You’ll be holding the Strategic Resources Network event in June. Could you give us a little background?
That’s right – June 9-11 at the Hyatt House Charleston in South Carolina. The SRN was launched in 2006 as a means of supporting the next generation of leaders in the gear manufacturing industry. Providing that type of assistance is incredibly important right now when you consider all the new concepts being introduced like additive manufacturing and electric drive technologies, and it just keeps coming at us faster and faster, so we thought it was time to take a look under the hood. And then when you consider the added strain of the recession and the pandemic, that’s a lot of weight to carry, so we’re taking proactive steps to provide our members with the information they need. Again, we’re targeting the future leaders of our industry who are, say, 15-20 years into their careers, giving them an opportunity to meet and form relationships with others who are at their same level of advancement. This could lead to lifelong friendships that are invaluable in so many ways.
What has the reaction from attendees been?
The evaluations have been outstanding, telling us we’re bringing together the right people discussing the right topics. One way to view it is as cost-effective informal training; sort or a mini-MBA where those who attend can network with experts representing a variety of fields all in one place. And it builds such a great sense of camaraderie, both in terms of the energy these younger members bring to the AGMA, but the excitement to feel in knowing the gear industry has got their back. The SRN inspires a real sense of development, and drives home the point that the association is here standing side-by-side with its members throughout their careers, no matter the economic or business challenges.
Does the SRN represent a cautious return to face-to-face networking events?
After careful consideration, including the growing availability of COVID vaccines, the AGMA board decided it was time to start working our way back to where we need to be. We are human systems, and we need each other, so we decided to approach this event cautiously, optimistically, and safely. We are working with various federal and state health departments, universities, and even hotels to learn everything we can about working our way back to conducting business in a way that’s more normal than what we’ve experienced over the past year. Despite all the hardship, what are your thoughts on how we’ve weathered this storm as a country and an industry? Have we learned any important lessons? I am so proud of how we’ve come together as a country, just our ability to pivot from normalcy to radical change. It’s been truly inspirational, and I commend all these leaders – especially in the manufacturing industry – on their optimism and sheer determination to survive.