WMEP: More than 160 Wisconsin firms to attend May 17 Manufacturing Matters! Conference in Milwaukee

Contact: Linda Abbott

Phone: 608-826-6215; email: [email protected]

MADISON, Wis. – Executives from more than 160 manufacturing firms across the state will attend Wisconsin’s Manufacturing Matters! Conference on Tuesday, May 17, at the Midwest Airlines Center in Milwaukee.

More than 550 participants – the highest attendance ever – have registered for the annual conference that focuses on competitive strategies to revitalize and transform Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector.

Wisconsin Department of Commerce Secretary Mary P. Burke will deliver opening remarks at 8:30 a.m.

Burke is a former executive with Trek Bicycle Corp.

Keynote speaker Robert Tucker, expert and author of “Driving Growth Through Innovation” will discuss ways Wisconsin manufacturers can infuse innovation throughout their companies to build growth, profits and competitive advantage. Tucker will address the conference at 9 a.m.

Gus Whalen, CEO of the Georgia-based Warren Featherbone Company and Chairman, Alexis PlaySafe, Inc. will tell the story of the evolution of his company, which has been active in manufacturing for more than 100 years. Whalen, a strong advocate for U.S. manufacturing and past chairman of the American Apparel Manufacturers Association, will address the conference at 1:45 p.m.

More than 30 breakout sessions are offered on a range of topics including lean manufacturing, managing innovation, strategic business planning and global intranet strategies. John Brandt, CEO of the Manufacturing Performance Institute, will present the first-ever study comparing American manufacturers to their Chinese counterparts during a session at 3:15 p.m.

For more information, visit or call 1-877-800-2114. Cost is $299 for manufacturers and $449 for others.

Manufacturing Matters!, the only conference devoted exclusively to improving the competitiveness of Wisconsin’s small and mid-size manufacturers, is organized annually by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP).

Conference sponsors include: Ariens; CNH Global N.V.; Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Inc.; Deere & Co.; Kohler Co.; Oshkosh Truck Corp.; Trane; C&H Distributors; Clifton Gunderson, LLP; Wisconsin Technical College System and Wisconsin Manufacturer’s & Commerce.

WMEP provides technical expertise and business assistance to help small and mid-size manufacturers implement advanced manufacturing technologies and business practices. WMEP is a leader in lean manufacturing, strategic innovation and supplier development. For more information on WMEP, call 1-877-856-8588 or visit