:00 p.m.


People 4.0
Anthony Trecapelli • Gemini Group Inc.


4:00 p.m.


Networking Reception


Rick SnyderRick Snyder, CEO of SensCy and Former Governor of the State of Michigan, will discuss how RPA (Relentless Positive Action) in your life will help you and others—especially during challenging times. The world has certainly seen its share of challenges in recent years. From the pandemic to a shift to remote work world, increasing cracks and breakdowns in supply chains, growing divisiveness and a lack of civility, increasing cyber threats and not knowing how AI is going to change our lives, plus other new risks and threats, Rick will discuss how RPA is a win-win in challenging times.

Thomas Jurasek and Andrew GissalFinally...An i4.0 Path Forward for Small to Mid-sized Manufacturers

When small to mid-sized manufacturers hear industry 4.0 for IIOT, data analytics and machine connectivity — the immediate hesitation is on the cost, manpower and the outsourcing of large amounts of resources to create a new path forward following the i4.0 potential. Bearex’s Thomas Jurasek & Andrew Gissal will share their insight on how to solve the gaps and inefficiencies often encountered when considering or implementing new technologies in this space. Their expertise has developed through extensive time on the shop floor and review of tried-and-true solutions available to industry professionals.

Kathleen SchulzOrganizational Wellbeing Evolution

As the nature of work changes, new and evolving issues are impacting the well-being of organizations across the state. Overall employee engagement is at an all-time low. Factors that play a critical role such as stress, burnout, trust, employee wellbeing and leadership competency will be evaluated and discussed to assist in the optimization of communication, building trust, and enriching the employee experience. Kathleen Schulz of Gallagher will lead the discussion on best practices to avoid burnout and foster employee wellbeing.

Tom ShemanskiA Recipe for Success: Maintain Margins and Keep Supply Chain Challenges in Check

Eroding margins and supply chain challenges are having significant impacts on the manufacturing industry — from mounting pricing pressure and operation shutdowns, to supply gaps and operational risks. Margins are seeing pressure from inflation, labor shortages and supply chain interruptions. The key to ebbing potential supply chain threats, if not avoiding them altogether, is to consider supply chain management as a part of your business’s entire risk management plan. Whether your business is in the throes of a messy manufacturing and supply chain ordeal or worried about a future debacle, Rehmann’s Tom Shemanski will provide the ingredients to build out a strong plan that helps fight against supply chain shortages and de-escalate their effects.

Nathan LeamanRetention Bootcamp: 12 Things to Consider for Employee Retention

How can manufacturing professionals pivot from constantly reacting to the vanishing workforce? By understanding the why — Why employees are leaving. Why employees are choosing to stay. Once the why is understood, there is an increase in your chances of higher employee retention.  Nathan Leaman of Frontline Training Solutions, an Express Employment Professionals Company, will offer tools to stop the constant reactionary cycle and detail 12 proven methods of successful employee retention and growth.

Jason PiaseckiHow to Win the War for Talent

Competition for qualified employees is fiercer than ever. HR departments are overwhelmed and business leaders are frustrated they can’t find enough workers to get orders out the door. Companies need creativity and flexibility to attract the right type of employees. Join Revel’s Jason Piasecki to learn the secrets manufacturers are using to strengthen their brand to compete for talent and win in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

Mike DergisEmployee Engagement in Uncertain Times

Get insights into the minds of today’s workforce by taking a deep dive into data sourced directly from Michigan manufacturing employees. Sigred Solutions’ Mike Dergis reveals key findings and uncovers what drives today’s post-pandemic workers. Employers will get a clearer understanding of what matters to their workforce and insightful tips for limiting the impact of “Quiet Quitting”, evasive employee engagement and retaining talent.

Tom KellyFundamental Changes for an i4.0 World

The key to your organization’s success is the willingness to change as processes and time dictate. In Michigan, industry leaders are aware that i4.0 is beneficial to the ongoing digital transformation taking place industrywide.  Understanding these emerging manufacturing trends and the available technologies will create a competitive advantage for companies that have been open to the shift needed to unlock these new values. Automation Alley’s Tom Kelly will showcase the benefits and needed organizational culture shifts required for future competitiveness and an organization positioned for success.

Bryan PowrozekHow to Win the Manufacturing Talent Game

Businesses are finding themselves at a crossroads where a re-evaluation is needed for recruiting, retaining and engaging a dedicated workforce. The lingering effects of the pandemic and the increasingly competitive labor market have baffled businesses as to what is working market-wide and what needs to change. Join this manufacturing panel lead by Clayton & McKervey’s Bryan Powrozek to gain insight into how business must adapt to a shifting job market and what tools are needed to address recruiting, retaining and engaging talent.


  • ADVISA’ Stephanie Murphy
  • Diag Partners’ Mike Roemensky
  • Applied Manufacturing Technologies’ Craig Salvalaggio
Shawn O'FarrellOn the Frontline: Walking a High Wire

Want to build a culture of excellence? It starts with the hardest role in manufacturing. Don’t miss this engaging session with DISHER’s Shawn O’Farrell as he shares why it is pivotal to provide your frontline leaders with the tools they need to succeed. Participants will learn key principles on how to enable their frontline leaders to improve through training, personal responsibility and a culture of continuous feedback.

Anthony TrecapelliPeople 4.0

The rapid growth of technology available to manufacturers today indicates a decisive need for change in the way professionals consume and react to that technology. Organizations that embrace the concept that this technological rise is driving behaviors will be better equipped to handle efficiency concerns industry wide. Anthony Trecapelli with the Gemini Group Inc. will demonstrate the value of understanding the people behind the processes to achieve results faster and drive lasting change.

2023 Sponsors

2023 Event Sponsors

ASK, a Convergence Network CompanyRehmann Blue Cross Blue Shield MetLife NovaStar Wolutions
Sponsorship Opportunities

Support manufacturing growth and innovation with sponsorship and engagement opportunities available throughout the year. Develop a comprehensive plan to build your brand, solidify your image and increase your engagement with Michigan manufacturers. Work with MMA’s team to build a package with multiple event sponsorship, thought leadership and advertising opportunities available. Contact MMA’s Ashley Wakefield to build your 2023 strategy.

Contact for Sponsorship

Ashley Wakefield

Ashley Wakefield
Director of Membership, Marketing & Events
Call 517-487-8523

Contact for Event Registration

Elizabeth Maciejewski

Elizabeth Maciejewski
Membership Specialist
Call 517-487-8542