Movers and Shakers Talk Tech

Movers and Shakers Talk Tech

Conference features keynote speaker Sarah Miller Caldicott, a great-grandniece of Thomas A. Edison.

By Al Parker

Creativity and innovation are on tap at an upcoming gathering of Michigan manufacturers. The conference, organized by the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, will be held Sept. 18 and 19 at the Hagerty Conference Center in Traverse City.

"This energetic conference brings together the movers, shakers and owners of Michigan small- to medium-sized manufacturers from across the state," said Kelly Knapp, administrator for the MMTC. "We'll be discussing critical business issues and emerging trends in an atmosphere designed to build relationships."

One of the common issues raised by some manufacturers is the need for qualified young workers to replace more experienced employees who are nearing retirement. Knapp says this is an important issue that the conference is helping to address.

"Some manufacturers are having difficulty finding skilled labor," said Knapp. "We are inviting 50 students to the conference to show them what manufacturing is all about. We invite them to network and become aware of all the job opportunities that are available to them."

In addition to keynote speaker Sarah Miller Caldicott, a great-grandniece of Thomas A. Edison, presenters at the conference include James Foley, director of the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, who will address international opportunities and Mike Fitzpatrick, president and CEO of Fitzpatrick Manufacturing, who will discuss home grown employee development.

Breakout sessions will be held on topics like leveraging innovation, exporting, family businesses, supply chain management, and aligning and driving leadership development.

Based in Plymouth, Mich., MMTC has been assisting Michigan's small- and medium-sized businesses since 1991. It operates five regional offices across the state in Plymouth, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Marquette and at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.

Registration is still open for the conference. To learn more, visit or call (888) 414-6682.